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Aspen/Snowmass, Colo. - Skiers and riders flocked to Snowmass for the second earliest opening in the resort's history, three weeks ahead of the scheduled opening. Six inches of snow fell overnight and heavy snow throughout the day brought the storm total to over a foot by early afternoon. Heavy snow continues to fall and Snowmass has more than 40 inches of snow on the upper mountain. Approximately 2,500 people showed up to ski and ride on 360 acres of terrain.

"This will go down as not only one of the best early season openings we have had, but as one of the best openings we have had period," said Mike Kaplan, senior vice president mountain operations. "We have mid-winter conditions in early November. It's a powder day."

The Fanny Hill, Coney Glade and Big Burn lifts were open accessing 360 acres of terrain and 3,383 vertical feet of skiing and riding. Nearly all the world-famous cruising terrain on the Big Burn is open. A mini-park was built with flat bars, kinked rails and mini-boxes on Cabin run under the Coney Glade lift. Lifts will opened Sunday, Nov. 10, from 9 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Snowmass will then re-open for the season as scheduled on Nov. 28.

Aspen Mountain will open on the following two weekends, Nov. 16-17 and 23-24. The Ajax Express quad will be open serving most of the runs on the upper mountain. The Silver Queen Gondola will operate for uploading and downloading. Aspen Mountain will open for daily operations as scheduled on Nov. 28. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk are scheduled to open Dec. 14.

Lift tickets are $49 a day for adults and seniors and $32 a day for children and youth (7-17). 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. Season passes are on sale now at the Aspen Mountain and Buttermilk ticket offices with savings of up to $150 before November 16.

Celebrate US 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 apres 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. CallStay 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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