Aspen Highlands will open for the season on Friday with roughly 300 acres of terrain, which will likely include a section of Highand Bowl.
Rich Burkley, vice president of mountain operations at Aspen Skiing Co., said terrain in Highland Bowl will most likely consist of portions in the G-zones. An announcement of exactly what will be open will occur on opening day, Burkley said, adding that crews have work to do to make a safe connection on the hiking ridge.
Boot-packing, which is necessary in the entire bowl for snow stabilization, was suspended last week but volunteers working for a ski pass were able to get most of the G-zones area packed down prior to efforts being put on hold, Aspen Highlands mountain manager Kevin Hagerty told the Aspen Daily News on Friday.
The Exhibition, Loge Peak, Cloud 9 and Deep Temerity chairlifts will be running on opening day. No decision has been made on whether terrain in Temerity will be open. But all of the intermediate terrain off the upper lifts will open, including Broadway, Hayden, Meadows, Kandahar, Wine Ridge, Heatherbedlam, Floradora, Grand Prix, Pyramid and Upper Robinsons runs. All of the mid-mountain beginner and intermediate terrain will open, including Prospector, Riverside Dr., Exhibition, Red Onion, Nugget, Golden Barrel, Park Avenue and Jerome Bowl runs.
Both the Merry-Go-Round and Cloud 9 restaurants also will open for the season on Friday.
Highlands was scheduled to open this past Saturday but was delayed due to a lack of snow. SkiCo officials said last week that 8 inches of natural snow needed to fall before top-to-bottom skiing on the Exhibition chairlift was possible.
This past weekend’s storm dumped 15 inches on local ski areas, making the Highlands opening a reality.
Historically, Highlands and Buttermilk have opened two weeks after Snowmass Ski Area and Aspen Mountain, which occurred on Thanksgiving Day. Because that holiday came a week early this year, Highlands was scheduled to open a week early as well. The decision was made last season to open Highlands a week earlier than Buttermilk, which will begin operations as regularly scheduled on Saturday.
Terrain there will include runs off of the Summit Express chairlift and West Buttermilk Express lift, to the midway loading station. Panda Peak and the lift that serves it also will be open. The Tiehack side still needs work and will likely not be ready for opening day.
Burkley said more terrain updates will come this week, including more acreage at Snowmass.