Aspen is a ski resort located in the state of Colorado in the United States of America’s Rocky Mountains area. Aspen has grown to become one of the world’s most recognized and beloved ski resorts, including the four distinct sections of Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk between the two towns of Aspen and Snowmass. The municipal airport is located in the heart of Aspen, which eliminates the need for a shuttle to the resort.
While Aspen gets a lot of attention due to the wealthy and famous that come, the true lure is the vast amount of terrain accessible over the four mountains, the light dry Colorado powder, and the dependably wonderful weather. There is lots to do during ski vacations in Aspen, which is a bustling and fashionable resort. Excellent restaurants abound, and the apres ski culture in Aspen is more vibrant and friendly than in most European resorts.
Aspen/Snowmass is stylish and intimate, with lodges and apartments perched directly on the slopes. With an average property price of more than four million dollars, Aspen/Snowmass is one of the world’s most affluent ski resorts and a playground for the rich. Aspen/Snowmass is not your typical vacation location, and if you want it to be ritzy, you can have it-rubbing elbows with entertainment and sports superstars, many of whom own houses here-but it is also a fantastic ski region. While some visit Aspen/Snowmass only to see and be seen, skiers and ski bums in the know are flocking here in growing numbers to test their mettle on Highlands, which has some really demanding terrain and superb backcountry access.
Skiing in Aspen/Snowmass may be somewhat costly (if you stay at a five-star resort), but it can also be quite reasonable. If you’re on a budget, staying in Snowmass or Highlands or commuting from one of three more modest towns is less expensive. Additionally, there are periodic freebies such as gratis mountain excursions, complimentary shuttle service between the four summits, and complementary coffee and cookies at the mountain bases.
Aspen is a beautiful Victorian-era town that has restaurants, art galleries, shops, an opera theatre, two movie theaters, an ice rink, and a skateboard park.
Aspen info card
|Directions of Slopes||All|
Skiing in Aspen
Aspen Snowmass is composed of four distinct ski resorts located within a 15-kilometer radius of one another: Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk Mountain. Aspen Mountain towers above town, Snowmass is just a 20-minute drive away, and Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands are only a few clicks away. While the resorts are adjacent and covered by the same lift ticket, they are not linked save for a complimentary shuttle service between Aspen and the ski resorts.
The Aspen Snowmass resorts include a massive 2,146-hectare (5,303-acre) ski area with an astounding 329 defined routes, 43 lifts, five terrain parks, and multiple halfpipes. The trails provide a fair diversity of terrain for riders of all skill levels, including beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert. Aspen offers a diverse range of groomed routes, snow bowls, mogul fields, tree lines, and guarded backcountry skiing.
While it’s tempting for dedicated skiers and snowboarders to ignore Aspen due to its glossy image, rest assured that there are plenty of steeps and white knuckle routes to test experienced riders.
Aspen/Snowmass Beginner Skiing
Buttermilk is the classic beginner’s mountain because to its flat, rolling slopes. Max the Moose, Fort Frog, and Panda Peak are all favorites among children.
Newcomers visiting Aspen/Snowmass may be startled to hear that Aspen Mountain has no beginning terrain, while Aspen Highlands has just a few green lines. That is OK, since Snowmass and Buttermilk are a beginner’s paradise.
Buttermilk is the finest mountain for beginners: it is just three miles (5 kilometers) from Aspen and is the archetypal learner’s mountain, with easy, rolling slopes. The mountain is divided into three distinct sections: the Main Buttermilk, the Tiehack, and the West Buttermilk.
Main Buttermilk is the heart of the path, with a variety of green and blue trails. Tiehack, situated off the east ridge, is an advanced region where intermediates go to conquer steeper slopes, bumps, and powder. However, be advised that the Tiehack chair is quite sluggish and lengthy; we suggest avoiding it on frigid days. The sloping topography of West Buttermilk is largely composed of simple green trails and is a favorite among first-timers. It’s also a favorite among hikers, snowshoers, and other uphill enthusiasts since it provides an excellent exercise at any time of day or night. At the peak, travelers are treated to spectacular views of Pyramid Peak, Highlands, Snowmass, Capitol Peak, Mt. Daly, and Mt. Sopris.
Max the Moose, Buttermilk’s friendly purple mascot, and Fort Frog, an adventure area with a Western-style fort and Native American Village where children may explore specifically designated pathways, are popular with children. Panda Peak, the learning hill at the foot of Buttermilk, is another kid draw, since it is the location of the children’s ski school’s first turns. Beginners are encouraged to participate in a full-fledged ski experience. Often, people begin in designated beginner-friendly regions and progress to increasingly difficult portions of the mountain as their confidence and skill grow.
Aspen/Snowmass Intermediate Skiing
Almost half of the terrain across all four mountain ski areas is intermediate-friendly, with outstanding cruising on Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Snowmass.
At Aspen Highlands, the greatest spot for intermediate skiers is towards the summit, where the Cloud Nine lift connects to trails such as Scarlett’s, Grand Prix, and Gunbarrel. The Golden Horn and Thunderbowl provide pleasant sailing.
The longest intermediate trail is just over five miles (8.5 kilometers) in length and is located in Snowmass, as is another unique offering: the ten-minute hike to Burnt Mountain, which features a backcountry experience for intermediates on Long Shot, a three-mile (5-kilometer) trail that winds through forests. Long groomed intermediate tracks provide good cruising, such as the “mile-wide” Big Burn.
Aspen/Snowmass Expert Skiing
Expert skiing in Aspen consists of moguls and steeps on Aspen Mountain, steep off-piste in Highlands Bowl, and Hanging Valley and Cirque in Snowmass. The expert skiing at Aspen/Snowmass is world-class.
Skiing Expertise at Aspen Mountain
For those looking for moguls and steep, deep couloirs, Aspen Mountain offers short, sharp, and quite steep double black diamond (and extremely difficult) chutes, including the famous “dump trails” such as Bear Paw, Short Snort, and Zaugg Dump, which were created by miners dumping spoil as they tunneled their way into the mountain. The dump trails are narrow, difficult, and steep, and will test even the most seasoned riders. Walsh’s is often regarded as the most difficult path on Aspen Mountain. Bell Mountain, which is a component of Aspen Mountain, offers exceptional mogul skiing options with its multitude of distinct faces, including Face of Bell, Shoulder of Bell, and Back of Bell. As they descend Ajax, skiers are also treated to stunning vistas of downtown Aspen.
Skiing Expertise in Aspen Highlands
Highlands is renowned for its exciting steeps, trees, and powder bowls that test and excite skilled skiers and riders. Between Steeplechase and the Y-Zones, Temerity is the pinnacle of tree riding. In Temerity, the Mushroom Chutes, Thermals, and South Castle Chute are difficult for the faint of heart and are certain to provide glory tales for even the most intrepid skiers and riders. The Olympic Bowl side of the mountain (referred to as Oly by locals) has the appropriately named Deception and No Name Chutes, which provide tough gladed skiing and riding. Highlands is a premier destination for large mountain freeskiing and freeride.
Highlands Bowl offers the steepest off-piste experience of any ski resort in the United States. Skiers and snowboarders have descended to Highlands in droves to sample the new terrain. With the development of Ozone, White Kitchen, and Be One in the early 2000’s, it became feasible to ski on 40 to 45 degree slopes from the bowl’s 12,392-foot (3,782 m) peak. After a blizzard, the bowl provides deep powder skiing and is accessible by a 20–60 minute trek from the top of the Loge Peak chair. The trek may be cut in half by taking the complimentary snowcat from Loge Meadow to the first entry gate. Snowcat service is available from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., weather permitting. More information is available on the board at the summit, which is accessible by both the Loge Peak and the new Deep Temerity lifts.
Dropping in from the peak is one possibility. The Down Y Zones, located 1,000 vertical feet (300 m) lower, have some of the sharpest terrain. There are plenty of alternative options between the Y Zones and the peak. You may enter from any point along the ridge to the left through four entry gates, but you MUST adhere to gate restrictions. Bear in mind that the steep and narrow chutes of Maroon Bowl—to the right of the ridge—are uncontrolled, and avalanches have claimed several lives in this region over the years.
Snowmass: Hanging Valley and Cirque
The Hanging Valley in Snowmass has been dubbed the closest thing to the wilderness without really leaving the resort. All types of terrain await skiers seeking thrills and spills, including steeps, glades, cornices, cliffs, and thick snow. On a powder day, skiers and riders await the ski patrol’s decision to lower the ropes and open the area. Due to the size of Snowmass, powder stashes may be discovered on the mountain days after a significant blizzard. The Hanging Valley, Burnt Mountain, and Cirque off-piste adventures are also suited for expert skiers and snowboarders.
The Cirque at Snowmass is renowned among experienced skiers and snowboarders. It is a world of steeps, cornices, chutes, and cliffs. According to some, Snowmass is the world’s most underrated adventure mountain. At 12,510 feet (3,815 meters) above sea level, the Cirque offers a spectacular view. Skiers may explore the massive Cirque Headwall or circumnavigate the area and descend the East Wall via the steep shoots. When the snow is thick, jump onto Rock Island and connect spins on or between the massive snow-covered stones that resemble enormous marshmallows.
Cliff jumpers will like Hanging Valley Wall, Baby Ruth-and Gowdy’s: this path has a massive cornice, a tiny choke in the middle, and a vast open powder field at the bottom. Not to be forgotten are AMF (some believe it stands for “adios, my friend”), Garrett Gulch, and Bearclaw, as well as the villagers’ hidden powder stash—Reidars’ trees.
Aspen/Snowmass Boarding & Freestyle
Although Aspen/Snowmass was a latecomer to snowboarding, it is today well-equipped with terrain parks and pipes.
Aspen/Snowmass, one of the last resorts in the United States to open to snowboarders, has become exceptionally boarder-friendly in recent years, making every effort to welcome and facilitate snowboarders’ experiences. All of the mountains have benches and repair tools. Snowboards are permitted on the gondola and all buses. Five terrain parks, two superpipes, and one minipipe are included.
Snowmass’ terrain park, in particular, stands out for its exceptional quality. The X-Games are held in Buttermilk, and even though the prospect of leaping off a jump the size of a three-story house gives you the willies, seeing the professionals do it is very spectacular.
Aspen Snowmass offers a variety of off-slope activities, such as ice skating, paragliding, hot air ballooning, day spas, and hot springs soaks. Snow shoeing and cross country skiing are two other on-snow sports. Aspen is also a shopaholic’s paradise, with designer apparel boutiques, gift stores, galleries, and an abundance of ski and snowboard businesses. You do not have to participate in organized activities to enjoy Aspen. People-watching on the streets or at restaurants is incredible, darling, and a kind of entertainment in and of itself.
Hotels & Lodging in Aspen
Aspen is a historic ski town with a diverse selection of lodging options to fit a range of budgets and interests. While you may undoubtedly spend a lot on lodging in this area, the fact is that there are many of affordable choices. Aspen’s lodging options include hotels, condominiums, motels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, and several vacation rentals.
Snowmass is home to a lively hamlet at the mountain’s base that has been thoughtfully developed such that about 95% of accommodation is easily ski in ski out. Snowmass accommodation is mostly comprised of hotels and condos. The alternative is to remain in the hamlet at the foot of Aspen Highlands, but there is nothing to do but ski or snowboard.