Ski season over the hump
Here’s hoping the second half of the ski season matches the first half.
Feb. 5 was “hump day” for the scheduled ski season — 72 days down and 72 days to go, according to Aspen Skiing Co. The season actually will be longer because of an early opening at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass.
Aspen Mountain received 15 feet of snow between Oct. 1 and Feb. 7, with Aspen Highlands and Snowmass right behind, according to Skico spokesman and record tracker Jeff Hanle.
There were eight powder days of 6 inches or more as of 5 a.m. A handful of other days ended up being 6-inch days with snow piling up after 5 a.m., he said.
Recently, 24 inches of snow fell in a 24-hour period, and the three-day storm graced the slopes with nearly 3 feet of snow.
“It’s certainly one of the top five biggest storms ever, if not one of the top three, in the last 50 years,” Hanle said.
There’s no comparison in snowfall between this season and last season. So far this year, 180 inches has fallen. Last year it was only 107 inches over the same period.
However, this year isn’t blowing away winters during this century, contrary to current perceptions. Since 2000, there have been five seasons with as much or more snow as this season at this point in the winter, Skico’s records indicate.
This winter has been unusual because low temperatures maintained abundant early-season snow and few storms have been accompanied by wind, Hanle said. In short, it’s been a dream for powder lovers despite the dry spell for much of January.
Roaring Fork Valley residents have taken advantage of the powder. As of Feb. 5, 498 people had skied or snowboarded 50 days or more, according to Skico.
Season-pass usage overall is up.
“It certainly has taken a leap,” Hanle said. “It’s all snow-driven.”
Skico also has noticed that use of the Mountain Collective Pass in Aspen has increased this season. That pass is good for two days each at Alta and Snowbird in Utah; Jackson Hole in Wyoming; Mammoth, Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley in California; and Whistler-Blackcomb in British Columbia as well as Aspen-Snowmass.
Destination-skier business is also up so far this season compared with last.
“Big snow is good for locals and good for business,” Hanle said.
The early indications are that the second half of the season will remain on a roll.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
For nearly three years, Alberto Figueroa has worked at Viceroy Snowmass, first helping start the Toro Kitchen and Lounge as the executive sous-chef and now as the executive chef. On a recent afternoon, the Snowmass Sun sat down with Figueroa to learn more about his new garden and his goals for the Viceroy restaurant