Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Let me make sure I got this straight.
Not only do we still get the closing party on Sunday at Highlands with the shot stations and the pond scum ” I mean the pond skim ” but we also are going to get to ski Highlands for two more weekends? Right up until the end of the end of April?
Sweet. Double sweet.
In an age where good news means that nothing really bad has happened, it is a thrill to hear that the lifts will linger longer into spring. No doubt you were all thinking it as the snow started to pile up in the last few days, but to actually get the good word that the hill will reopen for four extra days in one of the best springs on record was a treat.
Oh, I know there are those of you out there saying, “Hey man, what’s wrong with Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday? Those are ski days too, SkiCo.! How about showing the mid-week skier some love?” Point taken. But in these troubled times it is best to be happy with what we got and get out there and take full advantage of those extra days. You can always climb the hill.
Besides, Skico deserves big time kudos for their efforts this season. They have done a masterful job of taking care of the mountains, especially the groomers, all year long at a time when the economy has tanked. We all see the numbers with revenue down and occupancy down and seat numbers on flights down. When the season opened, things looked pretty bleak for the tourism industry, and since then there has been nothing to improve it.
But if you had a season pass this has been another outstanding season. Beginning with the great early snows that echoed, though didn’t quite surpass, last December and well into January, we had more than our share of epic days. The lull in storms in early and mid-March indicated that we would be bare come April but then, like a lion, the storms charged back in, one after another and another. And it looks like we aren’t done yet.
While Highlands will remain open for the extra days, don’t forget that Buttermilk is due to close for good this Sunday. Most locals could care less but I, for one, will try and get over this week and take a ride up the Tiehack lift. There has been speculation for years that the long slow ride will one day give way to a high-speed version so it is nice each year to get in one for nostalgia’s sake each season.
Last year the Skico opened Aspen Mountain for two weekends in the middle of June and it was a great gesture. This year they opened key lifts on all four mountains for an extra half-hour once the time changed. Now we get the extra weekends at Highlands.
They have done well by us.
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For the past five-plus years I have sat in a big chair in a small office on Hyman Avenue watching life in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley play out in front of me.