Snow gods, SkiCo execs extend ski season at Aspen Highlands
Highlands will be open for snow riding Saturday and Sunday, April 27-28, and then finally call it quits Sunday afternoon after a late surge of snow made the 2012-13 ski season very respectable compared to the parched conditions of 2011-12.
“We are skiers and snowboarders and it is snowing like crazy, so of course we will reopen,” David Perry, senior vice president of Aspen Skiing Company, said in a press release. “This is a big thank you to everyone. Let's finish the season with smiles on our faces.”
That already happened for a lot of hard-partying snow riders on Sunday – the originally scheduled closing day for Highlands.
Still, the mountain on Saturday and Sunday will be open to the 12,392-foot summit of Highland Bowl. The Exhibition lift will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Loge, Cloud Nine and Deep Temerity lifts will run until 3:30 p.m., providing access to the entire mountain. The Merry-Go-Round restaurant, Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro and Four-Mountain Sports will all be open for business.
Season pass-holders from any other Colorado resort can check out Highlands this weekend and pay just $39 for a lift ticket by presenting their pass at the ticket window. Go to the Highlands website for more information on ticket pricing and go to the Stay Aspen Snowmass Central Reservations website for great late-season lodging deals.
Vail closed for the season on Sunday, April 21, along with a handful of other resorts -- Breckenridge, Powderhorn and Copper Mountain – that cranked up the lifts again for one last hurrah. Winter Park always planned to close on Sunday.
The only remaining ski areas still open for business in Colorado after this coming weekend will be Loveland (closing on Sunday, May 5) and Arapahoe Basin (closing on Sunday, June 2). Both areas just got blasted with fresh snow yet again Monday night, with Loveland reporting 11 new on a 79-inch base and A-Basin chiming in with a robust 13 new on a 70-inch base.
But now things will start to warm up and look a lot more like springtime than full-on winter, according to Opensnow.com. Temperatures on the second closing day at Highlands on Sunday could reach the lower 60s.
“A few snow showers will linger on Tuesday, then warmer weather is in store from Wednesday through the weekend with just a few high elevation snow showers … It looks like we'll achieve peak snowpack for the state on Tuesday and then the melt-out will commence,” Opensnow.com reported on Monday. “It's been a great April for snow.”
On April 4, Vail, which typically gets 350 inches of snow a season, was well below average with just 250 inches and only 10 days until the originally scheduled closing date. Then the heavens opened up, and on the second closing day on Sunday Vail was reporting 330 inches of seasonal snowfall (just 20 inches below average.
Better snow means better financial performance in the ski industry, and Vail Resorts enjoyed a solid rebound from the record warm and dry 2011-12 season. The company on Monday reported that through April 14 skier visits at its four Colorado resorts and three California ski areas were up 5.5 percent compared to last season, with lift-ticket revenues up more than 10 percent.
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