Skiing in Aspen

Skiing in Aspen

The ski-snobbery that Aspen was renowned for has relaxed since the ban on snowboarding Aspen Mountain was removed in 2001. Nowadays, skiers and snowboarders alike are free to roam across all four mountains. Highlands is a particular favourite of snowboarders, thanks to its challenging terrain and huge array of over 130 trails to choose from. While Buttermilk is more suited to the less experienced snowboarder and skier, it’s worth heading over there for a terrain park with very few flat sections that’s packed with tree lines and cliff drops.

For those who prefer to ski, Aspen has enough variety and trails to keep even the most confident of skiers on their toes. Buttermilk’s huge 3km long X-Park, where the Winter X Games are held, has built up something of a reputation for its difficulty thanks to its 150m long super-pipe. Beginners can work their way up to it by practicing on Buttermilk’s other parks; S3, Teaser, Uncle Chuck’s Glad or Jacob’s Ladder, which features three medium-sized jumps. The gentlest slopes can be found on Panda Hill.

Away from Buttermilk is where the real action happens. Double black diamond runs are something of a specialty in the area, and Aspen Mountain boasts the most. Highlands also has a reputation for extreme skiing. Though it has the most green runs of the whole area, daring skiers skip the easy stuff and come to conquer the death-defying Highland Bowl, the crème de la crème of Aspen’s attractions. Reachable by snow cat or by a 25 minute trek, it peaks at around 12,382 feet, with slopes of around 48 degrees at its most extreme angle. Safety is taken very seriously in the area, and only the most advanced skiers are advised to attempt it.

If chosen carefully, the Highlands mid-mountain is also where the most suitable runs for intermediates lie. Aspen mountain also has a few, but these tend to be a little trickier than on other mountains. Its blue runs such as Ruthie’s Chair, a fast double, are often said to be of black run difficulty. If that doesn’t put you off, the peak at the top of the Silver Queen gondola is a 3,267 foot vertical drop is a must-try.

There are plenty of cross-country options too. In fact, there are 65km of extraordinarily well-maintained trails should you fancy a hike across the spectacular terrain.