The race course under lift 1A on Ajax will be open to the public today through the weekend, while the Aspen Skiing Co. waits for colder temperatures so snowmakers can prepare more terrain for skiing and riding.
Over at Snowmass, skiers and boarders will be able to ride from the top of the Village Express lift for the first time this season, as the Max Park and Lunchline runs will be open, beginning today. The Sam’s Knob chairlift also will be open, serving the Lunchline run only, so riders don’t have to head all the way to the bottom.
The Ullrhof restaurant at Snowmass will be open with full food service starting today, but the Big Burn area above it will remain closed. The Sam’s Knob restaurant will be open for snacks and bathroom breaks.
World Cup and NorAm races have been taking place under lift 1A for the last week, but wrapped up Thursday. Skiers and boarders will have the chance to ride the same hill as the racers, although SkiCo crews have been tilling the man-made snow surface to make it less slick than what the racers had.
“We’re doing everything we can [but] sharpen your edges,” said SkiCo spokesman Jeff Hanle. He described the pitch as expert skiing.
Also, due to a spike in overnight temperatures since Wednesday that has curtailed snowmaking, there is no on-snow connection between the 1A and Little Nell sides of the mountain. SkiCo will be running shuttles between gondola plaza and the base of 1A for those who do not want to walk the steep hill up South Aspen Street.
The 1A side will close to the public on Monday for a few days, so SkiCo can finish taking down infrastructure from this week’s races. Riders will see some race-related items on the hill this weekend, but SkiCo wanted to open the run to the public to “relieve some pressure” on the three runs that are open on the other side of the mountain, Hanle said.
“We want to give people a chance to ski over there,” he said.
With temperatures expected to remain above normal this weekend, it’s not likely to be a productive time for snowmakers. But once temperatures get low enough, crews will continue making snow to open Copper Bowl and Lazy Boy on Aspen Mountain, and Coney Glade and Banzai Ridge at Snowmass, Hanle said.
The gondola and the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain also will reopen for foot passengers this weekend. Skiing from the top of Aspen Mountain will still have to wait for more natural snow, since snowmaking stops near the Deer Park run.