Ski & Snowboard

 

Aspen

ASPEN SNOWMASS

Ski & Snowboard Resort Review

Aspen Snowmass , CO USA is a fantastic all round resort with first class facilities and service.

Aspen Snowmass Skiing and Snowboarding Terrain

Aspen Snowmass consists of four mountain resorts; Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands. Snowmass is 12 miles from Aspen Mountain with Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands about half way in-between.

Each of the four mountain areas has its own unique feel and appeal; terrain ranges from steep fast mogul runs, spacious deep powder bowls and chutes, endless groomed trails and gentle beginner areas.

Aspen ski powder

Hank de Vre, Aspen Mountain powder

Aspen Mountain Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Aspen Mountain is both an advanced and intermediate mountain catering to mogul lovers and those who just love to cruise on corduroy unbroken trails.

From the base area catch the Silver Queen Gondola directly to the summit where the steeper mogul runs begin at the tops of the ridges meeting up with groomed wide trails in the gullies leading back down to the base area.

Last season the Silver Queen Gondola was completely overhauled after twenty years in service, it now has 147 six passenger roomy cabins with floor to ceiling windows enabling passengers to pick their powder lines down on the ride up!

Snowmass Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Snowmass has terrain suitable for all skiing and snowboarding levels with wide stretched tree lined trails, heavily treed terrain tremendous on powder days, steep moguls and easy beginner trails.

Advanced skiers and snowboarders go to High Alpine for challenging chutes, tight trees and secret powder stashes.

After a big snowfall turn left at the top of the Sheer Bliss Chairlift to experience The Cirque, a double black diamond gully littered with rocks, trees and drops. The Sheer Bliss chairlift was replaced by a detachable quad chairlift for the 2009 winter season that’s 155 feet longer than the old chairlift giving advanced skiers and snowboarders even more access to the steep Big Burn treed terrain.

For big moguls go to Sam’s Knob to Promenade, Fast Draw and Wildcat runs. The Sheer Bliss chairlift has recently been replaced by a new detachable quad chairlift that is 155 feet longer than the old chairlift giving advanced skiers and snowboarders even more access to the steep Big Burn treed terrain.

Intermediates can happily access the entire Snowmass mountain on groomed trails with every lift having intermediate trails leading down from it. The Elk Camp terrain is terrific it’s steep enough to be challenging but great fun also; the Long Shot trail leading back down to the lowest point at Snowmass, Two Creeks feels as though it will never end.

The Big Burn trails are all intermediate even the trees off piste are well spaced out enough for some introductory tree powder turns.

Beginners who don’t want to travel to Buttermilk start off on Fanny Hill and once confidence grows head to the top of Sam’s Knob for the long descent back down the winding Max Park and Scooper trails. The Village Express Chairlift opened in the 2006/2007 winter season replacing the Fanny Hill chairlift enabling the trip to Sam’s Knob to be done in just 9 ½ minutes.

The Treehouse Kid's Adventure Center located adjacent to Fanny Hill is the new home for the children’s Ski and Snowboard School. It caters for children aged just 8 weeks right through to teenagers looking for action packed powder lessons.

Snowmass has three terrain parks; one for each ability level and a 500 foot long superpipe, a 250 foot long intermediate halfpipe and a 150 foot beginner halfpipe.

Hike Aspen Highlands Bowl

Daniel Bayer, Aspen Highlands Bowl

Buttermilk Ski and Snowboard Terrain

Buttermilk’s main claim to fame is being the longstanding home of the ESPN Winter X Games.

Buttermilk has five awesome terrain parks, one superpipe and one beginner terrain park. The two mile long ‘Crazy T’rain Park’ has more than 50 rails, jumps, tabletops, hits and spines! The new 22 feet walled and 500 feet long Olympic superpipe is one of only three in North America.

Buttermilk has a lot more to offer than just the terrain parks, it is an exceptional mountain to learn to ski or snowboard on. It has wide open gentle tree lined trails running from top to bottom and some fun long intermediate trails which are always immaculately groomed.

Aspen Highlands Ski and Snowboard Terrain

The Highlands Bowl at Aspen Highlands has the most hardcore back country style terrain of all four mountains. A hike or a short cat ride is necessary to access the Highlands Bowl but it is well worth it with for the steep chutes and open powder field leading down into heavily treed terrain.

The new and very welcome addition of the Deep Temerity Chairlift in the 2006/2007 winter season opened up 270 acres of additional terrain enabling you to ski or snowboard further down the Bowl and not have to hike out making the turnaround time a lot faster.

On the upper areas of the mountain intermediate wide groomed trails run along the top if the ridge lines while double black diamond mogul covered runs head straight down; the Steeplechase Chutes are particularly challenging.

For a long enjoyable cruise down to the base from the top of the Loge Peak Chairlift turn right down the Broadway trail and onto Hayden which links with Wine Ridge eventually ending up on the Golden Horn home trail.

The gentle beginner trails are accessed from the Exhibition Chairlift.

First Tracks Skiing and Snowboarding at Aspen Snowmass

Ski or snowboard for free with the Aspen Snowmass Ski and Snowboard School instructors every morning before the lifts open at Aspen Mountain and every Wednesday and Friday mornings at Snowmass. It is on a first come first served basis so get up early if you want your tracks to be the first!

Aspen Snowmass Powder Tours

Go powder skiing or snowboarding on the backside of Aspen Mountain; two experienced guides lead small groups of 12 people on the thrill of a lifetime through uncrowded deep light powder. The tours last all day with drinks, snacks and a gourmet lunch provided.

Other Activities at Aspen Snowmass

Other activities at Aspen Snowmass include snow shoeing, paintball, snowcat rides, ice skating, paragliding, hot air balloon rides and cross country skiing. Glenwood Hot Springs are well worth a visit they have a shallow therapy pool, a diving pool and a children’s pool.

In town catch a movie, learn some new cooking skills at the Aspen Cooking School or go to Aspen Club and Spa for massage and beauty treatments.

Aspen Snowmass Shopping

Aspen is a shopper’s paradise! There are ski and snowboard shops, outdoor sports shops and designer fashion shops like Channel and Gucci. Souvenir and gift shops line the streets along with art galleries, photography stores, jewellers and book shops. There are large grocery markets and liquor stores also.

Aspen Snowmass Four Mountain Sports stores are located at the base of all four mountains. They cater for all ski and snowboard rental requirements and offer a free overnight intermountain ski and snowboard transfer saving you the hassle of carrying them home each night.

Aspen Snowmass Restaurants

Aspen Snowmass has more than 100 restaurants featuring cuisine from French to Indian, Italian, Mexican, Swiss, Continental, Asian, American and fast food.

The local’s favourite in Aspen is the Steak Pit serving enormous tasty steaks and seafood dishes. Texas Red’s BBQ has the best ribs and sausages in town and is open for lunch and dinner daily.

Campo de Fiori serves gourmet pizzas and pastas complemented by good Italian wines.

The French restaurant Cache Cache has game fowl, fresh fish, local meats and an extensive wine list.

For a late night delicious snack go to 39 Degrees in the Sky Hotel.

In Snowmass Butch’s Lobster Bar specialises in Maine lobster and East Coast seafood. The Margarita Grill has tasty Mexican cuisine and icy cold margaritas and sangrias.

The Village Steakhouse has every cut of Angus beef you could imagine, a huge salad bar and good children’s menu.

On the mountain you can quite literally live the high life at Aspen Highlands by dining at Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro at 10,740 feet. It is a cosy ski hut offering full service dinners with snowcat transportation there and back.

On Aspen Mountain the world class Sundeck summit restaurant should not be missed; sit eat and gaze across the world before gliding down the Spar Gulch trail.

Aspen Snowmass Nightlife

The nightlife at Aspen Snowmass is fantastic; there are so many buzzing bars full of international visitors from around the globe it can be really hard to choose where to go next.

The deck at Ajax Tavern located slope side in Aspen is the place for après ski drinks and people watching. After dark move on for a beer at Aspen’s oldest bar the Red Onion before hitting the Lava Lounge Aspen’s most popular dance bar.

In Snowmass the best après ski spot is the Cirque Bar & Grill where you meet new friends every night. Zane’s has happy hour every night and is the only bar in Snowmass that televises the Sunday football games live.

In the evenings buses operate from Snowmass to Aspen until 2.30am costing $3 per trip.

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Your Aspen Snowmass Ski & Snowboard Resort Reviews

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Tom Collis, GA. My family and I have vacationed in Aspen for the last few years. My wife and I enjoy the groomed wide trails while the kids 'go off' through the trees and tackle the bumps. Buttermilk is often where we start the day on the gentler slopes then move back to Aspen for lunch at Sundeck then spend the afternoon on the more challenging trails. I believe we will keep returning to Aspen for many years, not only is it top class in every aspect, the ease of arrival and departure at the airport is extremely efficient.

Emily Barrett, NY. Aspen Snowmass ROCKS! Where else has 4 top class mountains to chose from everyday on 1 pass, a thumping park and pipe, off piste boarding through the trees and a nightlife that is just as important as the boarding!!! My favorite mountain is Snowmass after a big fall, it never seems to be too crowded resulting in more fresh powder for me. I always like to hire a car and drive to each mountain each day instead of relying on the shuttle buses.

Katie Barker, New Zealand. Aspen Snowmass was my last stop on a whirlwind tour of Colorado this winter. I really enjoyed the skiing, however I has no idea that each mountain was so far away from each other, Snowmass is about 12 miles from Aspen! The shuttles are really effective in that you can get to and from each resort pretty quickly without much of a wait but you can get a bit chilly waiting! Overall the skiing wasn't as challenging as what I expected, the only real challenge was the bowl and the hike in Aspen Highlands. It still beats hands down anything in new Zealand though!!! The bars go off, I had some great nights on the dance floor at Lava Lounge after having dinner at Jimmy's and sampling perhaps a little too much tequila!!!

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Statistics 

Buttermilk resort
Elevation
 
ft
m
summit
9,900
3,018
Base
7,870
2,399
Average Snowfall
200 inches
Lifts
9
Trails - view map
44
435 acres
Terrain %
advanced
26
intermediate
39
beginner
35
Halfpipe
1 super
Terrain Park
5
Resort Website
 Snowmass
Elevation
 
ft
m
summit
12,510
3,813
Base
8,104
2,473
Average Snowfall
300 inches
Lifts
24
Trails - view map
91
3,128 acres
Terrain %
advanced
44
intermediate
50
beginner
6
Halfpipe
2, 1 super pipe
Terrain Park
3
 Aspen Highlands
Elevation
 
ft
m
summit
11,675
3,559
Base
8,040
2,451
Average Snowfall
300 inches
Lifts
5
Trails - view map
125
970 acres
Terrain %
advanced
52
intermediate
30
beginner
18
Halfpipe
no
Terrain Park
no
 Aspen Mountain
Elevation
 
ft
m
summit
11,212
3,418
Base
7,945
2,422
Average Snowfall
300 inches
Lifts
8
Trails -view map
76
673 acres
Terrain %
advanced
52
intermediate
48
beginner
0
Halfpipe
no
Terrain Park
no