The time has come for Pandora’s |

The time has come for Pandora’s

I’m writing to express my support of Aspen Skiing Co.’s proposal to expand lift-served skiing to the Pandora area near the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain. Here are some reasons why:

It would improve the skier’s experience of Ajax. Opening this area would better balance skier numbers across the mountain. It would reduce pressure on existing lifts. Locals have been using Pandora’s as sidecountry terrain for a long time. Ski patrol coverage there and reduced congestion on other runs would provide better overall skier safety on Ajax.

It would improve Aspen’s competitive position within the ski industry. Many other ski areas have seen expansion and improvements while Aspen Mountain has stayed mostly unchanged. Adding some new runs would freshen visitor perceptions of a hill that hasn’t increased its footprint in nearly 40 years. A lift-served Pandora’s would not be a radical change to the landscape and, even with this addition, Ajax would remain the second smallest of our four ski areas.

It would help adapt Ajax to potential climate change over the next several decades. Pandora’s higher average elevation and northeast-facing slope will tend to hold snow longer.

Proposed tree removals incorporate modern forestry management practices. It’s now recognized that healthy forests require periodic culling of old or diseased trees and tangled understory. Thinning also reduces potential fuel for wildfires.

Partly for these reasons, the U.S. Forest Service has approved the Pandora’s expansion. Pitkin County Planning & Zoning unanimously support it. Now, I hope our county commissioners will join them and allow skiers to safely enjoy this part of Aspen Mountain. It’s the right time and place to take this step forward.

Tom Gorman


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