Paul E. Anna: High Points |

Paul E. Anna: High Points

Paul E. Anna
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Last Saturday, Valentines Day, the Aspen Skiing Co. showed us LOL ” that’s Lots of Love ” by moving the closing times of many of the key lifts at Snowmass and Aspen back a half-hour to 4 p.m.

Today you can ride the Elk Camp Gondola, Village Express and Sheer Bliss lifts at Snowmass and the Silver Queen Gondola and Ajax Express lifts for an extra half-hour. That means if you can catch the final ride up at 3:59, you can extend your ski day from 8:30 to 4:30. That’s a serious eight-hour shift.

I have yet to punch in for a first ride and punch out after closing time this season, but I am making it a personal goal to get in a full day just like that in the upcoming week. Quads ” don’t fail me now.

The extra half-hour may not seem like much on the face of it, but if you consider that 30 minutes a day multiplied by 58 ” the number of days between the Valentines Day and the posted April 12 closing date of Snowmass and Aspen Mountain ” equals 29 more hours, it starts to add up. Using the “serious eight-hour shift” mode, that is three full days plus an extra hour of ski time.

And not only that, beginning on Feb. 29, next Saturday, there will likely be additional extensions of closing times on all four mountains, according to the Skico. More hours of afternoon skiing just for the taking. If you have already bought a pass, this is just bonus time, a little lagniappe (pronounced lan-yapp) as our friends in New Orleans might say. For those unfamiliar with the term Wikipedia defines it as “a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase such as a 13th beignet when buying a dozen.” Maybe the Skico should publicize the extended hours by handing out 13th beignets.

In any event the announcement of extended hours skiing is a perfect harbinger of spring days to come. It is an indication that we are moving toward daylight savings time (this year we set the clocks forward an hour at 2 a.m. on March 8, the second Sunday in March) and that we are on our way out of winter. While that may not seem to be good news for skiers, I’ll bet there are more than a few of you out there who look forward to the late afternoon cruisers on a March day. I know I cherish those sunny skies and soft snow days.

And the best part of all is that the extended hours give us the chance to get out there and start the day just a little later. If we have work to do in the morning we can still get a good afternoon’s worth of turns each day for the rest of the season.

So enjoy the extended hours. They really are even better than a 13th beignet.

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