Snowmass will open with over 500 acres of terrain | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass will open with over 500 acres of terrain

Staff report

Skiers make their way down Little Nell on Aspen Mountain Tuesday. Additional terrain will open today at the mountaintop. Snowmass Ski Area opens for the season on today.

Snowmass Ski Area will open for the season Thursday with more than 500 acres of skiable terrain, Aspen Skiing Co. announced Tuesday.

Additional terrain also will open on Aspen Mountain on Thursday when the Gent's Ridge chairlift starts spinning, Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said.

At Snowmass, the Big Burn will open "wall-to-wall," Hanle said. Sam's Knob terrain from Banzai Ridge to Wildcat also will open. The Elk Meadows learning area will be open with access back to the Snowmass Village Mall via Adam's Avenue. Six chairlifts will be spinning — the Elk Camp Gondola, the Elk Meadows teaching area lift, Village Express out of the base, Big Burn, Sky Cab on Fanny Hill and Sam's Knob.

Skiers and snowboarders will be able to go from the top of the Big Burn to the Village Express lift for top-to-bottom skiing on the western side of the ski area, Hanle said. Limited terrain will be open in the middle and lower mountain to start the season. The open trails will include Velvet Falls, Hal's Hollow, Scooper, Dawdler and Fanny Hill.

A mini-terrain park will be set up in the flat area near the water plan on Fanny Hill, below the bottom terminal of the Coney Glade chairlift.

This is Snowmass' 47th season. It will be 137 days long, opening Nov. 27 and closing April 12.

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Ullrhof restaurant will open for the season, as will Elk Camp, with the exception of the rotisserie. The Sam's Knob coffee shop will open for the season. Up For Pizza, at the top of the Big Burn chairlift, will operate Thanksgiving Day through Sunday, then it will be open only on weekends until further in the season.

The snow depth ranged from 18 to 29 inches across the mountain with snow still falling Tuesday. Skico took advantage of ample early snow by rolling and grooming nearly all the Big Burn terrain two weekends before Thanksgiving. The smooth terrain enticed numerous skiers to strap climbing skins onto their skis for trips up Big Burn and High Alpine before the official opening.

Snowmass stuck to its scheduled opening of Thanksgiving Day while Aspen Mountain opened five days early because of good snow conditions. Aspen Mountain opened with 155 acres and top-to-bottom skiing Saturday. Skico officials estimated at least 150 to 200 acres of additional terrain will open soon. It's possible that parts of Bell Mountain will open, boosting the total skiable terrain. More details will be released today.

Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk open Dec. 13.