Skiers here and across U.S. await promising season | AspenTimes.com

Skiers here and across U.S. await promising season

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Local ski shop workers are moving equipment around with a greater sense of purpose, there is snow in the forecast, and the lifts at Snowmass are expected to start spinning on Saturday at 9 a.m.

The forecast is calling for a slight chance of snow tonight and a 40 percent chance of precipitation on Friday. Saturday is to be breezy with snow likely, and there is another chance of snow on Sunday.

High temps on Saturday will be in the 30s, so it looks like opening day this year will actually involve winter conditions.

If you just can’t wait to make some turns, you have an increasing array of options.

Loveland and Copper open today, Keystone is set to open on Friday at 8:30 a.m., and the Brighton ski area in Utah will open today with two chairs and $25 lift tickets.

This will be the earliest Brighton has opened since the 1996-97 season.

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Winter in the East?

And Western ski areas aren’t alone in their optimism for this coming season.

Winter seemed to arrive early last week as a storm blanketed central Pennsylvania with up to 3 inches of snow, while northwestern Pennsylvania received from 2 to 4 inches in lake-effect snow over the weekend.

“Mother Nature gave us a good taste of winter last week with natural snow the day before Halloween,” said Dave Kulis, a spokesman for Camelback Resort in the Poconos. “It certainly got us all in the mood.”

Racing toward the season

With the World Cup course on Aspen Mountain already nicely covered with snow, it is not too early to start keeping on eye on ski racing, including the Chevy Truck Super Series, which is the premier domestic alpine race series.

The series starts Nov. 13-17 with the Nature Valley Alpine Cup at Loveland Basin.

The Super Series is one level below the World Cup. Two women’s super G races will be held in Aspen on Dec. 1-2, just after the World Cup races. And the Series will be back in Aspen Feb. 5-11 for two women’s downhills and two women’s super Gs.

The World Cup circuit will be in town with a women’s super G race on Nov. 29 and a women’s slalom on Nov. 30.

Sad news from Europe

Clinton Wilton, a snowboard racer from Australia, was killed in an avalanche in the Austrian Alps on Monday.

Wilton, 20, was a national giant slalom champion. He was training with the French national skiing team in Innsbruck and after training, went out to find some fresh tracks with a group of other snowboarders.

Apparently Wilton triggered a slide and was swept into a crevasse. The other members of the group were caught in the slide but managed to escape.

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is bgs@aspentimes.com]