Aspen Snowmass is home to four incredible mountains and countless storied experiences to be had. If you’re overwhelmed trying to decide where to go and what to do, you’re not alone.

Do you go to Snowmass where you can find fresh tracks all day across 3,339 skiable acres? Or maybe the steep-and-deep glades of Aspen Mountain, the high-altitude descent of Highland Bowl, or the long and uncrowded cruisers of Buttermilk are calling you instead?

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.

To help that happen faster, we’ve put together this special guide to give you a little direction.

The Mountains

The Mountains

Snowmass

Snowmass from Above
Snowmass from Above

Skiable Acres: 3,339

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 Mountain

Aspen Mountains from Above
Aspen Mountains from Above

Skiable Acres: 675

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 Highlands

Aspen Highlands from Above
Aspen Highlands from Above

Skiable Acres: 1,040

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.

Buttermilk

Buttermilk from Above
Buttermilk from Above

Skiable Acres: 470

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

5 Secrets of Aspen Snowmass

1.   Take Advantage of Exclusive Lodging Deals for Passholders 

Lodging deals at Aspen Snowmass
Lodging deals at Aspen Snowmass

Mountain lodging can be expensive come peak winter season, but you don’t have to resort to crashing on your friend’s couch to make that ski trip happen. Aspen Snowmass offers great lodging deals for their loyal passholders (that means you!) that make it possible to snag first chair, be the first one to the top of Highland Bowl, and have guilt-free apres cocktails a short walk from your hotel. Learn more.

2.  Use the free buses

Getting Around Aspen Snowmass: RFTA buses
Getting Around Aspen Snowmass: RFTA buses

Fast, timely and efficient, our local network of Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) buses — known around town as “Rafta” — is the best way to get to the slopes. If you are visiting for the day or staying down valley, the easiest parking is the Brush Creek Lot off Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road. From there, easy bus transfer take you to any of the four mountains. There’s even a direct shuttle from Brush Creek Lot straight to Aspen Highlands, so you’ll never waste time circling the parking lot on a powder day. Learn more about navigating the valley with our Getting Around & Parking Guide.

3.  Get Tracking with the Aspen Snowmass App

Aspen Snowmass App
Aspen Snowmass App

From the moment you clip in to the moment you clip out, the Aspen Snowmass App is the perfect companion to stay on top of your mountain experience. Track your stats, tally your laps in Highland Bowl, and rack up skier days. Claim big rewards with Aspen Snowmass, like a $15 food and beverage credit, $10 to use towards rentals or retail at any Four Mountain Sports location, and even 25% off lessons.

Learn more and download the app from the Apple Store or Google Play.

4. Be Prepared For Any Weather and Any Mountain

Four Mountain Sports at Aspen Snowmass
Four Mountain Sports at Aspen Snowmass

Not sure what the weather is going to do? That makes it pretty difficult to choose which skis to pack, right?

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

Guided Experiences at Aspen Snowmass
Guided Experiences at Aspen Snowmass

Get the inside scoop on the best powder stashes, best terrain, and secret shrines (if you know, you know) with a lesson from our Pros to really make the most of your time on the mountain. Choose your own adventure with a one-on-one personal guru during a Guided Experience. If you’re looking to meet fellow outdoor enthusiasts while you learn together, a Locals Clinic might be more your style. Either route you go, you’ll return home a better skier or rider (with a few hidden gems up your sleeve to share with friends on your next trip to aspen).

6.  Earn Your Turns

Uphill skiing at Aspen Snowmass
Uphill skiing at Aspen Snowmass

Few mountain resorts in North America come close to Aspen Snowmass and its love of uphilling. In fact, it is one of the few resorts to allow uphill skiing in-bounds during hours of operation. All four mountains have designated uphilling routes, but Buttermilk has become the epicenter for local uphillers. Throughout the year on select Fridays, the mountain hosts the Uphill Breakfast Club at 8:45am at Cliffhouse. There are also Full Moon Dinners at the Cliffhouse, where you can ski (or hike) uphill for dinner under a full moon. If you’re new to uphilling and want to give it a try, you can rent all the gear you need from Four Mountain Sports.

7.   Get First Tracks

First Tracks at Aspen Snowmass
First Tracks at Aspen Snowmass

Everybody loves freshies! Our on-mountain staff loves them so much — and wanted to share them so badly — that they created a unique program to get guests on the mountain with them for a single run before the lifts open. First Tracks has become a perennial favorite, and best of all, its complimentary.

Reserve in advance.

8.  Après Like You Mean It

Après Ski at Aspen Snowmass is quite fun
Après Ski at Aspen Snowmass is quite fun

Spend any time at Aspen Snowmass and you’ll see that we’re serious: serious about après-ski that is. We treat the camaraderie and joy of socializing after a day skiing and riding as equally important to the action on the slopes.

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

Make the Most of Your Weekend

Now that you’ve got a game-plan in place for your Ikon Pass weekend at Aspen Snowmass, here are a few extras to make it even sweeter.