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Skiers climbing up Highland Bowl

How to Ski a Powder Day at Aspen Highlands

Want to know the insider's perspective on powder at Aspen Highlands? Let local skier Colter Hinchliffe show you the way.
Skiers climbing up Highland Bowl
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Powder skiing is a delicacy best served in abundance. And there may not be a platter quite as plentiful as Highlands anywhere on Earth. 118 runs are spread across 1,010 acres and 3,638 vertical feet of delicious terrain. Plus, the views atop Highlands Peak (topping out at 12,392 feet) will make the ooey-gooey center of your ski heart feel like warm, fresh-baked cookies. Stretch those hammies, eat a hearty breakfast, caffeinate and hydrate—you’re about to enjoy the greatest ski day of your life. Here are some tricks to enjoying everything Highlands has to offer, including some insight from long-time local powder skiing sommelier Colter Hinchliffe.

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On a powder day, most locals and longtime Highlands skiers will head straight for the terrain on the Deep Temerity lift, like the oohs and aaahs of Steeplechase. Understandably so, as the runs are amazing, the snow is deep, and heading there right away puts you in a great position for the opening of the famed Highland Bowl. But, there are plenty of overlooked areas on the lower mountain that will hold stellar, untracked snow while the crowds are lured elsewhere. Runs like Golden Horn Woods, P-Chutes, Epicure, and Upper and Lower Stein, all accessed via the Thunderbowl chairlift, have steeps and deeps and playful, at times technical terrain that will be sure to deliver the goods you’re searching for. Plus, they’re right at the base of Highlands. Why not ski what you see? (And the intermediate runs off the Exhibition Lift are a wonderful snowy warm-up if you need a mellower entry into your day.)
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Next ...

Olympic Bowl is sorely overlooked on most days, and very much so on powder days. It can often get blasted by wind and sun, but when the Bowl is on hold and Deep Temerity is filled with skiers Olympic can be a fantastic escape. There are plenty of trees to refrigerate, protect, and hold snow just next to main gut runs like No Name and Deception. Poke around in the small gullies and check out mellower terrain like Jug’s Hill for passed-by powder.
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Then ...

After you’ve chomped on the powdery appetizers of the lower mountain, head to the terrain off the Deep Temerity lift for something a bit more filling. The glades are perfect for frothy tree skiing and hold a few secluded open meadows, which seem to protect idyllic turns far into the afternoon. You can explore Canopy Cruiser on a powder day and very often it feels as if you’re the only person skiing those trees. Steeplechase also seems to house secretive runs to boogie down, especially on the lower portion. Don’t be afraid to get into the woods and poke around. Truly a dream state ski adventure.
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... Finally

And now for the main course; Highland Bowl. It’s a special thing to only hike 800 vertical feet to access a 2,500-foot ski descent. Hinchliffe says “it’s the best fall line in the whole wide world.” And he should know, he’s skied all over the globe (and it’s even rumored he once wiggled on the dang moon itself). Colter digs the Y’s on those extra deep days (less hiking), but he loves the G’s on the skier’s right side of the Bowl. “I cross over from one G to the next following the trees down the fall line,” Colter describes. “It can be truly deep over there. I mean, the depth chart only hits a certain point before it’s bottomless, but I’ve hit bottomless-plus over there.” Let us all ski bottomless-plus and be lucky enough for seconds, and thirds, and fourths, and…
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... Also

It should be noted that if the Bowl is open, completely disregard everything previously mentioned and head straight there. It’s powder day…. if you’re skiing, you chose right, no matter where you are—but the Bowl is the place to be. Enjoy, pals!
A view of Highland Bowl on a powder morning

Everything You Should Know About Highland Bowl

Get to know the landmark feature of Aspen Highlands on a deeper level with our dedicated guide to Highland Bowl.

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