Skiing in Aspen

Aspen Mountain

Aspen Mountain, also frequently referred to as Ajax Mountain, is situated in the heart of Aspen. The 11,212 foot ski mountain rises beautifully above the town of Aspen, Colorado to create one of the most stunning vistas no matter where you stand in downtown Aspen. Since 1947, Aspen Mountain has been a favorite skiing destination for locals and visitors alike. There are 76 trails on Aspen Mountain, comprising 64 miles of some of the the best in-bounds ski terrain in Colorado. Roughly 48% of the terrain on Aspen Mountain is classified as more difficult, with about 26% categorized as most difficult, and another 26% deemed to be expert terrain. With 8 total lifts, including the aptly named Silver Queen Gondola located at the base, that run from 9:00 am – 3:30 pm. during the winter ski season, one can only expect to spend some spectacular days skiing and boarding down the steep slopes of Aspen Mountain.

Aspen Mountain's location cannot be more perfect, as it allows for those lucky ski enthusiasts residing in town to walk a short few blocks to the Silver Queen Gondola, enjoy a friendly conversation on the ride to the top, and start a fun-filled day of ripping down the glades and steeps on Aspen Mountain's famous ski terrain. After a morning of breathtaking views of the surrounding Elk Mountains as well as the Highlands Bowl over on Aspen Highlands Mountain, it might be time to enjoy lunch at one of the four Aspen Mountain restaurants, two of which are located on the mountain itself. At the top of Aspen Mountain, right next to the Silver Queen Gondola, is the Sundeck, a popular place for a warm bowl of gourmet soup, hearty stew or chili, a crisp and fresh salad, delectable burgers and sandwiches, and much more, served cafeteria style in a beautifully rustic mountain lodge. Bonnie's Restaurant is another eatery on Aspen Mountain, and is located near the top of Ruthie's lift. Bonnie's is famous for its excellent wine list, cheese platter, warm mulled wine, brats, and most of all, the apple strudel and excellent selection of other mouth-watering desserts. If skiing works up an  unrelenting craving for sweets, then Bonnie's Restaurant is the place to go to enjoy delicious gourmet desserts when skiing on Aspen Mountain. Ajax Tavern, located at the base of Aspen Mountain and part of the luxury Little Nell Hotel, is an excellent spot for lunch and for an après-ski cocktail and appetizer. The cuisine at Ajax Tavern adds a scrumptious twist to local Colorado ingredients. Montagna Restaurant inside of The Little Nell Hotel is the epitome of fine dining, with an elegant dining area, outstanding service, and an unparalleled level of gourmet cuisine.

There is no better way to spend a winter vacation in Aspen than to ski or snowboard on Aspen Mountain. After a morning of skiing exhilarating bumps and perfectly groomed steeps, enjoy a delicious lunch at Bonnie's, the Sundeck, Ajax Tavern, or Montagna. Round out a fantastic day of skiing by joining the après-ski scene at Ajax Tavern, indisputably the most popular après-ski joint in Aspen.

Aspen Highlands Mountain

Aspen Highlands Mountain, usually cited simply as Highlands, is considered the favorite mountain of Aspen locals, and has been regarded as such for fifty years. Highlands is home to the Highlands Bowl, the summit of which is located at 12,392 feet, and is only accessible by foot, or rather, by ski or snowboard boot. Skiing or boarding the Bowl is an ever-popular activity on Highlands, and some claim that the Bowl offers the best in-bounds big mountain powder skiing in the Roaring Fork Valley if not in all of North America. Ride up the Cloud Nine lift for stunning views of Pyramid Peak and the Maroon Bells, and while there, stop in at Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro for a European gourmet lunch of fondue, raclette, venison ragout, and so many more delicious menu items. For lunch served cafeteria style in a remodeled and renovated mountain lodge, head mid-mountain to the Merry-Go-Round, an on-mountain Highlands eatery popular for its pizza, burgers, piping hot stews, chili, and soups, salads, and more. The outdoor patio at the Merry-Go-Round is a great spot to watch people zipping down Gunbarrel, Deane's, Scarlett's, and Heather Bedlam. After a day of exploring the many bowls, steeps, and bumps of Highlands, kick back at Highlands Pizza Co., always a lively and enjoyable après-ski hangout.

Buttermilk Mountain

Buttermilk Mountain is considered the beginner's mountain for its gentler terrain, easier ski runs, and therefore, is perfect for those just learning to ski or snowboard. Though the terrain is comprised of gentle and open glades, Buttermilk has gained its fame and popularity as the home of the Winter X Games. Skiers and snowboarders of all levels, either of the Olympic athlete caliber or just an adventurous amateur, get the opportunity to rip down the 22-foot superpipe, and hopefully in the process, score some air and successfully pull off a few impressive tricks. As the expertly designed superpipe demonstrates, Buttermilk is also home to an excellent terrain park. In the Transworld Snowboarding Magazine Reader’s Poll, the Buttermilk terrain park was voted number one. For those freestyle skiers and boarders living or visiting Aspen, the two terrain parks at Buttermilk are sure to please. The Buttermilk terrain parks include over 100 challenging and fun features as well as an X Games slopestyle course, where aspiring athletes can train on the same park features used by the world's best freestyle skiers and snowboarders.

Buttermilk Mountain features 44 trails with 21 miles of terrain, with the longest trail being Homestead Road, mapped out on a gentle, relatively flat, and enjoyable 3 miles. About 35% of the trails on Buttermilk are categorized as easy, with the remainder of the mountain considered more difficult and most difficult. For beginners looking to tackle the more challenging Buttermilk terrain, a great way to build up the confidence and the technical skill to do so is by enrolling in either the Beginner's Magic program or by taking a private or group lesson. The instructors for the Aspen Snowmass Ski School are outstanding at imparting expert advice,  building skiing and boarding confidence, and teaching proper form. Buttermilk Mountain is truly one of the best mountains on which to learn how to ski or snowboard no matter your age.

Snowmass Mountain

Snowmass Mountain has it all – the most vertical ski resort rise in the United States, terrain parks, gentle flats, challenging bumps and steeps, miles and miles of terrain, easy access to backcountry skiing, highly-skilled ski and snowboard instructors, great on-mountain restaurants, stunning views, and more. Skiing and snowboarding on Snowmass Mountain allows for the chance to challenge oneself with more difficult terrain, and when a break is needed, moderate to easy terrain is available. It is a mountain where, because of the huge variety of terrain, the whole family can ski together and have a blast. When it is time for lunch, Snowmass Mountain has nine on-mountain restaurants from which to choose. All serving delicious cuisine that will surely supply skiers and boarders with the energy for a fun afternoon on the slopes, Snowmass Mountain restaurants include Sneaky's Tavern, Sam's Smokehouse, Up 4 Pizza, Two Creeks Cafe, Lynn Britt Cabin, Burlingame Cabin, Ullrhof, Gwyn's High Alpine, and Cafe Suzanne. Wherever you are on the mountain, you are sure to be near one of these excellent on-mountain restaurants, where you can always stop in for a quick break, a warm cup of coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, and a tasty snack.

There is so much to explore while skiing or snowboarding on Snowmass Mountain. With 3 terrain parks, freestyle skiers and snowboarders have the opportunity to practice new tricks on hundreds of different and challenging features at Snowmass Park, Makaha Park, and Lowdown Park. Snowmass Mountain's terrain parks also feature one superpipe with 22 foot walls. Snowmass Mountain has a total of 21 lifts servicing 147 miles of in-bounds terrain. Clearly, there is an endless amount of terrain to cover, so much so that an extension to a winter ski vacation in Aspen and Snowmass might just be necessary to enjoy all that Snowmass Mountain has to offer.

For additional information about skiing in Aspen, please call our concierges at (800) 862-7736 ext. 3515 or email them at concierge@aspensquarehotel.com.  Also, view our ski vacation packing list for great tips.