It seems that when you really need the weather to cooperate, it never does. However, despite Mother Nature’s apparent objections, Aspen Skiing Company’s new Snowmass chairlift is still on schedule for its mid-December opening. Muddy conditions stopped work earlier in the year, but crews have plenty of time to get caught up.
The U.S. Forest Service approved the project back in April. The new chairlift will replace the double chair that was built in 1978. The new High Alpine quad lift will take skiers directly to the top of the run, eliminating the previous walk across the area known as “Puff Puff Pass.” It will terminate just above the ski patrol hut.
In addition to carrying four riders rather than two, the new lift cuts the ride time from 11 minutes to just under six.
According to Snowmass general manager Steve Sewell, the new chairs will improve circulation around the upper mountain area. By eliminating the need to return to the lower lifts, this project will allow repeat skiing and riding in Rock Island, AMF and the Cirque.
Crews have been glading some of the area’s dense timber in order to accommodate the new alignment, and further glading may continue next summer. Ideally, this will lead to more wide-open skiing on the mountain.
Around 18 acres of additional snowmaking rounds out the improvements associated with the run’s new lift. With any luck, Mother Nature will be more cooperative.
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