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Aspen Snowmass Skiing & Snowboarding Resort Guide

Aspen Snowmass has many draws; celebrities have second, or third, homes here, ski and snowboard bums come for the snow, and visitors come for this combination of luxury and deep powder. Aspen is one of the most well known Colorado ski and snowboard destinations in the world for these among many other reasons, including its long and storied ski history. With four separate ski and snowboard areas, there is an amazing selection of terrain, for movie stars and powder hounds alike. In total, Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands make up over 5,500 acres of skiable terrain. Amongst all of this terrain is some of the best skiing and snowboarding in Colorado.The town of Aspen is a destination in itself for many who prefer to sample the upscale shopping and dining rather than spend their time on the slopes.
The variety of terrain is enough to keep skiers and snowboarders of any ability busy for days, making Aspen Snowmass a great destination for longer trips. It’s location in the Roaring Fork Valley, about three and a half hours from Denver, keeps away the crowds that often plague other Colorado ski and snowboard areas.

Mountain Overview

Aspen Mountain:
Aspen Mountain’s eight lifts rise straight out of the town of Aspen. These chairlifts and one gondola serve intermediate and advanced terrain only, with lots of great glades to explore. The ski area is rather narrow from side to side, with most of the best terrain located on the sides of the ridges, like the steep glades off of the Ridge of Bell under the gondola. Farther out on the peripheries, skiers and snowboarders can find powder stashes left long after snowstorms. Check out the terrain off of Gentleman's Ridge and Traynor’s Ridge. At 675 skiable acres Aspen Mountain is quite small, only a fifth of the size of Snowmass.

With over 150 miles of trails and 4,400' vertical, Snowmass claims “you can spend your entire trip skiing and riding its terrain without covering the same ground twice.” The huge mountain has some of the best beginner skiing and snowboarding in Colorado, as well as some of the best powder terrain in Aspen. The entire lower mountain is dedicated to beginners and intermediates. This is awesome for those skiers and snowboarders who are just learning, but still want to explore. The Powerline Glades are widely spaced, and a nice option for intermediates looking to venture off piste and get a taste of powder riding. Up on the High Alpine and Cirque lifts there are plenty of options and powder stashes for advanced and expert skiers and snowboarders to explore. Powder lasts the longest far to the skier’s right of the mountain in the Burnt Mountain Glades.

Buttermilk’s 470 acres make it the smallest of the Aspen ski and snowboard areas, however, it is a great area for beginners, and has some of the best terrain parks in the world. The West Buttermilk Express chair has great learning terrain that is sparsely crowded. Meanwhile the terrain parks are some of the biggest and best in Colorado. Each year in late January Buttermilk’s terrain parks play host to the X Games slopestyle and halfpipe events. There are also plenty of smaller features for those skiers and snowboarders that are not ready to send it like Tom Wallisch and Sage Kotsenburg.

Aspen Highlands:
While there is beginner and intermediate terrain at Aspen Highlands, the ski and snowboard area is known for steep and deep expert terrain. The infamous Highlands Bowl sits atop the the ski area, offering pitches as steep as 48 degrees in the huge alpine bowl. After a free snowcat ride a short ways up, skiers and snowboarder can hike the additional 780 vertical to the top of the bowl. The hike takes anywhere from 10 to 60 minutes depending on fitness level. At the 12,392 foot summit, skiers and snowboarders can catch views of the Maroon Bells peaks, while contemplating which line to descend. Highlands Bowl is an Aspen right of passage, and a can’t miss for advanced skiers and snowboarders. The steep trees of Loge Peak and Deep Temerity lifts offer more options without hiking, and for lower visibility conditions.

Mountain Stats & Aspen Snowmass Trail Maps

Aspen Mountian 
Top Elevation11,212'Beginner Terrain0%
Vertical Drop3,267'Intermediate Terrain48%
Skiable Acres675Advanced Terrain26%
Average Annual Snowfall300"Expert Terrain26%
Total Lifts8  
Snowmass Mountian

 Top Elevation12,510'  Beginner Terrain 5%
 Vertical Drop 4,406' Intermediate Terrain 48%
 Skiable Acres 3,332 Advanced Terrain 17%
 Average Annual Snowfall 300" Expert Terrain 30%
 Total Lifts 20  
Buttermilk Trail Map


 Top Elevation 9.900'Beginner Terrain  35%
 Vertical Drop 2,030' Intermediate Terrain 39%
 Skiable Acres 470 Advanced Terrain 21%
 Average Annual Snowfall 300" Expert Terrain 5%
 Total Lifts 8  

Aspen Highlands
 Top Elevation 12,392' Beginner Terrain18% 
 Vertical Drop 3,635' Intermediate Terrain 30%
 Skiable Acres 1,040 Advanced Terrain 16%
 Average Annual Snowfall 300" Expert Terrain 36%
 Total Lifts 5  

Travel Information & Directions

While it may be farther from Denver, Aspen Snowmass is actually one of the most accessible ski and snowboard destinations thanks to the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport. Three major airlines fly directly into the Aspen Airport from nine major cities. Driving from Denver to Aspen takes about four hours in the winter, depending on conditions.
Travel Resources:

Aspen travel Overview
Aspen Airport

Lodging Information

There are many lodging options in the town of Aspen and the surrounding Roaring Fork Valley. These range from condos to luxury homes. If the upscale lodging in town is too expensive, budget-conscious skiers and snowboarders can stay in Carbondale or Basalt, about 40 and 30 minutes down-valley.
Aspen Lodging Overview
Carbondale Lodging Overview

Our Favorite Snowboards For Aspen Snowmass
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Local Food Picks

Each of the four ski areas in Aspen have their own selection of restaurants and cafes to keep hungry skiers and snowboarders fueled up for long days on the slopes. Like the rest of Aspen, options range from low-key to five star. Belly Up is a small music venue, but draws some huge artists, names like Nas and Deadmua5. The Whitehouse Tavern is another favorite for it’s american cuisine, and great burgers. The Ajax Tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain can get crazy crowded, but that’s for a good reason, it’s a great place for apres ski drinks and snacks.
Aspen Snowmass Dining:
Aspen Dining
Belly Up
The Whitehouse Tavern
Ajax Tavern

Our Favorite Skis For Aspen Snowmass
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Where to Find Lift tickets to Aspen Snowmass?

Aspen’s luxury and expansive terrain do come at a cost, lift tickets are among the most expensive in Colorado. Discount lift tickets are available online, buying multiple day tickets also helps save some money. Youth and seniors receive discounts, too.
Aspen Snowmass Lift Tickets

Aspen Snowmass Weather Information

The four ski areas of Aspen Snowmass receive between 300” and 350” of annual snowfall. This makes for plenty of powder days throughout the season. Colorado is a great ski and snowboard destination because of the combination of snowfall and plenty of sunshine. Conditions can change quick however, especially high in the alpine terrain of Aspen Highlands and Snowmass.
Aspen Weather Resources

Aspen Snowmass Ski Report
Aspen Snow Forecast

Whether you’re bumping shoulders with celebrities or shredding powder in Highlands Bowl, Aspen is an awesome ski and snowboard experience. Far enough away from Denver, but accessible by air, there aren’t the crowds of Vail or breckenridge. Combine this with the huge variety of terrain and Aspen Snowmass is a great ski and snowboard destination, with something for everyone.

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