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Skiing through knee-deep powder at Buttermilk

How to Ski Buttermilk on a Powder Day

What's Buttermilk like after a big snowfall? Just ask a local and they'll point to many of the best stashes are. One such local is former Aspen Skiing Company CEO, Mike Kaplan, who is particularly fond of Buttermilk on a powder day.
Skiing through knee-deep powder at Buttermilk
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Buttermilk is a family-friendly, cozy mountain, like the snowy version of home movies wrapped in Grandma’s blanket. Sniff, sniff; smell that? Those are heartwarming memories and you’re about to make some at Buttermilk. It has a vibe that is far less powder-panicked on a storm day. That peaceful easy feeling translates to a dreamy powder day on 435 skiable acres across 44 different trails. Buttermilk may be smaller than the other Aspen Snowmass mountains, but it holds a plethora of powder skiing wonders. Take it from former Aspen Skiing Company CEO Mike Kaplan, who has been skiing here for three decades. Suffice to say, when it comes to skiing Buttermilk in search of creamy wiggles, he knows what he’s talking about.

Get Started ...

Kaplan suggests avoiding any congestion at the base of Buttermilk by parking in the lot next to the Tiehack Lift. When riding up the chair, use your birds-eye view to plan your lines. "You can connect different pitches that aren't obvious. Drop into Sterner's first,” Kaplan says. “There is a groomed part on skier's left, but I like to ski the right side to the first bench and cut over into Timber Doodle Glade where there is a nice fall-line section. When you come back onto Sterner, keep angling right and you’ll see a couple of gullies, like mini-halfpipes, leading down to the runout.”
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Next ...

Maybe you’re thinking you should check out a different area, but Kaplan suggests staying on Tiehack. Remember, you never leave powder to find powder. "Hit Tiehack Trail, staying to skier's left where it’s never groomed and seldom skied,” Kaplan says. “Two-thirds of the way down, cut far right to the trees between Javelin and Tiehack Trail.” Waiting for you in the runout is flowy, playful terrain and plenty of untracked snow. Feel free to scream Yippeeeee! here... don’t ration that passion, pals. Take another ride up the Tiehack Lift and ski Racer’s Edge; it’s a Kaplan classic: “I'll hang along the fence line to skier's right because it’s such a nice view. There is a little stash you can get to about two-thirds of the way down on skier's right. Look for the herringbone tracks where patrollers have stepped up the little rise to access more powder. As you drop back into Racer’s Edge, stay left where it’s super steep and the grooming remains untouched for days.” Smiles are sure to follow. You’re welcome.
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Then ...

Take the lift back up and start venturing toward the rest of Buttermilk. Kaplan loves the trees between Friedl's and Savio. And Lover’s Lane will make your heart beat faster than your first kiss. Plus, the runout above it holds stellar wiggles on the sides of what Ski School calls “The Toilet Bowl.” Place bathroom humor joke here. From there, Kaplan recommends taking a right onto Homestead Road. “Just before you reach the lift, there are some cuts to the left that drop down into Lover's Lane. They're short, black diamond, but don't really have a name,” Kaplan explains as only a local can. “Then savor the cruisers on Midway Avenue, and ski some of the cross course and banked turns to the bottom. You can pretty much hit any of the tree areas between runs on upper Buttermilk, but watch out for the kids trails. No adults allowed!”
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... Finally

At this point your legs may feel like a fondue smoothie, but if you can muster a bit more Kaplan has the best way to finish out this beautiful day. Head back up the lift and ski over to West Buttermilk to wiggle on the Ridge. “Before it hits Homestead Road, traverse into the trees on skier's left,” Kaplan says. “They take you back into Teaser. Stay right as the gully widens and that will take you onto Little Teaser, which is a black diamond with some fun pitches.” After a day like that Kaplan does the only thing left to do, the only thing any true powder skier must do: he heads to the Cliffhouse and scarfs bowl-fulls of Mongolian barbecue. Reminisce about the best day ever and enjoy some tasty vittles. You’ve earned it!
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