Rejoice all ye who happen to find themselves in Aspen in times of great snowfall, for the gracious and benevolent snow gods do kindly say “Frolic in mine powder and be glad!” Let me tell you, you’re going to have a smile on your face you couldn’t wipe off with a jackhammer after a powder day in Aspen. Even though you can’t go wrong on any of the family of mountains, here’s five of my favorites to check out when the snow is deep and you’re ready to rock.
1-King of the Cruisers
If the thought of powder has you dreaming of floating through wooded glades and open cruisers, get your fix on Snowmass Mountain. Snowmass is massive and it’s rare to find a lift line on this overlooked beauty, mere minutes from downtown Aspen. Head over to the Elk Camp lift for an assortment of gorgeous blue cruisers, including the 3.5 mile Long Shot. Or play on the Big Burn and High Alpine lifts. Both guarantee long, satisfying runs that are free of crowds.
Often lost in Aspen’s mix is Buttermilk Mountain. Known primarily as an outpost for terrain park junkies, locals have known for years that Tiehack has some of the sweetest powder stashes and best trees. Sure, they’ll downplay Buttermilk as a beginner’s mountain but that’s because that means more powder for them! Give it a shot, you will NOT be disappointed.
If you need the extra padding of champagne powder to muster your courage, dig deep and go for the Highlands Bowl at Aspen Highlands. With a phalanx of double-black, off-piste runs, skilled skiers and boarders will delight in the steeps (some nearing a spine tingling 50 degrees). And don’t forget the extreme runs at the Hanging Valley Wall at Snowmass either.
4-Open it Up
The Ajax Express and Gent’s Ridge lifts on Aspen Mountain are perfect for pushing your limits on moderate to difficult runs. Ajax is better for doing laps as it is the faster of the two lifts but the blues, blacks and double blacks off of Gent’s Ridge let you amp up your skiing without the risk of getting in over your head.
5- Hero Bumps
Soft snow turns us all into bump run experts and Aspen has no shortage of trails to get your knees bouncing to the rhythm of the mountain. Ruthie’s lift on Aspen Mountain takes you to friendly bumps that will boost your ego, while Aspen Highlands has a wide variety of bump runs for those who want to commit to steep moguls.
Depending on my mood, I find myself drawn to Snowmass on days when I want to get tricky and Aspen Highlands when I’m ready to push my riding by scaring myself silly in the Highlands Bowl. Aspen truly has terrain for all tastes. If you are lucky enough to be in Aspen on a powder day, get ready to experience some of the best snow in world on Aspen’s slopes.
And ye gods, have fun out there!