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Aspen Mountain and Snowmass will open Thursday, launching a challenging season

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Eleanor Bennett
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Aspen Public Radio
Several runs will open Thursday at the top of Aspen Mountain, including parts of Silver Bell, Upper Copper, Lazy Boy and Deer Park. On Snowmass, only the Elk Camp Meadows beginner’s area will open on Thanksgiving.

Some of the lifts on Aspen Mountain and Snowmass will start spinning into the winter season Thursday. Aspen Skiing Co. officials made the announcement Monday morning after evaluating conditions over the weekend.

“We’re excited to be opening,” said Jeff Hanle, SkiCo’s vice president of communications. “Are we underwhelmed with the weather, the snow, the warm temperatures that we’ve had so far and the amount of terrain that we’re able to open? I would say probably yes, but we’re going to deal with what we’ve been dealt.”

Several runs will open Thursday at the top of Aspen Mountain, including parts of Silver Bell, Upper Copper, Lazy Boy and Deer Park. The Silver Queen Gondola will be running, as well as the Ajax Express and Gent’s Ridge lifts. On Snowmass, only the short lift at the Elk Camp Meadows beginner’s area will be open and the Elk Camp Gondola will be running.

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Eleanor Bennett
Aspen Mountain and Snowmass will open Thursday, with a combined total of 57 acres of skiable terrain. There will be music and festivities at The Sundeck restaurant on Aspen Mountain, as well as at Elk Camp restaurant on Snowmass.

There will be no top-to-bottom skiing on Aspen Mountain or Snowmass this week, and Aspen Mountain is closed to uphillers until further notice. All other mountains are open to uphillers starting Thursday.

Hanle says SkiCo staff will be working to open more runs on Aspen Mountain and Snowmass by the time Highlands and Buttermilk open Dec. 11.

“Our crews are up there doing everything they can to get some snow down, to get it spread out,” Hanle said. “Let’s just all do our snow dance, hope for natural snow, a little change in the weather and hope for cold temperatures.”

But opening terrain across all four mountains isn’t the only thing on Hanle’s mind.

Aspen Public Radio recently talked with Hanle about everything from SkiCo’s upcoming 75th anniversary and the ongoing pandemic to climate change and the Valley’s housing crisis.

Listen to the conversation above.

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