Powder

A rooster tail of snow follows Aspen resident Keegan Daley as he rips his way down Snowmass Ski Area on a recent powder day.

What a difference a year makes.

Through Dec. 31, Aspen Skiing Co. was able to open more than twice the acreage on its four area mountains as compared to that same time period in 2017, according to figures provided by Jeff Hanle, vice president of communications.

At the end of 2018, there were 5,309 acres of terrain open between Snowmass, Aspen, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, said Hanle.

Last year at this time, which is regarded as one of the most challenging in Snowmass’ history, according to former general manager Steve Sewell, only 1,956 acres were open on the four SkiCo mountains.

Between October and the final day of 2018, Snowmass received 138 inches of snow. During that same period in 2017, just 72 inches had accumulated at Snowmass.

Aspen Mountain fared infinitely better in 2018 than the prior season, when only 38 inches of snow had been measured by Dec. 31. Through the end of 2018, 105 inches had fallen on Aspen Mountain, according to SkiCo.

Aspen Highlands enjoyed 137 inches of white stuff from the start of the season through the end of the year, compared to just 45 inches during that same time frame in 2017. In fact, 45 inches of snow fell in November 2018 alone on Highlands’ terrain.

And at Buttermilk, just 20 inches of snow — 8 inches in November and 12 inches in December — greeted holiday crowds during the snow starved 2017 season.

At the close of 2018, Buttermilk had received a total of 62 inches of snow, including 20 inches in December.

As a possible harbinger of the new year: skiers and snowboarders awoke Jan. 1 to between 1 and 3 inches of freshies on Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain, Highlands and Snowmass.