The Ski Mountain
Aspen Mountain is where the ski legacy that spun into Aspen’s four elegant, world-renowned resorts all began. With its pristine powder and steep trails, it remains a top destination for competitive skiers. Tucked away in the Elk Mountains, Aspen boasts short lines and expert terrain, with an extensive network of glades and double-black diamonds. Then the town’s rich history and high-class accommodations wait for you at day’s end, making it perfect for a couple’s getaway.
The Mountain Experience
Aspen prides itself on offering the best and most elegant ski experience and service. Knowledgeable instructors will accommodate any level of skier and the lift operators can direct you to the best runs for your mood or level of skiing experience. Because it’s a little more remote, located about 220 miles from Denver, you’ll be able to avoid the weekend crowds. Aspen lift tickets also are valid at any of its three sister mountains: Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Buttermilk. If one mountain isn’t doing it for you, you can take the free shuttle and explore the others. Buttermilk and Snowmass offer beginner and intermediate terrain, great for learning to ski.
• Advanced: If you’re looking for a challenge, Aspen’s 3,276 ft. vertical rise and 675 acres will deliver it – roughly half the mountain is designated as black-diamond and double-black diamond zones. If budget isn’t a concern and you want to make the first tracks through the mountain’s untamed backcountry, check out Aspen’s Powder Tours – a full day of snow cat skiing on the back side of the mountain.
Current Snow Conditions
• Intermediate: Almost half of Aspen’s terrain is geared toward intermediate skiers. Any of the mountain’s eight lifts will deliver you to an abundance of challenging, but nicely groomed slopes.
• Beginner: There are no beginner trails on the map but don’t let that deter you. Take the Silver Queen Gondola to the summit; then cruise down Spar Gulch and onto Kleenex Corner trail. They’re labeled intermediate runs but are designated “slow skiing zones,” and are wide and gentle enough to accommodate most beginners.
• Terrain Park: There is no designated park at Aspen but your lift ticket also gets you into its sister mountain, Buttermilk, which offers the best in pipes, rails, and jumps. Buttermilk hosts the ESPN Winter X Games, earning its reputation as one of the best park mountains in the country. It’s connected to Aspen by a free shuttle that takes less than 20 minutes from door-to-door.
Plan ahead. Unless you’re a local, the resort is too far from Denver to make a one-day skiing experience worthwhile. The resort is well aware of that and provides great discounts on lift tickets for those who are coming for several days and are willing to book in advance. The best-priced lodging also goes fast – though Aspen advertises “last minute deals,” that often means big houses that rent for more as much as $2,000 per night. Lodging and amenities can be particularly expensive in peak season, so avoid holiday weeks if you can.
The town of Aspen is world-renowned for its nightlife. Award winning restaurants and nightclubs line the downtown. BB’s Kitchen is a local favorite for American cuisine with a patio overlooking the resort. Live music at the mountain’s Sundeck lodge and several art museums offer guests a taste of Aspen culture.
A vacation haven for the rich and famous, with a quaint and authentic Western feel.
Aspen has five-star lodging near the base and throughout the town. Although there isn’t any ski-in/ski-out accommodations, many condos and hotels are located a few blocks from the Gondola. Use the Ski Lodging Deals box above and right to find Aspen’s best Lodging choices and deals.
Skiing with Kids
There’s no beginner Ski School but kids can take group or private lessons. Parents who want the whole Aspen experience can shuttle the kids to Snowmass, a 20-minute bus-ride away, which offers several ski school and family ski programs.
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