Free uphilling at Buttermilk. (Aspen-Snowmass)
Scheduled to shut down its lifts on April 2, operators of Buttermilk Mountain have decided to open back up on April 8-9 for all manner of human-powered uphill traffic.
Aspen Skiing Company announced that grooming crews will hit about 70 percent of its 470 acres prior to the weekend to provided access for people will to skin, run, snowshoe, split board or simply hike up for a few final runs of the season.
A partnership of Aspen Skiing Co. and the City of Aspen hopes to introduce more people to uphill skiing and riding, which has become increasingly popular in the Rockies and elsewhere as an alternative to buying a ticket to ride the lifts. Most resorts now have their own uphill policies.
“The City is creating a platform where as a community we can build on our ski roots, capture, develop and grow an emerging market, and blaze the trail to connect Colorado’s outdoor recreation industry with its manufacturing capability in Aspen and our region,” said Aspen Mayor Steven Skadron while announcing the event.
There will be no cost for participants, who will begin climbing either at the base of Tiehack, Main or West Buttermilk lifts where there will be vendor booths.
Hours will be 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 8, and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 9. Food and drinks will be available for purchase at the bottom and top of the mountain. Gear can be rented at Mountain Sports shops, and beginners can try out uphilling equipment for the first time on Panda Peak.
At the other three Aspen-area resorts, the lifts will be running on that weekend. Aspen Highlands is set to close down on April 9, while both Aspen Mountain and Snowmass will continue through the next weekend.