Ikon Passholder’s Guide To Aspen Snowmass
Aspen Snowmass is home to four incredible mountains and countless storied experiences to be had. We’ve put together this special guide to give you a little direction.
Thankfully, there are no wrong answers to these questions. We know that when you visit Aspen Snowmass this winter, there is a high likelihood you’ll fall in love. And that you’ll be back.
Vertical: 4,406 feet
The Terrain: A little bit of everything. If Snowmass were a playlist, it would have all your favorites — steep and deep powder runs, smooth groomers, parks and pipes, cliffs, and everything in between.
The Introduction: Take the Elk Camp Gondola then the Elk Camp Chairlift. Stretch your legs on the beautiful cruisers Bear Bottom and Gunner’s View, then for an added challenge, descend some of the steeps off the High Alpine Lift.
The Vibe: Amiable. From family vacationers to jibbers to seasoned locals with an eye for the chutes, everyone is there to have fun … and it feels that way.
Aspen MountainLearn more
Vertical: 3,267 feet
The Terrain: An unusual but thrilling mix of short-and-steep glades and chutes, which can be combined with long, thigh-burning cruisers. The T2B’s at Aspen Mountain are legendary. There are no green runs.
The Introduction: Ride the Silver Queen Gondola up. Traverse to Bonnie’s for pancakes (they’re free from 10am–11am if there’s 8 or more inches of fresh powder), then Ajax Express back up and take Silver Dip to the Face of Bell for an impeccable glade run. Stretch it out on Spar Gulch to Kleenex Corner and Little Nell.
The Vibe: A true original. Local’s adore Aspen Mountain for its proximity to town and its hidden runs. Vacationers love it for its mystique. It just feels different.
Aspen HighlandsLearn more
Vertical: 3,635 feet
The Terrain: A series of ridges rising from the valley and topping out at 12,392 feet with the crown jewel of Aspen Snowmass — Highland Bowl. From there, perfectly pitched runs, glades and chutes descend in all directions. Secrets (and shrines) abound. Like Aspen Mountain, there are no green runs.
The Introduction: Exhibition Lift to Loge Peak. Warm up on Broadway, Hayden and Meadows, then return via Loge Peak. Above you is the double-black Highland Bowl which requires a brisk hike to access. Do you go for it? Or do you descend the Face of Oly to Lower Olympic? Either way, you ought to end up at Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro by late afternoon. You’ll see why.
The Vibe: The locals’ mountain and eternally Old School. Want to reach the best terrain? Hike in. Want the inside secret on the next run? Ask the townie riding the lift with you. Aspen Highlands still feels like skiing from yesteryear, but with the modern lift service and amenities to drink it all in quicker.
Vertical: 2,030 feet
The Terrain: If Aspen Highlands is narrow and hugs a ridge, Buttermilk spreads out and takes a deep breath. In fact, Buttermilk is defined by feeling spacious. There are plenty of beginner and intermediate cruisers in all sectors of the mountain, and some truly invigorating black diamond runs off the Tiehack lift. Buttermilk is the perfect place to start if you’re a new skier or rider looking to get comfortable on snow.
The Introduction: Take the Summit Express up and cruise down Sterner to Sterner Gulch and Eagle Hill. Take the Tiehack Express back up and check off each of the expert runs on skier’s right. Afterwards, if you fancy some Mongolian grill fare lunch at the Cliffhouse with its second-to-none view of Pyramid Peak is a must.
The Vibe: Mellow but for one week of the year. Buttermilk is a paradise for beginner skiers, especially kids who love the playful runs, the beginner terrain park and mid-afternoon breaks on Fort Frog. But in late January, Buttermilk transforms into the home of the X Games Aspen, where the world’s best freestyle snowsports athletes and live musicians take to the slopes.
8 Secrets of Aspen Snowmass
1. Take Advantage of Exclusive Lodging Deals
2. Use the Free Buses
3. Get Tracking with The Aspen Snowmass App
Learn more and download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play.
4. Be Prepared for Any Weather and Any Mountain
Rest easy by renting your gear from us at Four Mountain Sports. We’ll switch out your groomer-friendly skis for a pair of powder skis should a perfect storm roll in. And if you’d rather ski at another mountain on that powder day, we’ll even transfer your equipment to any of our four mountains and store it overnight for free so you don’t have to haul your gear to happy hour.
5. Find the Best Line
6. Earn Your Turns
7. Get First Tracks
Reserve in advance.
8. Après Like You Mean It
Happy hours are particularly popular at the Limelight Hotels in Aspen and Snowmass, at the Ajax Tavern at the base of the Silver Queen Gondola, and at the Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro midway up Aspen Highlands.
Make the Most of Your Weekend
There's more fun to be had on the mountain! Snowbiking, the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, tubing, ice skating, snowshoe naturalist tours, and snowcat dinners are just a small sample of the winter activities we have available.