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The late terrain

Aspen Times StaffAspen, CO Colorado

If you love late-afternoon skiing on Aspen Mountain, then it’s time to rejoice: The Aspen Skiing Co. just gave you a nice little gift.A Skico announcement went out Thursday afternoon that the Bell Mountain chair will stay open until 5 p.m. daily, starting Saturday and lasting through the end of the season.For the stubborn Luddites who simply like the Bell chair because it’s quiet, gray and slow, this is doubly good news. It also gives us an opportunity to note this fun skier fact: The Bell chair takes a minute less than the Silver Queen Gondola but skips all the uninteresting terrain at the top and the bottom, and delivers skiers and riders to one of the best jumping-off points on the mountain. Here’s what the Skico’s Rick Burkley had to say: “As much as I hate to give any credit to the Dogs of Bell, they actually came up with a pretty good idea. This lift accesses the perfect terrain for late in the day, the west side of Bell and the Glades for that coveted afternoon spring skiing.”So thanks to the Dogs and the Skico. We also can thank the deep-thinkers in Washington, D.C., for granting us an early switch to daylight-saving time.Despite the warm temperatures of late, the Skico says there’s still about 6 feet of snow on upper Aspen Mountain. And now we can cut that springtime butter up on Bell for an extra 90 minutes.The chair will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday to Sunday. From Monday to Thursday, the hours will be 3:30-5 p.m.Highlands and Buttermilk both close April 1. Aspen Mountain and Snowmass close April 15.

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