Planning a Ski Vacation in Aspen

Are you planning a ski vacation to Aspen, Colorado? If so, you’re in for a treat. Aspen – or Snowmass, as it is sometimes called – is the only skiing resort in North America that includes four different epic mountains, all of which can be accessed from one central lift area. These four mountains – Aspen/Ajax, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass – provide four very different skiing experiences. Everyone, from the beginner to the skiing expert, will find a course for them in Aspen.

When you travel to Aspen, you’ll find that there’s one central service for lodging, lessons, lift tickets, and transportation for all four mountains. This makes it very easy to get to each mountain, so you’ll be skiing in no time after you arrive. The general season for skiing at Aspen is from late November until mid-April, when temperatures warm up and there’s less snow on the trails.

To determine which mountain in Aspen is right for you, consider the following information:

Aspen Mountain stands over 11,000 feet tall and features 76 different trails that cover almost 65 miles. Aspen features a very steep face that offers a great view of the village, although no beginners are allowed on Aspen. Because of their difficulty, all of its trails are reserved for those who have some skiing experience. If you fall into this category, you can spend the entire day on Aspen, exploring and skiing down various trails without ever returning to the bottom.

Next, Aspen Highlands features a varied terrain, including Highland Bowl – an expert course that’s seen as something of a trial for up-and-coming skiers. Aspen Highlands tends to be a bit less crowded than the other peaks, as it can take up to 45 minutes to reach the top due to heavy snow.

If you aren’t quite up to the challenge of Aspen or Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk’s gentle slopes provide a great place for learners and those who feel like they aren’t quite ready for the other mountains to practice. It still offers a great view of the surrounding areas, so you won’t miss out on the views just because you’re a beginner. Buttermilk is also home to the Winter X Games and features an Olympic-sized half-pipe for skiers and snowboarders to practice their skills. In addition to skiing, Buttermilk is also a popular place to hike.

Finally, Snowmass is the largest of the Aspen areas, taking up just over 3,100 acres. Snowmass is the most family-friendly of the four mountains and contains many beginner trails and children’s trails. However, the mountain is currently undergoing renovations, and new gondolas and lifts are being installed, so call before you go to be sure these areas are open.

When it comes to lessons, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk all offer both private and group lessons for children and teens up to age 17. All children under 12 must wear a helmet during lessons, and rental helmets are available at the lodge.

There are also a number of different lodging options to consider when booking your ski vacation. Aspen has enough lodgings to host over 14,000 guests. Some are within walking distance of everything you may want to see and do in Aspen. There are some smaller and cheaper options, as well as entire suites – if you’re willing to pay. While it is possible to plan an affordable trip to Aspen, don’t be surprised to find out that rates on everything from lodging to meals costs more than it does in other parts of the state.