All ski towns are unique in their own respective ways, although we can probably think of many reasons as to why Aspen is unique. One characteristic that sets it apart — is it’s location.
Aspen is located in the Sawatch Range and Elk Mountains corner of the Rockies and as result provides four of the best resort mountains for any type of skiing you could imagine. The Power of Four includes; Aspen (or Ajax) Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Each mountain contributes to more than 13,300′ vertical rise, with 40 lifts (including gondolas) that help move more than 57,200 skiers per hour. Although they are within 20 minutes of each other, each mountain has it’s own set of unique characteristics that attracts all different types, levels and styles of skiers and snowboarders. Let’s take a closer look:
Aspen or “Ajax” Mountain
Located above the town of Aspen, “Ajax” has become notorious for it’s advanced and expert skiing terrain and the vast collection of “on-mountain” hang outs. Be sure to catch the fresh tracks in the morning on the same steep terrain that has hosted World Cup races for years. After a quick refueling at the Sundeck at the top of Ajax for lunch be sure to explore a few tracks down some of the most legendary gladed terrain in the Valley. After a great day on the slopes, it’s time to kick your ski boots up and enjoy some truffle fries coupled with an adult beverage at Ajax Tavern; while working on your goggle tan.
Local favorites: Bingo Glades, Shoulder of the Bell and Ruthie’s Run
Aspen Highlands fosters the truest sense of skiing and riding with it’s varied terrain, laid back atmosphere and of course the Highlands Bowl. Expert skiers rush to the double black diamond opportunities within the bowl. After about a 30 minute hike to the top, you will look out to some of the most beautiful views in all of Colorado as you brace yourself for life altering powder run you are about to have. Not into hiking up and skiing expert terrain? No problem, be sure to stop in the Cloud 9 Alpine Bistro for a dining experience you will never forget and spend the rest of your afternoon exploring the wide open cruisers and entry-level moguls of mid-mountain.
Local favorites: Anything in the bowl, Soddbuster
Buttermilk is unique in it’s claim as a having dual personalities. On one hand, it offers fun, long wide open green and blue trails for the family looking to ski down some groomed trails together with great places to take a breath and observe the scenic views of Pyramid Peak. On the other hand, Buttermilk is host to one of the biggest, baddest terrain parks in the country. It has been host to the Winter Xgames for the past 13 years and will continue to take place here until 2019. Whether you want to just start to learn how to ski or work to be the next greatest skier in the Xgames, Buttermilk is the mountain for you.
Local favorites: Timber Doodle Glades, Lover’s Lane, Tiehack Trail
This question still remains to be answered, what can’t you find at snowmass? With over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, Snowmass is the largest lift-served descent in North America. In essence, you could spend your entire trip exploring snowmass and still leave feeling like there was more. It is the perfect mountain for families with a wide variety of skiing levels. It is home to the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center located at the base, for those families looking to get their children in lessons and while they are learning to link turns together, you can be out exploring all that Snowmass has to offer. Need a break from skiing? Be sure to stop at one of the four on mountain restaurants for lunch and drink in the view.
Local favorites: Roberto’s, Gowdy’s, Naked Lady, Longshot, Mick’s Gully