No complaints on opening day at Snowmass |

No complaints on opening day at Snowmass

Charles Agar
Aspen Correspondent
Vail, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen TimesFive-year-old Macy Hopkinson of Westport, Conn., gets a little ski instruction from her dad, Ron, on Thursday at Snowmass.

SNOWMASS, Colorado ” A limited opening day at Snowmass on Thanksgiving didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits.

The weather was sunny, the lift ride was free, and more than 1,000 skiers rode the Skittles lift to ski and ride just 200 vertical feet on seven acres of terrain.

There wasn’t a complainer to be found.

“We’re beginners, so we have fun no matter what,” said Dr. David Ijac of Boca Raton, Fla., who hit the hill with his son and daughter. But fun off the hill ” shopping, dining and exploring town ” were just as important, he said.

“We’ll continue to open terrain,” said Aspen Skiing Co. President and Chief Executive Officer Mike Kaplan, who promised continued snowmaking as long as temperatures cooperate.

The resort will open the Village Express lift as far as the midway point today, opening some 45 acres of terrain.

And Friday, skiers can ride the gondola up Aspen Mountain to ski and ride some 50 acres under the Ajax Express lift.

“I’m just happy to be out there,” said Nic Ryan-Glenie of Australia, who was just strapping on his board for the first turns of the year.

It’s Ryan-Glenie’s second year working on a mountain ” last year he was near Banff, Alberta ” and he plans to make the most of it.

“I’m going to have a good time; that’s what I’m out here for,” he said.

“We’re not disappointed at all. We’re thrilled,” said Ariane Ladd of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, who plans to enjoy two days of skiing with her daughter, Taylor.

And Julie Harper and daughter Paisley of Illinois were “never-evers” on the slopes Thursday. They plan to stick around for a few days and get lessons.

“The guys decided not to come skiing,” Harper said, adding that the men in the family decided to ride the gondola up Aspen Mountain to watch football.

In fact, more than 2,000 visitors took a free gondola ride up Aspen Mountain, according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.

But for some, taking a few turns before tucking into the turkey is just a tradition.

“This is our token run,” said Steve Meyer of Snowmass Village, who skied with his daughter, Sally Rose. “We always go out Thanksgiving Day ” no matter what.”

Other members of the family opted out because of the limited terrain, Meyer said.

“But, Sally and I don’t falter.”

The pair planned to workout and hit the Jacuzzi at the Snowmass Club before dinner with the family.

With a glut of early-bird skiers eager for some turns on Fanny Hill on Thursday, there was a long wait at the Skittles lift.

Kaplan said the “secret stash” of the day was hopping the village shuttle to access the Fanny Hill terrain above Skittles and, looking at the long queue, he quipped, “That’ll be the longest line of the year, I’ll bet.”

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