The best part about staying in Snowmass is the variety of mountains to ski and snowboard. With the four options, and all of them warranting multiple days on each, it can be hard to choose which ones to ski. We’ve made the choice a little easier with our 4-day ski plan for Aspen Snowmass.
This author’s favorite and the largest of the four, by far – Snowmass has more skiable acres than Aspen, Highlands and Buttermilk combined. Snowmass really has every type of terrain for every type of skier, which is why we love our location, sitting slopeside just above the Snowmass Mall. For beginners, there’s a handful of green runs and wide open space to practice those first turns. For experts, there’s countless double blacks, chutes, cliffs and terrain park features. Snowmass is one of the two, aside from Buttermilk, that has a terrain park. It regularly hosts amateur and professional contests and the team who builds it is one of the best in the country.
The classic. Sitting just about town, offering steep run galore. This mountain is a better fit for experts and intermediate skiers, since most of the runs are blues, blacks and double blacks. Much smaller than Snowmass, yet still plenty of terrain to keep you busy for an entire year (or 40 years, just ask the locals who ski it).
An expert skier’s favorite, Highlands is primarily blacks and double blacks. The Highlands Bowl is a famous hike up the ridge, with the steepest inbound terrain in the country. About a 30 – 60 minute hike, if you’re up for it, the Bowl is definitely a bucket list item. If you’d rather ski than hike, there’s tons of other double blacks, cliffs and chutes awaiting all around the mountain. Try to hit Highlands on a powder day and you’ll be in for a treat.
Most know Buttermilk as the beginners mountain, as it lies a little lower than the others and lays a good bit flatter. For those new to skiing or snowboarding, you’ll find Buttermilk to your liking. Most runs are greens and blues, although there’s a few secret stashes for powder days. If you like to ride park, Buttermilk is one of the best in the country. Every year, athletes from around the world come to Buttermilk to compete in the X Games. Through the remainder of the year, the park is nearly a mile long and contains upwards of 100 features.
For beginners, we recommend starting at Buttermilk for 1-2 days, then moving on to Snowmass to hone your skills. There are a variety of lesson options available, and both mountains have plenty of terrain suitable for those brand new to the sport or trying to nail those perfect turns.
If you already have some days under your belt, we recommend Snowmass for 2-3 days and giving Aspen a try for the last day or two. You definitely wouldn’t get bored if you stayed at Snowmass for the whole 4 days, but exploring what the others have to offer is part of the adventure.
Starting off at Snowmass for 1-2 days, try hiking The Wall at the top of High Alpine. There are numerous gates, with double black terrain a quick hike away, or traverse hard skiers right after getting off High Alpine for easier access to expert terrain. Move on to Aspen for a day or two, the whole mountain is a playground for good skiers and the apres scene is hard to beat. For your final day, give Highlands a try and if the conditions call for it, hike The Bowl. There’s a cat that takes you 1/4 of the way, and from there you can either drop in or head straight to the top for some of the best views of the Rocky Mountains.