The Ski Mountain
Somewhat less traveled than the other Aspen resorts, Aspen Highlands is coined “the local’s favorite.” Praised for its extreme in-bounds terrain and expert ski patrol, skiers come here seeking a thrill. The terrain is naturally divided; beginner runs near the base, intermediate terrain at mid-mountain, and most expert trails are close to the summit.
The Mountain Experience
Because Highlands does not have a base village, it offers more of a wilderness vibe. Those who visit Highlands are there to enjoy some serious skiing, not go to the bars or take in the scenery. You’ll likely meet other dedicated skiers and locals who are passionate about finding powder and making the first chair.
Aspen Highlands Ski Terrain
• Advanced: Of the four Aspen mountains, Aspen Highlands is the go-to place for athletic advanced skiing. Most skiers come here solely for Highlands Bowl, a 700-foot hike from top of Loge Peak lift. Highlands Bowl is avalanche controlled but ungroomed. If you’re not in the mood to hike, snow cats will deliver you to the top, but most locals believe you must “earn your turns” by hiking. All the trails in the Steeplechase area are great for moguls and tree skiing.
Current Snow Conditions
• Intermediate: Most of Highland’s intermediate trails are located near the top of the Cloud Nine Lift. They are fairly short runs but are full of wide, rolling hills. For a scenic run, take trails Broadway to Hayden and then connect with Wine Ridge.
• Beginner: Only 18 percent of the terrain is designated for beginners, which is why many novice skiers skip Aspen Highlands. All beginner trails are near the base and are accessible via the Exhibition lift. If you are learning to ski, stick to Apple Strudel and Park Avenue trails.
• Terrain Park: Aspen Highlands does not have a terrain park but nearby Buttermilk Mountain boasts one of the best terrain parks in Colorado.
Ski Aspen Highlands with friends who are as experienced as you. Because the mountain has some of the best in-bounds expert skiing in the area, you’ll be disappointed if you spend the day at the base – no matter how much you like your ski companions. Highlands’ snow also is best early in the day. Since it requires a hike to ski the bowls, go in the morning before your legs are tired.
On the Aspen Highlands mountain is Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, a full-service European restaurant. Cloud Nine is open for lunch and dinner but is most enjoyed in the evening after a long day of skiing. Merry-Go-Round is an organic on-mountain restaurant with a full-service bar. Stop here for a quick lunch or an end-of-the-day beer. But the best night life is found in the nearby town of Aspen. Many happy hour and après specials are available until the dinner rush starts around 6 pm. Visit 39 Degrees bar in the Sky Hotel. Adjacent to the bar is a pool and hot tub that is also open to the public. That makes it a popular hang-out for young adults.
Nearest Ski Town
A vacation haven for the rich and famous, with a quaint and authentic Western feel.
Lodging is very limited at Highlands so it’s best to stay in Aspen, which is only 5 minutes away and connected by a free shuttle. The only hotel located at Highlands is The Ritz Carlton Club. Use the Ski Lodging Deals box above and right to find Aspen’s best Lodging choices and deals.
Skiing With Kids
This is not your best option, unless your kids are already expert skiers. If your kids are learning, take them to Snowmass or Buttermilk, where they’ll have plenty of ski-school options and far more beginner runs. Aspen Highlands offers kids group ski lessons (no snowboarding) but requires at the least intermediate level skiers. Half-day lessons are not available.
Lift Tickets and Season Pass Cost*
2 Day Lift Tickets (pre-purchase online): Adult $174-$202; Child $104-$132; Senior $156-$184 (Purchase Now) Season Pass: Adult 1,599-$1,959; Child $559; Senior $1,179-$1,699 Other Passes: Flex (non holiday) Pass = Adults $879-$1,019 Special Deals: • Passes good on all 4 Aspen mountains • Seniors 70+ season pass $419 *prices reflect our best effort to gather from resort published information.
By Amanda Markert