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Snowmaking starts, Lift 1A replacement plan submitted to Forest Service

Oct 28, 2015

The Aspen Skiing Company has submitted an application to the Forest Service to review a plan to replace Lift 1A on Ajax. Still, SkiCo officials say a replacement won't happen until development plans are firmed up at the base.
Credit Aspen Journalism

The Aspen Skiing Company is getting a jump on a plan to replace an aging ski lift in case an update is possible before a major competition is held on one of its ski areas. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen explains.

In mid-September the Aspen Skiing Company submitted a proposal to the Forest Service to replace and realign the Shadow Mountain lift, or Lift 1A, located on the west side of Ajax. Typically the company would wait to do this process later, but officials are anxious to get such a project done.

Since the 1990s the SkiCo has considered replacing the lift, which was installed in 1972. The latest plan lays out three possibilities: a high speed quad, a gondola or a telemix, which is a hybrid gondola and chairlift. Jeff Hanle is with the SkiCo.

"Everybody knows we want a new lift at the bottom of Shadow Mountain," he says. "There are developers at the base of Shadow Mountain. Everything has to work together. We want this, and we want it as soon as we can have it."

Even if the Forest Service gives the green light, the SkiCo can’t install a new lift without firm plans about what would be built at the base. The International Ski Federation wants the SkiCo to replace the lift before the World Cup Finals are held on Aspen Mountain in 2017.

Snowmaking starts on Aspen Mountain

Also on Wednesday, the Aspen Skiing Company announced it began snowmaking a little earlier than normal.

Typically snow guns start spitting out snow on November 1st, but temperatures dipped into the teens Tuesday night, allowing the early snowmaking. The guns are making snow Audi FIS Ski World Cup course, a competition held on opening weekend. Aspen Mountain is scheduled to open November 26th, which is Thanksgiving Day.