Twilight skiing at Buttermilk? |

Twilight skiing at Buttermilk?

Lately, there has been serious discussion regarding the state imposed limits on the number of passengers per bus on the RFTA bus system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bulk of the comments have centered on adding more buses and drivers or creating more stand-by bus service. I suggest an additional approach — staggered operating hours for our primary economic winter activity of skiing/snowboarding. I am talking about a major change involving Aspen Skiing Co. operations.

What if the Skico were to adjust the operating hours for Buttermilk from noon to 7 p.m,? How many employees and guests would be removed from bus ridership during peak times, morning and afternoon, by such a change? What would be the benefits to the Skico and the community? What would be the costs?

Health benefits? Staggered hours of operation on Buttermilk alone could significantly reduce bus passenger congestion during peak times. More skiers/snowboarders and employees travelling at off-peak times of the day would reduce ridership congestion during peak times. More space = less interface! Less interface = less spread (COVID)!

Community benefits? Imagine the possibilities both now and beyond COVID — twilight skiing on the face of Buttermilk ; after-school skiing/snowboarding for students; increased daily usage of Buttermilk ; dinner at Bumps; employees commuting at off-peak hours; increased shift options for Skico employees; cost savings at Skico through level-loading of operations and; lastly, a better experience for morning uphillers on Buttermilk .

Costs? The cost of installing and maintaining lights on the face of Buttermilk for twilight skiing/snowboarding.

It’s not as though twilight ski resort operations are a novel idea. Ski resorts around the country have offered similar skiing/snowboarding options for years. Heck, even now, the Skico lights up the front of Buttermilk for the Winter X Games. Why not make the lights a permanent fixture? This is a win-win-win situation — an additional measure is enacted to combat COVID, the Skico gets more activity on an under-utilized ski area and the community gets lets traffic on Highway 82 at peak times. How about it?

Greg Shugars


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