Aspen Mountain will open early |

Aspen Mountain will open early

Courtesy Aspen Skiing Co.Skiers and boarders will get an early shot at powder shots. Aspen Mountain opens Saturday.

ASPEN Lots of snow has moved Aspen Mountains opening up to Saturday from Thanksgiving Day. Snowmass will open Thursday and Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk will open Dec. 9. About 150 acres will open on the mountaintop, mostly intermediate terrain served by the Ajax Express and the Gentlemen’s Ridge chairlifts. All the groomers are going to be great, Aspen mountain spokesman Jeff Hanle said.The mountain wants to contain the number of skiers because a limited amount of terrain is opening early. We don’t want it to get skied off before the scheduled opening, Hanle said.There will not be top-to-bottom skiing, so skiers and riders will ride the gondola down to the bottom. The trails expected to open include Buckhorn, Midnight, North American, Reds, Tourtelotte Park, 1& 2 Leaf, Silver Bell, Dipsy Doodle, Bellisimo, Silver Dip and Seibert’s. Keep eyes peeled for temporary openings of steeper terrain as well, Hanle advised.The early opening was in doubt before a storm dumped about 16 inches of snow on the slopes Monday night and Tuesday, Hanle said. Company officials checked out conditions on Aspen Mountain on Tuesday and concluded there was only one choice to make. It would be criminal not to open this mountain, Aspen Mountain manager Peter King said.Tuesday’s storm came with heavy winds on the mountain, so some places are loaded and some scoured. However, the terrain that will open has been track-packed three times, so there is a solid base there, Hanle said. The lifts will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and the Sundeck restaurant will be open.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO

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