Exploring Aspen, Colorado: Hidden Gems
Just a quick jaunt west of town, and a quick ride on the Four Mountain Connector Bus are two of the four reasons Aspen is such a perfect destination for whatever level ski day you’re up for. Aspen is lucky to have three world-class ski mountains within the town limits (Snowmass, the fourth is just a few miles west), and all are serviced by the same lift ticket, so you can have a different ski adventure nearly every day of your Aspen ski vacation. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk Mountain are both part of the power of 4- each with very different terrain its own unique vibe and personality. Here’s a little more on why these two mountains are so special.
Aspen HighlandsAspen Highlands was developed in 1958, and has been a locals’ favorite ever since. Known for its’ challenging expert terrain, as well as fun beginner and intermediate trails nestled within the lower lodgepole pine forest, Aspen Highlands has a ton of variety within its 100+ acres of on-piste skiing. One of the most notable aspects of “The Highlands” (as locals fondly call it) is the vast, breathtaking 360 degree vistas of the famous Maroon Bells: the striking side by side fourteeners that constitute one of the most well-recognized scenes in Colorado. This view is one of the hallmarks of the mountain, which is best known for the challenging terrain above timberline, skiable from the mountain’s summit. (Photo courtesy AspenSnowmass.com)
Another spectacular highlight of Aspen Highlands: the epic Highlands Bowl, which constitutes an on-mountain backcountry experience with a hike to its summit at 12,392 feet. In 2005, Highlands added the Deep Temerity lift at the run-out of the Highlands Bowl, expanding the area to have some of the most exhilarating lift-access big-mountain terrain in the US. The perfect formula of steeps, cruisers and hikeable terrain, all within a manageably sized mountain, makes Aspen Highlands a lively choice to satisfy any skier’s adventure. In addition to some of the best skiing in Aspen, Highlands boasts one of the coolest on-mountain dining experiences in the Valley. Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, in the spirit of charming European mountain chalets and refuggios, is a perfect place to take off your ski boots and cozy up to a hearty lunch of fondue, raclette and schnitzel, paired with a perfect lager, Weisen or wine. On Thursday evenings, enjoy a snowcat-ride to Cloud Nine for an exquisite evening on-mountain dining experience.
Buttermilk MountainJust down the hill from Aspen Highlands is charming, old-school Buttermilk Mountain. Comprised of 3 different mountains- Tiehack, Buttermilk and West Buttermilk, this ski area is beloved for 50 years its mellow, rolling trails that are perfect for families of varying levels and beginners who want to spread out over lots of gentle terrain. Buttermilk is a perfect choice if you need to slow down, enjoy the scenery and rest those legs a bit while letting the kids horse around in the kid-friendly Panda Pipe and S3 Terrain Park.
Though Buttermilk is beloved for its milder family-friendly terrain, it is best recognized in the last decade as the host mountain of the ESPN Winter X Games- an event that has become synonymous with the best in Winter Action Sports. Home to what snowboarders believe to be the “best pipe”, Buttermilk boasts a 22-foot superpipe, as well as a world-class Slopestyle course, that are the sites of the hallmark events of the Winter X Games,. Hosting men’s and women’s superpipe competitions under dramatic nighttime lighting, as well as Slopestyle and daredevil snowmobile competitions, the mountain has been shining as the host of the X Games since 2002, and will host the 13th edition once again in 2014.
December 14, 2012 - April 21, 2013
Base elevation: 8,040 ft
Summit elevation: 11,675 ft (top of Highland Bowl 12,392 ft.)
Vertical rise: 3,635 ft
Terrain: 1,028 acres/
Number of trails: 118
Miles/km of trails: 84 miles
Types of trails: easiest: 18%, more difficult: 30%, most difficult: 16%, expert: 36%
Lifts: 5: 3 high-speed quads, 2 triples
December 15, 2012 - April 7, 2013
Base elevation: 7,870 ft
Summit elevation: 9,900 ft
Vertical rise: 2,030 ft
Terrain: 470 acres
Number of trails: 44
Miles/km of trails: 21 miles
Longest run: 3 miles
Types of trails: easiest: 35%, more difficult: 39%, most difficult: 26%, expert: 0%
Parks and pipes: 2 terrain parks: Buttermilk Park has over 100 features including a 22-foot superpipe and an X Games slopestyle course. For the beginner: Panda Pipe and Ski & Snowboard Schools Park (S3 Park)
Lifts: 8: 3 high-speed quads, 1 double, 4 ski/snowboard school lifts
Book one of our luxury rooms or suites and enjoy downtown Aspen’s finest ski hotel experience. To learn more about our vacation specials, contact the Molly Gibson Lodge at 1-888-271-2304 today.