Snowmass adds double-black ski area

12th October 2012, by Abi Butcher

The satellite resort of Snowmass, in Aspen, will become the second largest ski area in Colorado, after a judge gave permission for trees to be felled on the east of its boundaries.

Aspen Skiing Company, which owns Snowmass, will open around 230 acres of additional ski terrain on Burnt Mountain after winning a court battle to cut trees in the area, which is part of the White River National Forest.

Aspen spokesman Jeff Hanle told WTSS: “We are very excited about the expansion. There will be three marked runs through trees.”

Snowmass now has 3,362 skiable acres of terrain, with the biggest vertical in the US — 1340m. The new area will be marked advanced double black diamond difficulty, primarily, said Mr Hanle, because of the access trail from the area returning to the bottom of the Two Creeks lift.

Earlier this year, the US Forest Service had given the company permission to thin and fell the trees on Burnt Mountain, and the majority of the work had taken place. But environmental group Ark Initiative, which has been fighting to protect the trees since 2006, applied for an injunction to stop the work, claiming they were protected under forestry regulations.

But a court judge dismissed the claim last week and work to continue the project now forges ahead.

Mr Hanle continued: “This latest injunction came this year after we had already completed most of the work. We are back in the area now and will finish in plenty of time to ski Burnt Mountain this winter.”

Also new in Snowmass this year, Café Suzanne, at the top of the Elk Camp Gondola, is being replaced by a much bigger restaurant and the former Silvertree Hotel is being transformed into the Westlin Snowmass Resort, due to open in December.

For the latest information on Snowmass, Aspen and 1,000 other resorts worldwide, why not buy a copy of Where to Ski and Snowboard 2013

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