Most useful among them is the “Aspen Gondola Plaza User Controlled Cam” (accessed via the “Live Cams” button behind the “Power of Four” button at aspensnowmass.com). Click “control now,” and you can tilt and pan the camera to look down on the patio of Ajax Tavern, up the Little Nell run, down on the gondola cars exiting their terminal (noting whether or not they have skis on them will indicate whether the cars are being loaded with skiers), and, perhaps most valuably, directly at the lines of the gondola’s lift maze and stairs to see whether you should rush to the mountain now or wait half an hour. The SkiCo’s other Live Cams are pretty standard, offering unidirectional views from the tops and bottoms of Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, and Buttermilk.
Then there are the Roundshot cams. Last winter, SkiCo debuted five of them (called “Panoramic Live Cams” on the website) to create footage using “the world’s best digital panoramic, web-enabled, climate-proof photographic technology.” No doubt, the image quality is inspirational. The “Aspen/Snowmass—Power of Four Cam,” a Roundshot situated atop Red Mountain, pans from a view toward Independence Pass all the way to one looking over the tail end of the runway at the Aspen airport, with Mt. Sopris in the distance. You see the whole town of Aspen in almost real time—and distant views of all four ski areas—with the cams’ images refreshing every ten minutes. All of the Roundshot cams (there’s one atop each ski area, plus the Power of Four Cam) allow users to send an image to friends as an e-card, including a selection of “best shots” from the previous year.
For this season, SkiCo adds another new cam—not a Roundshot, but one of decent optical quality—that will be pointed at a snow stake. The plot site is in the vicinity of the Elk Camp restaurant, and viewers will be able to activate a light switch in order to track snow totals as they mount overnight.
Turning on a webcam to check snow accumulation at 2 a.m.? That’s our kind of obsessive.