A First-Timer’s Guide to Aspen Ski Resort

A First-Timer’s Guide to Aspen Ski Resort

Welcome to Aspen Snowmass, a winter paradise that promises fresh snow under brilliant skies. But with four distinct mountains – Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass – each with its own personality, where do you begin? Covered by a single lift ticket, these mountains offer more than 5,500 acres of skiable terrain, so choosing might not be easy. Yet, every choice is the right one. Let's delve into the unique characteristics of Aspen highlands ski resort to help you tailor your skiing experience.

Where History Meets Sophistication

Also known as Ajax, Aspen Mountain stands as the founding pillar of this ski haven. Born in 1946 in a post-war town, the mountain was designed by members of the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division and Europe's finest mountaineers. A mecca for national and international ski races in the '50s and '60s, Aspen Mountain remains a classic for intermediate skiers. Two prime attractions are the west-side runs accessible by the 1A (Shadow Mountain) and Ruthie's chairlifts. The Silver Queen Gondola connects you directly from downtown Aspen to the mountain's summit. Though it spreads over a compact 675 acres, Aspen Mountain offers a broad variety of terrain for a fulfilling day on the slopes.

Aspen Highlands is best known for the Highland Bowl, a double-black-diamond territory accessible via a hike to the summit. However, limiting the mountain to the Bowl does it an injustice. It offers everything from steep fall lines in Steeplechase to the powder stashes of Deep Temerity. It's the laid-back local's mountain where you can get lost in secret chutes and steep tree runs or relish the après-ski champagne parties at Cloud Nine. Aspen Highlands effortlessly combines adventure with a casual vibe, making it a must-visit.


Celebrated as both a beginners' haven and the host for the Winter X Games, Buttermilk is a family favorite. The mountain features a range of terrain, from the gentle slopes of Panda Peak for kids to the advanced terrains of the X Games park. On powder days, locals flock to Tiehack, the mountain's east side, which has its own lift and parking lot. Buttermilk manages to be an overlooked gem despite offering something for everyone, from newbies to seasoned freeriders. 

If you're planning on skiing in colder conditions, a Nike ski mask is a practical choice. It keeps your face warm and wicks away moisture, making your time on the slopes more comfortable.


Snowmass lives up to its name with a sprawling 3,300 acres of skiable terrain and the highest vertical rise of 4,400 feet in the country. Located a mere 15-minute drive from Aspen, Snowmass offers a family-friendly experience with limitless possibilities. From the steep and powder-filled Hanging Valley, there's a unique adventure awaiting every type of skier. The world-renowned ski and snowboard school encourages families to learn from the best, while everyone can gather for a delightful lunch at Elk Camp.

Of course, no visit to Aspen would be complete without considering the aspen weather. The climate plays a crucial role in shaping your skiing experience. With an average of 300 days of sunshine and ample snowfall during the winter season, Aspen provides a unique blend of bluebird skies and powdery slopes. Monitoring the weather can also help you decide which mountain is best for your skiing or snowboarding style on any given day. Keep an eye out for the latest forecasts and you're sure to make the most out of your time in this winter wonderland.


Aspen Snowmass isn't just a destination; it's an experience woven together by four unique mountains. Each offers its own distinct flavor of adventure, terrain, and ambiance. Whether you're a first-timer looking for gentle slopes, an advanced skier craving double-black-diamond thrills, or a family with varying skill levels, Aspen Snowmass has a mountain tailored just for you. 

This comprehensive guide of Aspen highlands ski resort is your first step to understanding the richness of what Aspen Snowmass has to offer. Now, all that's left is for you to hit the slopes and discover it for yourself.

For those willing to extend their travel radius, Colorado Springs is another destination to consider. Just a few hours' drive from Aspen, the city offers its own set of attractions, from natural wonders to cultural landmarks. When it comes to lodging, Colorado Springs has a variety of hotels that deliver both comfort and convenience. These hotels and bed and breakfasts cater to the needs of all travelers, whether visiting for leisure or business, a stay in Colorado Springs hotels can be an excellent add-on to your trip. 

Lastly, if Aspen Snowmass feels too far out, you might consider taking your ski adventure to Heavenly Ski Resort. Located on the California-Nevada border, Heavenly offers a different vibe but equally thrilling slopes and magnificent lake views.

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