Boasting four distinct mountains, Aspen is sure to please all skiers and riders. Each of the ski areas are located next to each other, nestled in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Snowmass is the biggest of Aspen’s 4 mountains, and probably the most popular, in terms of crowds. It features terrain for everyone and endless lifts to access it all.
It has the most on-mountain restaurants and a bunch more in the large base village. The resort boasts 95% ski-in/ski-out amenities, with a modern village that was built up the side of the mountain.
Buttermilk is the beginners’ mountain, with plenty to play on for the more advanced. It really makes the most of its 470 acres, with 3 express lifts, solid grooming and several terrain parks.
It’s the only Aspen resort boasting free upfront parking, and a small-town local feel. Most of the runs are blue cruisers, with some decent but flattish trees mixed in. Powder often remains untouched in the glades, far longer than at the other resorts.
Village-wise, there is one on-mountain restaurant, two at the base and some lodging. It’s the smallest village out of the four.
Aspen Highlands is the locals’ choice with lots of double blacks and its signature Highland Bowl.
From atop the main chair, the bowl hike takes anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on your pace. It’s a killer hike that leads you straight up the spine for around 700 vertical. The bowl skiing is excellent with a small traverse at the end, suitable for snowboards without unstrapping.
There are a few places to eat on the mountain, but only two at the base in the small Highlands Village.
Known locally as Ajax, Aspen Mountain is prime for expert skiers and riders. Advanced runs can be found top to bottom, with everything from steeps and bumps, to trees and groomers.
The mountain runs right into the classic ski town of Aspen, making it one of the most picturesque around. The Silver Queen Gondola departs from town to the summit, allowing an easy, weather free ride all the way up.
There are several spots to eat on the mountain, with a large lodge at the top (with reasonably priced food for Aspen). The town itself offers a range of first class fare, mixed around its historic district.
Aspen’s reputation as a pricey town holds true, but deals can be found if you plan ahead. The resort sells a four pack before the beginning of each season at a steep discount. For the cheapest lodging stay in Carbondale, thirty miles away. After the slopes catch happy hour specials all over town.
Free parking can be found for any of the resorts, but it’s a shuttle ride in from the lot, except at Buttermilk where you can drive right up. All the paid street parking in Aspen is free on Sundays.