As the end of the ski season for Aspen Mountain and Snowmass approaches on Sunday, there will be far more snow left on the slopes than at the closure of the 2011-12 season.
“We’ve got more terrain open at all three of the mountains than last year,” said Aspen Skiing Co. spokesman Jeff Hanle.
In fact, base depth at the top of Ajax, Snowmass and Aspen Highlands on Friday were the highest counts of the year with 50, 69 and 71 inches, respectively.
Hanle noted that March 31 is typically the highest base depth for local ski areas, and Highlands is in good shape for the remaining week that it is open; April 21 is closing day.
A storm expected to arrive tonight is forecast to bring between 4 to 7 inches and another 1 to 3 inches on Sunday night, said Ryan Boudreau of aspenweather.net.
The cold front is expected to hang around through Wednesday, producing up to another foot of snow, Boudreau said.
Last season’s drought forced SkiCo to close Highlands a week early, on April 15, when Ajax and Snowmass shut down.
“Last year it just turned off after the first week of March,” Hanle said. “[This] March has been stronger than the last few years.”
However, it was a slow start to the 2012-13 season, when Aspen Mountain and Snowmass opened on Nov. 22 with limited terrain. Those looking for turns on Ajax were limited to riding the Little Nell and Bell Mountain chairlifts, with no top-to-bottom skiing served by the Silver Queen gondola.
The snow started dumping just before Christmas and snowfall stayed steady through the rest of the season.
SkiCo finished the season strong in terms of skier visits, thanks to four large group visits — the NASTAR National Championship, the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic, the National Brotherhood of Skiers and the Mountain Travel Symposium.
Hanle also noted that spring break also saw an uptick.
“We were maxed,” he said. “It was a compressed week.”
Highland will be one of a few Colorado resorts still open next week. SkiCo is offering lift ticket prices of $62 for adults; $57 for youth and seniors, and $42 for children. Classic Pass holders who have no more days left can buy a pass for $35. More reduced prices will be announced by SkiCo in the coming days.
Closing festivities at Snowmass and Aspen are planned for this weekend. Schneetag, the last official event of the season, will occur at Snowmass on Sunday. Teams of four create a craft that they pilot down a slope by Spider Sabich Race Arena at the base of the superpipe. They will attempt to float across a 30-by-20-foot pond. Every team has a theme and will perform a skit before they descend. Teams are judged based on creativity, skit performance, craft construction and success in riding the course. Top prizes include GoPro Hero 3 Black Editions, concert tickets, Smith Optics goggles, Helly Hansen gear, and local restaurant gift certificates, among other items.
Entry is free and free foot passes for the Burlingame lift will be available from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit www.aspensnowmass.com/schneetag  for more information.
At the base of Aspen Mountain, the Ajax Tavern will have DJ Dylan today and DJ Naka G on Sunday. Drink specials and champagne specials with Veuve Clicquot will be available.