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Aspen Mountain To Open Early

Aspen/Snowmass, Colo. — A series of early season storms have dumped nearly 60 inches of snow on Aspen/Snowmass over the last several weeks and Aspen Mountain will open for the season Nov. 23. Snowmass opened for the weekend on Nov. 9-10 (3 weeks ahead of schedule) and Aspen Mountain will be open this weekend, Nov. 16-17. Aspen Mountain will then reopen for the season on Saturday, Nov. 23 - 5 days before the scheduled opening on Thanksgiving Day.

"There's a buzz in the community, " said David Perry, senior vice president, Aspen Skiing Company. "We haven't had early season conditions this good in years and people are very anxious to get out on the slopes. The locals turned out in force last weekend at Snowmass and we're excited to be able to get Aspen Mountain open early and thank everyone for their hard work throughout the year."

With the early opening, participating properties will offer World Cup lift and lodging packages beginning Nov. 23. Packages are offered at a variety of properties in Aspen and Snowmass starting as low as $55 per night/per person based on double occupancy.

"This gives visitors the chance to start their Thanksgiving holiday early," Perry added. "They can come out and enjoy excellent skiing and riding before World Cup then enjoy the races, the parties, the dining and the fireworks extravaganza."

Aspen Mountain will open the Ajax Express and Gent's Ridge quads this weekend, Nov. 16-17, with the Silver Queen Gondola open for uploading and downloading. 191acres and 25 trails will be open. More terrain will open on the Nov. 23 based on weather and snowfall.

"With the natural snow and the excellent snowmaking conditions, we hope to be able to offer top-to-bottom skiing and riding starting on the 23rd, " said Mike Kaplan, senior vice president mountain operations.

Snowfall in the mountains surrounding Aspen/Snowmass is currently 168 percent of average according to the U.S. Natural Resources Conservation Service. Aspen Mountain currently has a base of 26 inches at both the top and midway stations and Snowmass has a 40-inch base on top of the mountain.

Lift tickets are $49 a day for adults and seniors and $32 a day for children and youth (7-17), children six and under ski free. All season passes are valid as they would be during the regular season. Highlands/Buttermilk passholders will pay $39 a day and Aspen/Snowmass Classic Passes are also valid.

Celebrate Thanksgiving watching the world's fastest women and the 2002 Olympic medallists compete in the Super G and Slalom World Cup Ski Races on legendary Aspen Mountain in the 2002 Chevy Truck Aspen Winternational (Nov. 28-Dec. 1). It's fun, festive and FREE! The event includes stadium seating, prize giveaways, winter carnival, racer autograph signing, awards ceremony, fireworks extravaganza, and après ski street party with live music. Also enjoy "Dine Around the World" with Aspen's favorite restaurants offering great food and drink specials. World Cup lodging and lift ticket packages are now available starting at $55 per person per night, based on double occupancy. Call Stay Aspen Snowmass at 800/481-3102 or 970/925-9000 to book.

Aspen/Snowmass is accessible by one of the most convenient airports in the mountains — Aspen/Sardy Field (ASE) is located just 3 miles from the town of Aspen and six miles from Snowmass Village. There are four ski areas in the Aspen/Snowmass area - Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. This winter season Aspen/Snowmass will host World Cup ski races (Nov 28-Dec 1), the Audi 24 Hours of Aspen endurance ski race (Dec 15-16), the ESPN Winter X Games VII (Jan 30-Feb 2) and the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix Finals (April 3-6) held during Spring Jam. The area offers unparalleled night life and off-slope activities as well.

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