How to Ski Aspen Mountain on a Powder Day
What's the best plan for accessing the most powder stashes at Aspen Mountain? We asked someone who knows it well: pro skier Sierra Schlag.
Welcome to one of America’s oldest, most storied ski towns. And a powder day to boot; lucky you! Aspen Mountain has a perfect, sustained pitch on its 3,267 feet of vertical and its 673 acres actually ski a lot bigger than they sound. The wonderful thing about skiing Aspen is the ability to link multiple trails into one giant run from top to bottom. Like steeps? Aspen’s got ‘em. Trees? Aspen’s got those too. Open flowy terrain? Yup, you’ll find it at Aspen. Want sneaky gullies and hidden treasures? Well, it’s all here. And all that can be skied in one single giant run. Local powder hound Sierra Schlag has a love affair with this mountain and has some tips.
Load yourself and some pals onto the Silver Queen Gondola and start your powder day by scoping all the terrain from above. Ski a quick burner like Silver Bell to Blondies or Pussyfoot and load the Ajax Express. You can tattoo Bell Mountain’s Sunrise/Sunset a few times to warm up your legs and then it’s time to really get going.
Head over to F.I.S.to ski any and all of the Dumps. Many locals think these runs hold the best turns on a powder day. The runs are steep, the aspen trees are well-spaced, and the terrain undulates for turns so memorable they’ll get you through stupid, hot summers with ease. If you shade skier’s left you can catch F.I.S. again, but the tradeoff is a shorter run. For longer runs and added turns you can wiggle down Zaugg, Perry’s, or Last Dollar until you’re dropped onto Spar Gulch.
Take the Gondola back to the top and massage your legs. It’s time to link a bunch of goodness together. Head over to Walsh’s, Hyrups, or Kristi’s for some cold snow and untracked depths. “My favorite run to ski after a storm is definitely Kristi's,” Schlag says. “It’s somehow always bottomless and perfectly steep with the best fall line. Plus, it's just long enough to get your powder fix without making those thighs burn.” But keep going, there’s more. These three runs empty to a cat track you’ll have to skate out. You can take Gent’s Ridge Lift back up to ski those again, but it’s a local favorite to continue down the ridge to Jackpot or Bingo Glades. Now, rest your legs and catch your breath on the Gondola. Yes, there’s even more.
Head back to Bell Mountain to wriggle through the powder on the Ridge. Stop at the rollover just before the Shoulder of Bell to enjoy the view of downtown Aspen. Once your heart is filled to the brim, drop into the Shoulder and pick your poison from meadows to glades to hidden goods. Poke around and find what suits you. When you’re filtered onto Spar Gulch, head past Kleenex Corner and past Upper Little Nell and find your way onto Tower Ten Road. Take anything that looks like it’s holding creamy turns. Franklin Dump is a great way to test your powder quads at the end of the day with some steep final wiggles. Lazy 8 has some mellower turns for your powder day curtain call. For an encore, head back up the 1A Lift and explore Corkscrew or Super 8. And then head to après for vittles and fun-tivities. You are in Aspen after all!
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