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Aspen airport

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Is the Aspen airport fairly reliable for arrivals?  Or are there better options?
post #2 of 15
It's in the mountains. It has mountain weather (variable and subject to change quickly). It's in a valley that some might call a box canyon. It's a oneway in oneway out flight pattern - you always land toward the closed end of the canyon and take off toward the open end. Most flight land and depart as scheduled. Very few crash. Vail's airport (Eagle County) is in a much bigger valley with a much longer runway but it's also subject to weather problems.
One night we were on a short jump in an Airbus from Denver to Vail (30 minutes) The pilot takes off and tells us what a beautiful night it is in Vail. We fly for about 15 minutes and he says the weather changed and we'll fly around in a holding pattern until it clears. About an hour later we've used all our fuel waiting on the unexpected snow storm to blow over and flew back to Denver and refueled. After refueling we flew straight back to Eagle County and it was so clear you could count every star in the sky.
As with all other mountain flying the answer is, "It depends".
Having said all that, I always prefer to fly into Aspen since it's just so darn convenient. I usually get in at least an extra half day on the mountain by landing in Aspen.
post #3 of 15
I have some friends who do an annual ski trip which has been to Aspen the last 3 years- they like everything about the place except the hit or miss aspect of the airport- they come from different parts of the country and seems that at least one (or more) of the guys has had a problem in or out every year. 

I was driving in to pick up one of my buddies this year and his flight got diverted to Grand Junction as did another guy who came in later, but one of the guys was able to land in between.  It was a perfectly clear day, but there was some wind high up.  The pilot told a guy on one of the diverted flights that they could have safely landed, but they were on a tight schedule and it wasn't clear weather they would be able to get back out.  They guy who made it in said it was pretty bumpy coming in.

IIRC, there were also some rescheduled flights on the way out, but everyone eventually made it.  Other years, there have been storms that have caused other diversions.
post #4 of 15
Steve I flew into ESA snowmass last year via EAGLE and CME. I took the advice of a fellow Cajun neighbor Ragin cajun. He has been to aspen several times and basically he told me if it is cloudy they will cancell the flights to aspen. As for eagle and CME very relaxing ride from Vail to snowmass cost you about 150 rt last year they may have went up this year. This is a very professional service and a beautiful ride and you don't have to worry about driving in the weather either  should you encounter a storm. I would very much recommend Eagle over aspen. Hope this helps !!!!     
post #5 of 15
I had an aborted landing in Aspen,... in August!  Mountain weather is crazy.  That being said, I know many people that prefer to fly into Eagle and drive the rest of the way to Aspen. 
post #6 of 15
Flying into Aspen is always a risk.Poor weather any time of year, especially the winter, gets you rerouted to Denver with a 4 hour bus ride. Eagle/Vail is the recommended airport(EGE).Car rentals or CME (Colorado Mountain Express) make the under 2 hour transfer comfortable. Cost into Aspen is also usually much higher. Flying into Denver is the cheapest option but the 4 hour ride to Aspen/Snowmass can be brutal.
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by steveturner View Post

It's in the mountains. It has mountain weather (variable and subject to change quickly). It's in a valley that some might call a box canyon. It's a oneway in oneway out flight pattern - you always land toward the closed end of the canyon and take off toward the open end. Most flight land and depart as scheduled. Very few crash. Vail's airport (Eagle County) is in a much bigger valley with a much longer runway but it's also subject to weather problems.
One night we were on a short jump in an Airbus from Denver to Vail (30 minutes) The pilot takes off and tells us what a beautiful night it is in Vail. We fly for about 15 minutes and he says the weather changed and we'll fly around in a holding pattern until it clears. About an hour later we've used all our fuel waiting on the unexpected snow storm to blow over and flew back to Denver and refueled. After refueling we flew straight back to Eagle County and it was so clear you could count every star in the sky.
As with all other mountain flying the answer is, "It depends".
Having said all that, I always prefer to fly into Aspen since it's just so darn convenient. I usually get in at least an extra half day on the mountain by landing in Aspen.

Aspen is not a box canyon. Aspen is not a one way "in" flight pattern. Commercial planes land from both sides. Aspen is a one way out but "out" is rarely if ever affected by weather.
post #8 of 15
Thanks Lloyd.

I knew flying out we had the choice of down the valley or over the hill but always to the north (i think). On my flights to Aspen, private or commercial, we've flown a straight in approach from the same direction so it's probably just the most likely approach.
post #9 of 15
the north (downvalley) is the only way out!
post #10 of 15
Here is an old thread with some of my opinion on flying into Aspen FWIW.

http://www.epicski.com/forum/thread/40848/esa-aspensnowmass-logistics-costs

I would only fly into EGE if it was a direct.  Connecting in Denver would be stupid IMHO.

Right now Frontier has some very nice fare's into ASE.  They fly the Bombardier Q-400, which is a really nice prop, almost as fast as a jet.
post #11 of 15
I was just looking at booking  a flight into aspen then onto J-hole. Never been to Aspen so I don't know much about the flights. Are you saying definitely don't bother with Aspen and go EGE instead?
post #12 of 15
My neighbor is a TSA at Aspen. She was talking about work the other day and mentioned morning flights almost never have problems. It is the afternoon flights that have the issues with weather.

I can tell you from living in the valley, morning weather is rarely unexpected or sudden. It is the afternoons and evenings that have the most unpredictable weather.
post #13 of 15
much thanks, should be fine then.  both in/out will be fine.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

My neighbor is a TSA at Aspen. She was talking about work the other day and mentioned morning flights almost never have problems. It is the afternoon flights that have the issues with weather.

I can tell you from living in the valley, morning weather is rarely unexpected or sudden. It is the afternoons and evenings that have the most unpredictable weather.
 

Thats good info I am flying in at 10 am so we should be good

Delta and united both have jet service and very reasonable !!! 
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Finndog View Post

I was just looking at booking  a flight into aspen then onto J-hole. Never been to Aspen so I don't know much about the flights. Are you saying definitely don't bother with Aspen and go EGE instead?

 No, just the opposite from me.  I would only fly into EGE if it was a direct flight from your gateway, ie. EWR.  By the time it takes you to make a connection to EGE via DEN and then shuttle or  rent and drive to Aspen, you could have just driven the whole way from DEN,  cheaper?



Quote:
Originally Posted by CR0SS View Post

My neighbor is a TSA at Aspen. She was talking about work the other day and mentioned morning flights almost never have problems. It is the afternoon flights that have the issues with weather.

I can tell you from living in the valley, morning weather is rarely unexpected or sudden. It is the afternoons and evenings that have the most unpredictable weather.

Especially in the summer with the thunderstorms.  Once the plane is in ASE, they usually don't have much trouble getting out.  But for early morning flights, the plane usually overnites in Aspen. If the flight the night before doesn't get in, the 7am flight out is going to either get cancelled or delayed.  So I always recommend a minimum of an hour connection time in Denver on the outbound!
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