Aspen Skiing Co. nudges closer to opening all terrain |

Aspen Skiing Co. nudges closer to opening all terrain

Staff report

Aspen Skiing Co. has 99 percent of the terrain open across its four ski areas.

Recent snowstorms have allowed Skico to open 5,506 acres out of the 5,565 acres available across the slopes, according to its Wednesday report on slope conditions.

Skico reported it has all 675 acres open at Aspen Mountain, though that’s somewhat misleading. It doesn’t include Cone 1 and 2, Bingo Glades, Rayburn’s or Traynor Ridge. Those areas are considered “bonus gated terrain,” according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle. The ski patrol opens those double black diamond trails under perfect circumstances.

Aspen Highlands reported all of its 1,053 acres are open.

Snowmass has all but 23 acres open. Wind scour was preventing the opening of East Wall adjacent to the Cirque Headwall. Upper Ladder on skier’s right of the Hanging Valley terrain also remained closed.

Buttermilk reported 434 of 470 acres open. However, the Government, Spruce and Spruce Face trails are closed only because of preparations for the Winter X Games, so the ’Milk essentially has got everything open.

Aspen Highlands reported Wednesday that it had received 40 inches of snow over the past week while Aspen Mountain got hammered with an even 3 feet. Snowmass was right on its heels with 34 inches, while Buttermilk reaped 25 inches over the week. More snow is in the forecast.

The steady snowfall has sent the backcountry snowpack to uncommonly high levels, based on readings from automated stations maintained by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The snowpack at the headwaters of the Roaring Fork River east of Aspen was at 135 percent of median. In the Crystal River Valley, Schofield Pass was at 177 percent of median on Wednesday, while the North Lost Trail site near Marble was at 185 percent. The snowpack at McClure Pass was at 146 percent of median.

Nast Lake in the Fryingpan Valley took top prize in the Roaring Fork River Basin. The snowpack there was at 261 percent of median. At the Kiln site, it was at 162 percent.