Snowmass 50th birthday bash off to early start Friday morning |

Snowmass 50th birthday bash off to early start Friday morning

Erica Robbie | Snowmass Sun
Crowds were starting to form about mid-morning Friday at Snowmass' Village Express lift as skiers rolled in for the $6.50 lift tickets and start of the 50th birthday party.
Anna Stonehouse | The Aspen Times

The doors to the pavilion on the Snowmass Mall opened at 7:30 a.m. and the lifts started spinning at 8 a.m. About 40 hardy folks were in line when the Village Express opened, but just before that, the crowd started signing “Happy Birthday” to Snowmass.

“We’re expecting a lot of people to be out here and having a good time,” Snowmass mountain manager Steve Sewell said about 30 minutes before the lifts started loading. “What we have open is skiing really well. Hats off to the snowmakers, groomers and ski patrol for getting the Funnel open (under Elk Camp gondola). We’re going to have a good time with what we’ve got.”

More than 12,000 tickets were sold online for $6.50, which matched the price when the resort opened in 1967, by November when online sales were suspended.

 At the 400-space Rodeo Lot, which filled up by 9 a.m., Wibby Brewing of Longmont handed out free cans of beer to folks shuttling to the slopes.

By 10 a.m. as temperatures steadily increased, so too did the stream of skiers and riders along the mall and hill.

“I’m never going to get do to (this) again,” Denver resident Rahul Deodhar said from the top of the Village Express lift of visiting Snowmass and skiing Friday for $6.50.

Deodhar, 31, said he’s never visited Aspen or Snowmass and figured “Why not?”

Maddie Smith, also of Denver, said she and her three friends thought it would be “fun to get out of the city and at least get to some place that gets a little bit of snow rather than none at all.”

On-mountain about an hour and a half into the morning, Snowmass ski patroller Chris Vogt said, “the birthday is going great.

“No issues so far this morning,” he said. “We’re going to do our best to keep things controlled.”

Ski patrollers, positioned throughout Snowmass’ open terrain, waved for skiers and riders to slow down at busy areas. With just 130 acres of the 3,332-acre mountain open, the hill was expected to fill up fast.

The anniversary shenanigans are expected to progressively amp up with DJs and other music starting at 11 a.m.

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