Skico offers glimpse of new terrain |

Skico offers glimpse of new terrain

Allyn Harvey

The latest sign that the Aspen Skiing Co. is serious about opening up new expert terrain at Aspen Highlands has appeared. It has come in the form of … a sign.

Four large signs depicting the new lift and new terrain in the Deep Temerity area of Aspen Highlands were put up around the resort yesterday, and a fifth is expected to appear in the next few days.

The signs are actually large photographs of Highlands’ east side with dotted lines and shaded areas depicting terrain that’s scheduled to open next winter and the Grand Reverse (as opposed to the existing Grand Traverse) and Highland Bowl catwalks that will be cut to take skiers to the new Deep Temerity lift. They provide some of the most vivid detail yet about what will be open once the lift is in place and runs below Highland Bowl, Temerity and Steeplechase are cleared.

Deep Temerity will be a fixed-grip triple chair that will rise 1,700 vertical feet in about 7 minutes, 20 seconds. It will go through Kessler’s Bowl and unload at Loge Peak. At its steepest, the lift cable’s gradient will be climbing at 46 degrees, similar to the steepest section of Lift 1A on Aspen Mountain.

Ron Chauner, Aspen Highlands’ mountain manager, said in its first year the new lift will allow extensions of Highland Bowl, South Castle, Sodbuster and Kessler’s Bowl. The new terrain will add about 1,000 vertical feet to Highland Bowl and 800 feet to the Temerity and Steeplechase areas.

“We’re confident we can get that done because we got a head start last summer designing lower Sodbuster,” Chauner said.

Sodbuster in the Steeplechase area is cut like a classic ski run from the 1970s, with forest walls on either side and a wide swath of terrain between. Lower Sodbuster will be more like the glades and short open fields that typify the Temerity area, Chauner said.

Chauner expects it will take about five years to open all of the terrain below the existing Grand Traverse catwalk, which takes skiers from the extreme areas to mid-mountain.

Logging crews are ready to cut the lift line, pending one final land-use approval. Chauner expects the trees to start coming down before the ski season ends. “When the season ends the logs will be dragged out over the snow, so we don’t damage the soil,” Chauner said.

Construction on the Grand Reverse catwalk is scheduled to start May 15. On June 15, crews from lift maker Poma are scheduled to arrive.

The big trees that need to come down to create a lift line will be felled by a professional logging company. The smaller cuts and trail clearing will be performed by Highlands patrollers and other employees, many of whom have been jonesing to open the lower sections of Steeplechase and Temerity since at least 1976.

“It’s going to be brand new stuff ” brand new lines, brand new terrain, brand new experiences. It’ll be great,” Chauner promised.

The signs can be found at the top of Exhibition and Loge Peak lifts at Highlands, in the Highlands’ ticket office and on top of Aspen Mountain. One more is expected to go up in the coming days.

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