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Aspen 1/8 - 1/12

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I'm lucky enough to tag along on my wife's business trip to Aspen next week. While she works, I ski!

I've read some of the other recent Aspen threads, but was looking for some specific tips for a first timer skiing alone. Also, if anyone will be there that time, would love to meet up for a few runs.

We're staying near town at the Aspen Meadows Wednesday through Sunday, then I spend Sunday night in Snowmass solo since I couldn't get a flight back Sunday. (Good deal on Hotwire for a nice hotel.).

I was planning on skiing some combo of Ajax and Highlands Thursday through Saturday, then Snowmass on Sunday. I hope to hike Highlands, but I'll have to see how I'm doing with altitude. I didn't have any problems at Winter Park, but who knows. Any must-do runs? Particular lifts or areas to explore? Places to avoid? Are any of the mountains better in certain kinds of weather? Powder day advice? Any après recommendations?

Thanks all, getting psyched!
post #2 of 19
To add one more question to your thread, which mountain would you ski at on a low visibility day?

I'm taking my 10 year old to aspen Tuesday thru Saturday(Jan 7-11), and trying to decide between staying in aspen or at snowmass. Since I'll mostly be skiing with him, and nightlife isn't an issue, I was thinking snowmass to stay by the mountain we'll be on most. But the forecast is for some snow and cloudy for at least some of our stay, and I am wondering if Ajax is better since as I recall from my one trip you can be in the trees more vs Snowmass.
Thanks,
Bob
post #3 of 19
Aspen Mt. Skis better in inclement weather. The Gondi is just so comfortable when it's cold and windy. Siebert's is a nice easy black run on the back of Bell. Ski the trees and keep traversing left, guaranteed soft turns.
I avoid Snowmass on windy days and prefer to hike the bowl first thing in the morning, when it's nice.
Tons of après places. I like Mezzaluna, Limelight and Sky Hotel.
All the high end restaurants have bar menus with great food @ decent prices and you can take your kid. La Hosaria is probably the most popular. I had an awesome Elk meatloaf at Ute City Grill for $16.

You guys will have a blast.
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks @shredhead. Note that the Aspen airport is still closed after a plane crash the other day.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKS View Post

Thanks @shredhead. Note that the Aspen airport is still closed after a plane crash the other day.

 

The approach into ASE is pretty unforgiving.   Airline pilots have to qualify to fly into ASE and practice the approach many times before they can be pilot in command.  Private planes and charters don't have that requirement.

 

http://abcnews.go.com/US/deadly-aspen-crash-left-devastating-scene-flames-smoke/story?id=21430704

post #6 of 19

ADKS - I need to know what you like to ski to give you suggestions.

 

rpratt - you can't go wrong staying at either place, but I'd go with Snowmass if that's where you're likely to ski.  Almost all of Snowmass's runs are tree lined with the exception being the poma.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post

ADKS - I need to know what you like to ski to give you suggestions.

rpratt - you can't go wrong staying at either place, but I'd go with Snowmass if that's where you're likely to ski.  Almost all of Snowmass's runs are tree lined with the exception being the poma.
Thanks, @nathanvg. I like skiing most anything, other than routes requiring air. Love moderate trees in powder/soft snow, wild-feeling off-piste, some steep groomers. Love bumps, but don't have the legs and sharp technique yet for long, unrelenting bump runs. If the snow is good, I'm comfortable most anywhere, though not always the most graceful or fast. As far as western experience, I enjoyed many black runs at Jackson, Crystal, and Targhee. These days I tend to stay off the groomers most of the day, especially if crowded and snow is soft.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 

One more question.  If it snows, is it worth going to Buttermilk in the afternoon for powder to avoid competition?  Is there anything steep enough to make it worthwhile?  Nice glades? 

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKS View Post
 

One more question.  If it snows, is it worth going to Buttermilk in the afternoon for powder to avoid competition?  Is there anything steep enough to make it worthwhile?  Nice glades? 

 

 

Tiehack has some nice glades and easy black runs.  All accessed by a 2000 vertical ft. HSQ that takes about 7 minutes.

It doesn't usually get as much snow as the other areas, but my wife loves it there.

 

Are you flying into Aspen,  direct or thru Denver?

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
We're connecting in Denver to ASE on United. Aspen airport reopened this morning, fortunately.
post #11 of 19

I would probably reserve a one way rental just in case.  It's my SOP when I connect thru DEN.  They don't charge you unless you pick it up.

If they cancel your flight, just go straight to the car rental.  Your luggage will get trucked up from Denver and will be at the airport the next morning.

post #12 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADKS View Post


Thanks, @nathanvg. I like skiing most anything, other than routes requiring air. Love moderate trees in powder/soft snow, wild-feeling off-piste, some steep groomers. Love bumps, but don't have the legs and sharp technique yet for long, unrelenting bump runs. If the snow is good, I'm comfortable most anywhere, though not always the most graceful or fast. As far as western experience, I enjoyed many black runs at Jackson, Crystal, and Targhee. These days I tend to stay off the groomers most of the day, especially if crowded and snow is soft.

At snowmass:

-Long Shot a good low angle glade run (requires short hike)

-Big Burn area including powerline glade

-Hanging Valley doesn’t require air but is very steep in places.  It’s a great area that feels very wild.  Huge area.

-Sam’s Knob has some great short bump runs

-one of the campground runs is typically groomed which could be a good way to eye the long bump runs in the area.  The whole area is typically deserted.

 

At Highlands:

-The bowl stays fresh and is a great run if you’re up for the hike.  There are some tree runs on the far side of the bowl.

-Olympic bowl stays fresh as long as the wind doesn’t blast it.  Keep your speed up for the traverse back

 

 

I don’t know Ajax nearly as well but it seems to get more bumped up due to smaller size.  Walsh area often stays fresh a little longer.

post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nathanvg View Post
 

At snowmass:

-Long Shot a good low angle glade run (requires short hike)

-Big Burn area including powerline glade

-Hanging Valley doesn’t require air but is very steep in places.  It’s a great area that feels very wild.  Huge area.

-Sam’s Knob has some great short bump runs

-one of the campground runs is typically groomed which could be a good way to eye the long bump runs in the area.  The whole area is typically deserted.

 

At Highlands:

-The bowl stays fresh and is a great run if you’re up for the hike.  There are some tree runs on the far side of the bowl.

-Olympic bowl stays fresh as long as the wind doesn’t blast it.  Keep your speed up for the traverse back

 

 

I don’t know Ajax nearly as well but it seems to get more bumped up due to smaller size.  Walsh area often stays fresh a little longer.


Thanks!

post #14 of 19

So how was the trip?

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 

Trip was awesome.  Snowed two days, bluebird one day.  Skied Highlands, Ajax, and Buttermilk for a bit.  If I have time this weekend I'll do a trip report with photos. 

post #16 of 19

Can't speak for ADKS (the OP), but my trip was great.  Flew in Tuesday 1/7, back Saturday 1/11 when the airport reopened, and flew back on Saturday evening (both non-stops from/to SFO).  Stayed at a condo a short walk from the bottom of the Village Express lift in Snowmass, so no rental car.

 

Since I was there with my my son, who's a low intermediate skier, we just skied Snowmass all 4 days.  I spent most of each day with him on Village Express, Coney Ridge, the gondola, etc, but also got 1-2 hours on my own each day to check out Sam's, Big Burn and Sheer Bliss, etc.

 

Snow conditions were great. Below freezing basically the whole time, and small to medium amounts of fresh snow most of the days.  Saturday was actually the best day, blue skies and 4-6 inches of snow overnight from Friday, Friday was the roughest just because the afternoon was snowing and very windy up top.  right at the level where the lifts were still open but exposed skin got sandblasted on every run :-)

 

Anyway, compared to what Tahoe looks like so far this year it was well worth the bucks to go to Aspen instead.

 

Bob

post #17 of 19

Great to hear.  I look forward to your trip report.

post #18 of 19

ADKS - figured Id put mine in too - since we were there the same time...

 

Skied Aspen 1/10 - 1/12 (Ajax, SM, Ajax).  Conditions were great.

 

Ajax was soft on Friday with some snow - mainly just cruised around to get a feel of the place on the upper mountain - was cold, flat light but walk on gondola rides - enjoyed the Glades

 

Snowmass on Sat was great, sunny, good snow - Cirque was not worth the time on the poma - the road to hanging valley was closed and was basically wind scoured and only a WROD back to the Sheer Bliss lift.  Headed to High Alpine and the hike to Hanging Valley.  Headwall was a bit scratchy at the top, but 2 turns in was fluffy and nice.  Spent most time in High Alpine/Big Burn areas. No lines other than Village Express to get started, Elk Camp and Alpine Springs (but no longer than 5 minutes) everything else was basically ski on.

 

Ajax Sunday was incredible  - snowing hard, nobody out, but cold and windy.  Gondola wasn't running to start so - Little Nell >1A>Ruthies.  Spent some time to start lapping Ruthies by ourselves in boot top powder and then headed to Ajax Express and Gent's - for the terrain over there.  Gents was running s-l-o-w - so took some "commitment" to be on that in the snow and wind (3 degrees + wind), but that side was great.  WInd filling in tracks.

 

All in all great trip - stayed in town - Ajax is was easily walked to from our hotel on main street and downtown was great.  No ski pictures but do have one blurry from fireworks Sat night.  Will ski Highlands on my next visit (the lady isn't a "long hike type of gal" <-her quote).  Cool town, great skiing, good food, celebrity encounters, fireworks - whats not to like? right?

 

AppleMark

post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by givethepigeye View Post
 

ADKS - figured Id put mine in too - since we were there the same time...

 

Skied Aspen 1/10 - 1/12 (Ajax, SM, Ajax).  Conditions were great.

 

Ajax was soft on Friday with some snow - mainly just cruised around to get a feel of the place on the upper mountain - was cold, flat light but walk on gondola rides - enjoyed the Glades

 

Snowmass on Sat was great, sunny, good snow - Cirque was not worth the time on the poma - the road to hanging valley was closed and was basically wind scoured and only a WROD back to the Sheer Bliss lift.  Headed to High Alpine and the hike to Hanging Valley.  Headwall was a bit scratchy at the top, but 2 turns in was fluffy and nice.  Spent most time in High Alpine/Big Burn areas. No lines other than Village Express to get started, Elk Camp and Alpine Springs (but no longer than 5 minutes) everything else was basically ski on.

 

Ajax Sunday was incredible  - snowing hard, nobody out, but cold and windy.  Gondola wasn't running to start so - Little Nell >1A>Ruthies.  Spent some time to start lapping Ruthies by ourselves in boot top powder and then headed to Ajax Express and Gent's - for the terrain over there.  Gents was running s-l-o-w - so took some "commitment" to be on that in the snow and wind (3 degrees + wind), but that side was great.  WInd filling in tracks.

 

All in all great trip - stayed in town - Ajax is was easily walked to from our hotel on main street and downtown was great.  No ski pictures but do have one blurry from fireworks Sat night.  Will ski Highlands on my next visit (the lady isn't a "long hike type of gal" <-her quote).  Cool town, great skiing, good food, celebrity encounters, fireworks - whats not to like? right?

Nice!  The fireworks were fun.  We were right by the gondola, outside of Ajax Tavern.  

 

I just posted a lengthy trip report with photos here: http://www.epicski.com/t/124956/trip-report-aspen-1-9-1-12

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