Storm improves access to trails |

Storm improves access to trails

Steve Benson

With the weekend’s new snow settling, more ropes are dropping on Aspen Mountain. Bell Mountain is now offering full access as the ridge, face and shoulder are all open along with Back of Bell 2 and Keith Glenn. Terrain on Gentleman’s Ridge has also expanded, with Glades 1, 2, and 3 all open. Copper Bowl and Copper Connector have also been opened. The mountain has a way to go before it’s fully operational, but in terms of what’s available now, the entire spectrum is covered. As of Wednesday morning, leftover powder, fresh corduroy and forgiving bumps were all for the taking, and the snow was soft and grippy. Midweek crowds are also nonexistent, and the mountain is open top to bottom with Spar Gulch and Little Nell funneling skiers to the base. Seibert’s and Knowlton’s were holding the deepest snow, although it’s chopped up and variable. With the abundance of newly opened, nongroomed terrain, untracked patches of deep snow will be easy to find. But so will rocks. If venturing into these newly opened areas, rock skis will definitely ease your mind and prevent an on-mountain tantrum. Even during midseason, when coverage is good, the Ridge of Bell is a veritable minefield. Furthermore, several slides from the weekend’s storm have left enormous shots of shallow, unpredictable snow on the Ridge of Bell and areas of Gentleman’s Ridge. The Arcticlike temperatures have kept the snow cold, so if you want to glide rather than stick, wax your boards. Snowmass Ski Area is still on schedule to open the Sam’s Knob, High Alpine and Alpine Springs lifts on Saturday. Steve Benson’s e-mail address is