Snowmass opens with 500 acres of terrain |

Snowmass opens with 500 acres of terrain

Staff report

Snowmass Ski Area will open for the season Nov. 27 with more than 500 acres of skiable terrain, Aspen Skiing Co. announced this week.

The Big Burn will open “wall to wall,” Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said. Sam’s Knob and terrain on the upper Campground section of the mountain also will open. The Elk Meadows learning area will be open, but skiers will have to download for a few days after the opening, according to Hanle.

Six chairlifts will be running — the Elk Camp Gondola, the Elk Meadows teaching-area lift, Village Express from the base, Big Burn, Sky Cab on Fanny Hill and Sam’s Knob.

Skiers and snowboarders will be able to go from the top of the Big Burn to the Village Express lift for top-to-bottom skiing on the western side of the ski area, Hanle said. Limited terrain will be open in the middle and lower mountain.

A mini terrain park will be set up in the flat area near the water plant on Fanny Hill, below the bottom terminal of the Coney Glade chairlift.

This will be season number 47 for Snowmass. It will be 137 days long, opening Nov. 27 and closing April 12.

Ullrhof restaurant will open for the season, as will Elk Camp, with the exception of the rotisserie. The Sam’s Knob coffee shop will open for the season. Up for Pizza, at the top of the Big Burn chairlift, will operate Thanksgiving Day through Nov. 30, and then it will be open only on weekends until further in the season.

The snow depth ranged from 18 to 29 inches across the mountain, with snow still falling on Nov. 25. Skico took advantage of ample early snow by rolling and grooming nearly all the Big Burn terrain two weekends before Thanksgiving. The smooth terrain enticed numerous skiers to strap climbing skins onto their skis for trips up Big Burn and High Alpine.

Snowmass stuck to its scheduled opening on Thanksgiving Day, while Aspen Mountain opened five days early because of good snow conditions. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk open Dec. 13. Aspen Mountain opened with 155 acres and top-to-bottom skiing Nov. 22. Additional terrain will open on Aspen Mountain on Thanksgiving Day, Hanle said.