Snow falls in the Colorado high country

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenOctober 6, 2011
The leaves are on fire this fall with radiant reds and spectacular shades of yellow contrasting terrifically with the blue skies and evergreens, but now there is a different hue coloring the scenery around Aspen: white.

Snow dusted the higher elevations throughout the Roaring Fork Valley earlier this week, as it briefly did a month ago, and today a winter weather advisory is in effect with accumulations possible. Three to six inches are forecast in Aspen at areas above 9,000 feet, with one to two inches expected in town. In other locales around the state, particularly in the San Juan Mountains, a foot of snow could drop.

The National Weather Service is calling it the “first significant winter storm” of the 2011/2012 season.

Driving over mountain passes could be hazardous with dense fog, flurries and heavy snow possible.

Chairlifts will begin cranking in Colorado soon. Arapahoe Basin and Loveland are usually the first resorts to open and they have already rolled out their snowmaking guns to add to nature’s bounty. Last year, the first ski resort in Colorado opened on Oct. 24 so the season’s start is likely just weeks away.

Aspen’s resorts don’t partake in the race to be the first to open. Instead, the powers that be set a more realistic timeline: Aspen Mountain and Snowmass are scheduled to open on Nov. 24 while Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands open on Dec. 10. Winter, after all, doesn’t even officially arrive until Dec. 22.

But now is the time to shop for equipment and to save money on ski passes.

The Aspen/Snowmass Classic Pass goes on sale at select locations across the Front Range and Western Slope starting Saturday. The passes are on sale in REI stores in Denver, Boulder, Englewood and Lakewood. Here in the Roaring Fork Valley, the passes will only be sold on specific dates at Summit Canyon Mountaineering in Glenwood Springs, D&E/Four-Mountain Sports in Carbondale or the Buttermilk ticket office in Aspen.

Four- and seven-day Classic Passes offer skiing and riding for less than $50 a day.

Aspen/Snowmass is also part of Colorado Ski Country USA’s fifth- and sixth-grade Passport Program, which introduces youths to skiing for free and discounted prices at Colorado’s participating resorts.

Also consider checking out the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Expo in early November for deals on skis, boards, clothing and accessories with prices on last season’s equipment slashed 40-70 percent.

For more information on ski passes and pricing, check out the Aspen Skiing Company’s website.
Fall meets winter in Aspen.
Jeremy Swanson/Aspen Skiing Company
Chairlifts on Aspen Mountain this afternoon.
Jeremy Swanson/Aspen Skiing Company
Winter weather advisory for Aspen.

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Snow Report

  24hr snow mid dpth snow cond.
A-Basin n/a n/a
Aspen n/a n/a closed
BC n/a n/a closed
Breckenridge n/a n/a closed
Buttermilk n/a n/a closed
Copper n/a n/a closed
Crest. Butte n/a n/a closed
Eldora n/a n/a closed
Heavenly n/a n/a closed
Highlands n/a n/a
Howelsen n/a n/a closed
Keystone n/a n/a closed
Kirkwood n/a n/a closed
Loveland n/a n/a
Monarch n/a n/a closed
Northstar n/a n/a closed
Powderhorn n/a n/a closed
Purgatory n/a n/a closed
Silverton n/a n/a closed
Ski Cooper n/a n/a closed
Ski Granby n/a n/a closed
Snowmass n/a n/a closed
Steamboat n/a n/a closed
Sunlight n/a n/a closed
Telluride n/a n/a closed
Vail n/a n/a closed
WinterPark n/a n/a closed
Wolf Creek n/a n/a closed
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