New quad chair, more trails: Aspen announces biggest terrain expansion in almost 40 years

by James Wilkinson

Aspen Snowmass is embarking on its biggest terrain expansion in almost 40 years with a new area and quad lift called ‘Hero’s’, which will increase skiable acreage by more than 20 percent on the resort’s flagship mountain.

With 1,220 vertical feet (375 m) and more than 150 acres (60 hectares) of new chutes, glades and trails, this expansion will be Aspen Mountain’s first significant addition since the opening of the Silver Queen Gondola in 1985.

Formerly referred to as Pandora’s, the new high-speed quad and surrounding terrain pod will be named Hero’s to honour all of the people who brought this project to life, most impactfully Jim Crown, whose vision and leadership helped bring this ambitious expansion to reality.

Much loved and respected Crown, the chairman and CEO of Henry Crown, managing partner of Aspen Skiing Co. and philanthropist passed away in Aspen in June year in a single car accident on his 70th birthday, shaking the town to its core.

“With Jim’s unexpected passing, we took some time to reflect on the family’s and our company’s enormous loss and the naming of this historic expansion,” says Aspen Skiing Company CEO, Geoff Buchheister.

“Jim’s legacy and broad impact in Aspen stretched over 35 years, alongside many others we are also choosing to honour.

“We felt it was meaningful and appropriate to recognize all of the heroes who are tied to this terrain as we unveil this new project.”

The expansion stays true to historical trail names like Powerline and Harris’s Wall, and it honours many of the heroes of the resort who had significant ties to this terrain.

There are runs dedicated to the first female ski instructor Elli Iselin, to 10th Mountain soldier Percy Rideout, and to pivotal ski patrol members like Eric Kinsman and Cory Brettmann. Tim Howe, who originally coined the name Pandora’s Box, will be recognized with a glade named after him as well.

“Not only does the addition diversify Aspen Mountain’s terrain mix and offer more skiing on the upper portion of the mountain, but it also acts as a functional hedge against future climate-challenged ski seasons: with its north-facing, high elevation terrain (all above 10,000 ft.), this area is ideal for holding snow in seasons when natural snowfall is less plentiful,” Buchheister said.

He said the terrain and lift will open this Northern Winter when conditions allow.


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