Snowmass opening day brings big smiles, more acres on Thanksgiving day

Ski area begins with 570 acres, 20 trails; far cry from 2017 opening

Opening day at Snowmass Ski Area included the Big Burn area.
David Krause / The Aspen Times

The skies were clear, blue and bright, the snow was solid – sugary and soft at some parts – and the morale was high Thursday morning as Snowmass Ski Area opened for the season.

Snowmass started Thursday with 20 trails across 570 acres of terrain – a dramatic departure from last season, which began with only two runs, Elk Camp Meadows and Fanny Hill, totaling 19 acres.

“Twenty (trails) is way better than two. It’s a fact,” Aspen resident Jaila Jafarabadi said while heading up the hill on opening day.

Snowmass’ new mountain manager Susan Cross, who greeted early skiers in Base Village, quipped that she was in charge of the weather.

Ominous-looking clouds built up as the morning progressed, and forecasters are calling for up to 20 inches or more in the Colorado mountains through Sunday.

“The weather’s great, the skiing’s great, people are happy,” Cross said. “People are happy after the last couple seasons. This is the fun stuff, this is what it’s all about.”

Open terrain at Snowmass to date includes The Big Burn, Max Park, Powerline Glades, Sneaky’s Glades, Lunch line, Upper Scooper and Lower Hals to the bottom of Village Express.

Skico hopes that more snow in the forecast will continue to improve conditions and open more terrain, senior vice president of mountain operations Katie Ertl said.

Elk Camp chair will provide access to Bull Run, Grey Wolf, Sandy Park, Bear Bottom, Gunner’s View and the Elk Camp Meadows Beginner area. Terrain will be accessed by the following chairlifts: Village Express, Sam’s Knob, Big Burn, Elk Camp Gondola, Elk Camp Lift, Meadows Lift, Sky Cab, Meadows Carpet and Treehouse Carpet.

Elk Camp restaurant and Sam’s Smokehouse are open for the season; Up 4 Pizza will open its doors Nov. 22-25 until daily operations begin Dec. 6. Lift tickets are $139 per day for adults and $92 for children, teens and senior through Dec. 14. Partial-day tickets for adults are $93 and $61 for children, teens and seniors. Children six and under ski for free.

A ticket to ski at Snowmass during the preseason last year was $45 for adults and $24 for kids, teenagers and seniors.

The Breathtaker alpine coaster, now in its second winter season, also is up-and-running for riders.

Skiers can pick up their passes at the Snowmass Pavilion, Snowmass Two Creeks and the Snowmass Treehouse ticket offices today.

Snowmass operations will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk are scheduled to open Dec. 8.

Aspen Mountain opened Saturday with 180 acres and added more terrain through the week.