Everything You Need to Know About Aspen Skiing

Aspen Highlands Village

Are you ready for an Aspen skiing adventure? Ever since the mid-20th century, Aspen has been considered one of the best ski destinations in the United States. It has everything a serious skier could want. There’s natural beauty, perfect skiing conditions, and a wide variety of different trails to choose from.

Aspen itself is also a very charming place with lots of things to see and do. Its unique culture and laid-back vibe make it worth a visit in its own right. But of course, it’s the skiing that we’re interested in.

What Do You Need to Know About Aspen?

Man doing skiing tricks in Aspen

Aspen is a beautiful, small town in Colorado that was once a booming silver mining town in the 19th century. The silver market’s collapse caused a downturn in its fortune for several decades. That is until its excellent skiing conditions turned it into a popular tourist destination.

Aspen is still a small town, but its successful tourism industry can make it feel like a big city. As a result, you get the best of both worlds when you come here. Celebrities like Hunter S. Thompson and John Denver made it their home away from home, and for a good reason. Along with being one of the world’s best skiing destinations, it’s also well known for its gorgeous landscapes, rich history, and thriving art scene.

What Makes Aspen Skiing So Great?

Cute little girl in skiing gear at Aspen

Simply put, the mountains surrounding Aspen were practically made for skiing. There are four mountains in total, and each of them offers a unique Aspen skiing experience. Regardless of your skill level, you can find something that’s right for you. It’s an excellent place to go skiing for the first time if you’ve never tried it before. Or you can find the rush you’re craving for if you’re an advanced skier looking for a challenge.

Of course, Aspen’s natural beauty lends itself well to this activity. It’s no secret that Colorado is a breathtakingly gorgeous state in general, and this is especially true for Aspen in the wintertime.

Where to Go Skiing in Aspen

There are four different mountains where you can go skiing in Aspen. They are Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain, and Aspen Highlands.

Snowmass

Three people skiing in snow mass at Aspen

With over 3,000 acres worth of skiing terrain, Snowmass is by far the largest of the four mountains in Aspen. As such, this mountain by itself offers some different Aspen skiing experiences. If you’re a beginner, you’ll find plenty of easy trails that can help you get used to going down the slopes. On the other hand, there are also trails that cater to more experienced skiers. There are 94 trails to choose from in all, so you can easily find one that’s right for you.

Furthermore, Snowmass is a good spot for beginners to learn how to ski in the first place. They have a ski and snowboard school available for skiers of all ages and skill levels. It’s an excellent place to start if you’d like to try this exhilarating activity.

Buttermilk

Gondola lifts in Aspen Buttermilk

When it comes to skiing, Buttermilk is widely considered to be the easiest and most laidback of the four mountains in the Aspen region. The slopes here are fairly gentle and uncrowded. This makes it a good place to go if you’d like to go skiing with the entire family. It’s also great if you’re just looking for a relaxed Aspen skiing experience.

Surprisingly enough, the Winter X Games frequently takes place on Buttermilk mountain. Those of you with an interest in winter sports will be happy to know you can ride down the same slopes as the pros. These events are usually hosted along with the live music as well. It’s something you should check out during your stay.

Aspen Mountain

Aspen Snowy Mountain

As you might expect, Aspen Mountain is the mountain that put Aspen on the map as a famous skiing town. Also known as Ajax Mountain, it is the smallest of the four mountains. There are only about 675 acres in total. Nonetheless, it still provides an incredible Aspen skiing experience with numerous trails that cater to intermediate and advanced skiers.

The mountain also hasn’t changed much since it was first opened for skiing in the 1950’s. As such, some would say it harkens back to a simpler time. You can find tributes to some of Aspen’s most famous citizens amongst its trees. It is also well-known for having hosted to World Cup finals in 2017.

Aspen Highlands

Aspen Snowy Highlands

Aspen Highlands is the least visited of the four Aspen skiing mountains. That’s because it’s developed a reputation as a spot for advanced skiers to test their skills. While there are more casual trails available, most people come here for the legendary Highland Bowl. This is considered to be one of the most intense ski runs in the States and should only be attempted by experienced skiers who are confident in their ability.

The Highland Bowl can only be reached by hiking or riding a snowcat. The hike itself can be rather demanding, and a person has to be in good physical conditioning to reach the top. But once you get there, you’ll be ready for a ski run you’re guaranteed never to forget.

Things to Know Before You Go

Don't start packing your bags just yet! There are still a few things you need to know about Aspen before you head out.

How to get there

Visiting Aspen is a fairly simple matter. The Aspen/Pitkin County Airport will do most of the work for you. It’s located just a few miles from downtown and is close to anywhere you want to go. Once you land, there are buses available that can take you to any hotel or resort in the area.

You can also get there by car if you plan on going on a road trip. You can get there from Denver by taking I-70 West. This trip should take about three and a half hours in total.

Where to stay

Easily the best place to stay if you plan to do some Aspen skiing is the Aspen Snowmass Resort. From there, you won’t have any trouble visiting all four mountains. Staying here can also help you save money. They offer various vacation packages that will allow you to receive discounts on your lodging, food, and lift tickets.

Hotel Jerome is another option. The hotel is well-known for its luxurious, ski lodge atmosphere with its spacious rooms and stone fireplaces. It also features a spa and a restaurant that can help you unwind after a long day on the slopes.

Aspen Snowy Mountain

Where to eat

Anyone planning to visit Aspen should check out Jimmy’s. The restaurant has long been considered an institution thanks to its amazing selection of wines and American cuisine. The White House Tavern is another great eating spot that’s well-known for their sandwich-based menu.

Finally, the Grey Lady is a great place to check out if you’re in the mood for seafood. They are also well-known for their wine selection and nautical ambiance.

How to get around

Again, it’s easy to forget that Aspen is a small town. It’s pretty easy to get anywhere you want to go on foot. In fact, a person could easily cross from one side of the town to the other in fifteen minutes if they were inclined to do so.

However, this isn’t reasonable for all of us. In this case, the easiest way to get around is by bus via the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. They can take you to many of Aspen’s major attractions free of charge. This is preferable to bringing your car because parking can get a little tricky in Aspen. You’ll also avoid driving in potentially hazardous conditions this way.

How to get around

Again, it’s easy to forget that Aspen is a small town. It’s pretty easy to get anywhere you want to go on foot. In fact, a person could easily cross from one side of the town to the other in fifteen minutes if they were inclined to do so.

However, this isn’t reasonable for all of us. In this case, the easiest way to get around is by bus via the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority. They can take you to many of Aspen’s major attractions free of charge. This is preferable to bringing your car because parking can get a little tricky in Aspen. You’ll also avoid driving in potentially hazardous conditions this way.

What Else is There to Do in Aspen?

Skiing is Aspen's greatest claim to fame, but there are many other things to see and do as well. No trip to Aspen is complete without a visit to some of these spots.

Check out the Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells at Aspen

The Maroon Bells are a pair of gorgeous mountain peaks with a peaceful lake sitting at their base. They are a photographer’s dream come true and one of Aspen’s most popular tourist attractions. They’ve been known to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors every year.

Ordinarily, the easiest way to get there would be to take a bus with the RFTA. Unfortunately, these close during the winter. Instead, you can take a snowmobile courtesy of T-Lazy 7 Ranch. The Maroon Bells can also be seen quite easily from the top of Aspen Highlands.

Visit the Wheeler Opera House

Wheeler Opera House at Aspen

The Wheeler Opera House has been the main center of entertainment in Aspen since the 1890s. The venue has hosted performances by many famous musicians and comedians over the years, and it continues to host many major events throughout the year. If you’re looking for entertainment in Aspen, then this is the place to go.

The building itself will also be of interest to anyone who enjoys architecture. It’s an incredibly beautiful venue that combines influences of Italianate style and Romanesque Revival.

Enjoy the nightlife

If you’re still looking for fun after a long day of hitting the slopes, you won’t be disappointed. Aspen has a nightlife scene that could rival those of much larger cities. You’ll find a great assortment of bars and clubs to choose from during your stay.

Belly Up Aspen, in particular, is a legendary venue that’s hosted many famous musicians in the past. It’s one of the best places to go for live music in Aspen. Or you could check out Ajax Tavern, which is located at the base of Aspen Mountain and is well-known for its truffle fries. Then, there’s Justice Snow’s. It can be found next to the Wheeler Opera House and is known for its chill atmosphere, excellent wine selection, and live music by local artists.

See the Aspen Art Museum

Aspen Art Museum during night

Anyone who loves art is sure to appreciate this. Aspen is known for its thriving art scene, and the Aspen Art Museum is the best place to experience it. From here, you can enjoy a wide range of paintings, sculptures, and various other visual art mediums. They also feature a great variety of exhibitions by talented artists throughout the year.

The Aspen Art Museum hosts guided tours every Wednesday and Saturday afternoon. They also have several different programs and workshops available for kids. This is a great idea if you’re looking for a place to spend the day with your family.

An Aspen Skiing Adventure Awaits

Person skiing at Aspen

These are a few of the things you can expect when you head to Aspen. Again, it's a small town that's used to heavy tourism. With a little common sense, you shouldn't have any trouble getting by.

In the end, Aspen is simply one of the best skiing spots in the United States. It's something that needs to be on any dedicated skier's bucket list. And if you've never been skiing but would like to learn, this is among the best places to do it. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today, and you'll soon be making memories that will last a lifetime.

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