Until more natural snowfall allows the top of Aspen Mountain to be skiable, the Aspen Skiing Co. is not inclined to run the gondola and maintain operations at the Sundeck during the weekdays.
After being open to foot traffic this weekend, the gondola and the Sundeck will close until Dec. 1, which is Saturday, SkiCo spokesman Jeff Hanle said.
The only open runs on Aspen Mountain are Deer Park, Spar Gulch and Little Nell, which are accessed using the Little Nell and Bell Mountain chairlifts. Those runs rely on man-made snow, which SkiCo does not have the infrastructure to make above Deer Park. The top of the mountain remains closed for skiing, since the natural snowpack is not enough to provide a useable base.
Aspen Mountain opened for the season on Thanksgiving Day. Skier numbers since have been “good for what we have,” Hanle said.
He had previously dubbed the opening weekend as “old school,” since skiers got a taste of what Ajax was like before the gondola opened in 1986. In those days, Nell to Bell was the most common way up the mountain.
It will remain so for at least the next week, with no snow in the forecast.
While the weather situation may be depressing, Hanle suggested that local skiers “do anything but whine, because that doesn’t help anyone.”
SkiCo’s long-term plans for Aspen Mountain include extending snowmaking infrastructure to the top. Getting that work approved may become more of a priority, but nothing is imminent, Hanle said.