Locals can take their skis back out of the closet this Memorial Day weekend.
The top of Aspen Mountain will be open for skiing Saturday, May 25 through Monday, May 27, the Aspen Skiing Co. announced on Monday.
“We’ve received nearly 4 feet of snow since Aspen Mountain closed,” SkiCo Vice President of Mountain Operations Rich Burkley said in a press release issued Monday afternoon. “In fact, it’s snowing at the top of Aspen Mountain right now. If it won’t quit snowing we shouldn’t quit skiing.”
The company reported a 33-inch base at the top of the mountain, allowing it to open 16 runs serviced by the Ajax Express chairlift on open terrain totaling 90 acres. Runs include mostly intermediate terrain: Silver Bell, Pussyfoot, Silver Dip, Blondie’s, Dipsy Doodle, Dipsy Headwall, Summit, Buckhorn, Pumphouse, Tourtelotte Park and North American.
Skiing and riding will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., served by the Ajax Express chairlift. People can download on the Silver Queen Gondola, which will run until 4 p.m. Premier, premier silver and 6-and-under SkiCo passholders from the 2012-13 season ride free. All other passholders pay a discounted rate of $18 for adult, senior and youth, and $9 for child season passholders.
Walk-up tickets will be $36 per day; $18 for children ages 4-12. Regular summer rates will apply for sightseeing tickets.
SkiCo spokesman Jeff Hanle said company officials had been monitoring the strong spring snowfall and accumulation on the mountain, and made the decision on Monday to open it for the holiday weekend. The Silver Queen gondola already had been scheduled to begin running this weekend for normal summer operations, so the additional cost of grooming, patrolling and manning two lifts was worth opening for three days of skiing, Hanle said.
“We said, ‘We’ve got the snow. We’ve got the gondola running. Why not let everyone go up and have some fun,’” Hanle explained.
The SkiCo most recently opened for Memorial Day skiing and riding in 2011, when heavy spring snow kept the top of Aspen Mountain open for the last weekend in May and first weekend in June. In 2008, the top of the mountain was opened for skiing during the Food & Wine Classic in June.
The Sundeck restaurant at the summit and Ajax Tavern at the base will both be open. Four Mountain Sports on Durant Avenue will offer $29 ski and snowboard day rentals. The ski shop also is offering a $50 rental of skis and a bike, encouraging patrons to attempt a two-sport day.
“You could do a pentathlon if you wanted to,” said Hanle.