Aspen Mountain also needs snowstorms |

Aspen Mountain also needs snowstorms

Jordan Curet/The Aspen TimesA view from above shows Aspen Mountain, scheduled to open next week on Thanksgiving, doesn't have a lot of snow.

ASPEN, Colorado ” Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like Snowmass’ Fanny Hill.

The ski area’s bunny slope might be the only place where local ski junkies can get a fix on Thanksgiving Day, but, hey, it’s something.

Before cold temperatures settled into the valley on Wednesday night, the Aspen area resorts were uncertain if any terrain would open. Thursday, they were relieved to reveal that Fanny Hill ” at the least ” will likely be ready for the start of the season.

“We made more snow [Wednesday] night than all previous nights combined,” resort spokesman Jeff Hanle.

Snowmaking crews toiled at all four ski areas and gulped 2.3 million gallons of water in the effort, he said.

At Snowmass, the crew focused on Fanny Hill. Now they are poised to pump the white stuff on slopes farther up the hill, if temperatures lend themselves to snowmaking.

Aspen Mountain still will need natural snow to open terrain, Hanle said.

The snowmaking system doesn’t stretch to the top of Lift 3, so a storm is needed to fully cover that terrain. Aspen Mountain has the advantage of using the Silver Queen Gondola to transport skiers and riders up and down the mountain when conditions allow for the opening of terrain at the top.

Resorts throughout Colorado are crossing their fingers for storms to develop next week. As of Thursday afternoon,’s 10-day forecast for Aspen called for a 30 percent chance of rain and snow showers on Tuesday and a 40 percent chance of a snow shower on Wednesday. As dry as it’s been lately, that provided reason for hope.

The forecast for Vail is similar.

“It looks like winter starts next week,” Hanle said.

Aspen Mountain has a successful record of getting at least a meager amount of terrain open on or around Thanksgiving. Hanle said terrain has opened in late November every year since 1981. In 1980, the opening was delayed until the third week of December, he said. And in the disastrous winter of 1976, the slopes remained nearly bare for Christmas. The opening was delayed until Jan. 1.

Seven resorts have opened humble amounts of terrain: Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Loveland, Winter Park and Wolf Creek. Crested Butte plans to open terrain on Saturday.

Support Local Journalism