Aspen Mountain opens today

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— Skiers and riders will cash in on above-average early conditions when the slopes open this week, according to Aspen Skiing Co. Vice President of Mountain Operations Rich Burkley.

“I’m calling it on the better end of the spectrum,” he said.

The combination of natural snowfall and favorable temperatures for snowmaking have the slopes in better shape earlier than usual for opening day, he said.

It helped that the slopes picked up 2 inches of powder at the top and bottom and 3 to 4 inches mid-mountain early Monday.

Aspen Mountain opens today for a benefit for Aspen Valley Ski Club. Lift ticket prices are $35.

Passes will not be honored. All proceeds go to the club. The slopes will be open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with top-to-bottom skiing via Spar Gulch and Little Nell.

Thanksgiving Day is the official opening for Aspen Mountain and Snowmass, and the start of a 137-day season at the two areas. The single-day lift ticket price hadn’t been determined as of press time Monday.

Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk open Dec. 12.

Burkley said 150 to 170 acres of Aspen Mountain will open, which is close to one-quarter of the terrain. The Silver Queen Gondola will open along with the Ajax Express and Gent’s Ridge chairlifts.

Between 260 and 350 acres will open Thursday at Snowmass, according to Burkley. The Elk Camp Gondola will be fired up along with the Village Express, Sky Cab, Big Burn and Meadows chairlifts. All the trails on the Big Burn will be open, excluding the Sheer Bliss side.

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