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Aspen Mountain receives Forest Service approval for new lift, terrain expansion and greater snowmaking coverage

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Mountain Technology,

As reported by the Aspen Daily News, the White River National Forest last week approved a proposal by Aspen Mountain in Colorado, US, to expand ski terrain in its Pandora zone and install a snowmaking system to cover the expansion.

Construction on phase one of the snowmaking, involving infrastructure and 15 acres of coverage, could begin as soon as this summer, pending Pitkin County approval.

The decision also includes a plan to add 53 acres of snowmaking to the peak of Aspen, superseding a system dating back to the early 1980s that finishes 500 ft short of the summit. This will necessitate the construction of a second water storage pond, pump station and laying of pipe.

Timber clearing could also begin this summer for a new lift in the Pandora zone, but installation work is not expected to begin until the summer of 2020, with a provisional opening at the beginning of the 2020 – 2021 season.

The Forest Service cited improved skier circulation on the upper east side of the mountain, reliable and consistent snow coverage on the upper mountain and additional minimally maintained lift-served terrain and traditional alpine trails as reasons to approve the projects.

The approval initiated a 45-day objection projection; if none are offered the decision will be final. Should objections be submitted, they will be adjudicated on through a formal process.

The Forest Service received 20 written comments on the proposal during the process, both positive and negative in their feedback.

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