Aspen abuzz, twelve resorts now open in state
ASPEN – The day was warm and the skies blue, a great combination for skiing.
Well, spring skiing, maybe, but Thanksgiving, and opening day, to boot?
“We had bluebird skies, groomed runs and thankful skiers,” said Aspen spokesperson Meredith McKee, summing up the feelings of the several hundred skiers and boarders taking advantage of free lift rides Thursday at Aspen Mountain.
The Silver Queen was offering free lifts for foot passengers while the Little Nell and Bell Mountain chairs were running, with access to Deer Park, Spar Gulch and Little Nell.
The mountain was abuzz, getting ready for this weekend’s women’s World Cup races and the big question — would Lindsey Vonn be racing — was finally answered.
The four-time overall World Cup champion this week spent two nights in an Aspen hospital after suffering an intestinal issue and she just recently returned to training.
She raced in Saturday’s GS, finishing 21st in her return after missing time with an intestinal illness. Vonn will skip today’s slalom.
Thursday, however, there were plenty of skiers and riders ready to hit the slopes for opening day at several Colorado resorts, including Aspen, Snowmass, Telluride (which opened Wednesday for its annual Donation Day benefitting the local ski club), Crested Butte and Steamboat, this year celebrating its 50th anniversary.
“Opening Weekend was great,” Steamboat’s Loryn Kasten said. “We began our 50th anniversary season with our annual Scholarship Day, where 100 percent of proceeds go to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.”
Other resorts now open include Vail, Keystone and Breckenridge. A complete list and current snow conditions are available at http://www.coloradoski.com.
At Snowmass, several hundred skiers and riders were enjoying the Meadows beginners’ area, upper Scooper, lower Hal’s, Dawdler and Fanny Hill.
Although skiing was limited to ribbons of man-made snow on a handful of runs, Aspen Ski Company spokesperson Jeff Hanle earlier this week said the company is one snowfall away from being able to open top-to-bottom skiing on Ajax.
Hanle said that as long as night-time temperatures were favorable, snowmaking will allow the resort to open Max Park, Lunchline and the connection to the base of Big Burn Chair at Snowmass.
Aspen Highlands is scheduled to open Dec. 8, Powderhorn Dec. 13 and Buttermilk on Dec. 15.
Twelve resorts now are open including Crested Butte, which opened its season with its traditional free skiing day and a tribute to Ullr, the Norse god of skiing.
The resort also is offering its Ski Free with Lodging promotion through Dec. 19. Guests received a free day of skiing for every night’s stay at participating Crested Butte properties.