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School an Aspen virgin

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
Planning a couple of days skiing Aspen at the end of the month as part of a longer trip. I ski most stuff bar mandatory airs and point em chutes. Where do I want to be skiing Ajax and Highlands? Dunno about hiking Highlands Bowl for a generally near sea level resident. Any advantage in Snowmass additional vert late season?

Likely to driving in from Carbondale or so - best park n ride tips? Lot at Buttermilk?


Thanks.
post #2 of 20
All three have good terrain. Kind of depends on weather.
Aspen the east facing runs soften first, ski them on the Am, north facing noon, west facing Pm. Great gated terrain.

Highlands Bowl has a free cat. It drops you at the SE facing runs that can soften pretty early. North facing is the longest hike, but it's well worth the grunt. Plenty of good terrain on the lower mountain.

Snowmass - I'd hit groomers off Sam's Knob, then the Burn, till the east facing Wall softens.

Parking is free Wednesday's at Highland, Sunday I'm town.
post #3 of 20

I liked Asoen better, much more intriguing to read about an Asoen Virgin.

post #4 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yeah yeah yeah frickin Android spellcorrect.
post #5 of 20

Folks think of Snowmass for the blue runs (e.g. Big Burn), but in my opinion Snowmass has some of the best double-black terrain at any of the Aspen mountains.

post #6 of 20

We had a nice time there back around New Year's timeframe: http://www.epicski.com/a/colorado-road-trip-recap

post #7 of 20

Technically a virgin, but the poster's really a fat old bloke on the internet :D

post #8 of 20

I'm in Aspen now and the skiing is awesome. If it was me I'd ski Ajax and Highlands then decide which I like better and go from there. Both are good, I prefer Ajax because I ski their with friends.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by raspritz View Post
 

Folks think of Snowmass for the blue runs (e.g. Big Burn), but in my opinion Snowmass has some of the best double-black terrain at any of the Aspen mountains.

 

Some of the, best, yes.  I think Highlands Bowl and Temerity are the best, but Snowmass comes in #2. 

 

I'm always amazed that the goods at Snowmass get so little attention on here.

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post

I'm always amazed that the goods at Snowmass get so little attention on here.

It's complicated. I lived in Snowmass my first three years in the early 80's. I basically perfected my powder technique there. Back then the Wall was just starting to open. I was friends with the snow safety director and was actually the first civilian to ski it. Back then it took two long slow chairs, a hike and a long flat traverse to get in a lap when they did finally open, which wasn't all that often.

I was a young buck and knew I'd get a DUI if I continued to live in Snowmass. So I moved into town and never looked back. Back then Ajax was far away the best skiing in the valley and in some regards, I think it still is.

Highland's was still owned by Wink. He battled with the Aspen Ski Co and didn't 't put shit back into the hill. It took four long slow chairs that never opened on time to get to Steeplechase, that usually opened about noon.

So all the rippers skied Ajax. When they put in the gondola in 86, it just reinforced the idea that you never wanted to go anywhere else. I skied almost every day there for the next seven years and met most of my ski buds there. It a small hill, so you run into people and it's very social.

Now I have my ideal ski in/out location in town,with basically my own private lift and all my friends, it's really hard to leave. I'll go to Highlands when it's really good, but I'd rather not go past the round about, if I don't have too!
Edited by SHREDHEAD - 3/9/14 at 4:30am
post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHREDHEAD View Post


It's complicated.

 

Makes as much sense as anything else I've heard.

 

The converse- I've got a brother that has lived in Snowmass Village since 2003. A far better skier than myself- I can make it down just about anything inbounds, but he makes it look easy.

 

For years and years, he spent 90% of his time at Snowmass. He didn't hike Highlands until I came to visit for specifically that purpose- at that point he had been there for 6 seasons.  When I asked how he could ski 100 days a year and not find a day for highlands, he told me he just couldn't year himself away from hitting stashes up in hanging valley. 

 

I think people would talk a lot more about Snowmass' terrain if it wasn't right next to 2 other amazing mountains.

 

Then again, I realize Aspen gets very little discussion here because so few people ski it regularly...

post #12 of 20
Snowmass is one of the best all around hills in North America and I won't go there because it's 12 miles away.
That's a good problem to have!
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post

Planning a couple of days skiing Aspen at the end of the month as part of a longer trip. I ski most stuff bar mandatory airs and point em chutes. Where do I want to be skiing Ajax and Highlands? Dunno about hiking Highlands Bowl for a generally near sea level resident. Any advantage in Snowmass additional vert late season?

Likely to driving in from Carbondale or so - best park n ride tips? Lot at Buttermilk?


Thanks.

 

Bob, the Highlands Bowl is incredible, but the climb is a killer if you're not used to the altitude or running routine marathons.  I made a run out of it, a couple years ago but would be hard pressed to do it today.  Lift served steep terrain can be found at Snowmass. Cirque poma lift.  Lots of possibilities, and if you choose to just ski fast groomers, head to the Big Burn or front-side of the mountain.  Any more, what I can do, vs what I enjoy is getting a bit less life-threatening. 

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cirquerider View Post
 

 

Bob, the Highlands Bowl is incredible, but the climb is a killer if you're not used to the altitude or running routine marathons.

 

I don't think you quite need to be at the marathon level, but if you want to drop in at the top or the North side (and the Y zones suck when there is not fresh snow), you will be climbing the equivalent of the empire state building, at 11,000 feet, in ski boots. If you aren't in great shape, plan to end your day after you hike up, ski down, and then ski back down to the bottom of Highlands. If you still have legs, consider it a bonus.

post #15 of 20
I always like when people list their skills as "I can ski anything, without mandatory airs and straighliningg chutes" my guess if you have to make this statement, you are a bit mistaken. With that said...I would ski aspen or highlands.

my 5 year old hiked the highland bowl....i'd bet you could make it....and it's ALWAYS worth it.

Hope you have fun here in our little valley
post #16 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd braun View Post

I always like when people list their skills as "I can ski anything, without mandatory airs and straighliningg chutes" my guess if you have to make this statement, you are a bit mistaken. With that said...I would ski aspen or highlands.

my 5 year old hiked the highland bowl....i'd bet you could make it....and it's ALWAYS worth it.

Hope you have fun here in our little valley

 Yeah of course - was just trying to shortcut the what kind of terrain do you prefer question.  I'm not mad keen to get on injected race courses but they don't tend to be on offer for the holiday punter and if the entire mountain is breakable crust I can make the judgement of sticking to groomer.  So I'm not extremo but equally I don't find myself always looking for the easy way down somewhere like Vail.  Now I didn't say I skied it in the ultimate in style etc etc, wasn't a boast just a marker of what I'd be interested in, conditions permitting.

post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 

Update.  So picked my days carefully and got in a powish Thursday at Snowmass and a powish Monday at Highlands.  First chair at Highlands with a Tahoe refugee and no competition blew me away.

 

Got to say it's a good product.  Often think resorts get over hyped but the terrain and lack of crowds seemed to live up to the promise.  Rode the Cirque a few times in Snowmass and a couple of laps into Possible on Hanging Valley.  Rode the cat and got a few laps in Highlands Bowl (admittedly without the all the way hike).

 

Bus service a dream - Vail should really take note with their crappy service for anyone not prepared to splurge $$ on close in parking (but I guess it's their way of saying they don't really want me)

 

Found the town interesting in that for all the furs, facelifts and frou frou little dogs there is still an aging skibum at its heart.  Passes my test as one of the few authentic ski towns in N America.


Edited by fatbob - 4/9/14 at 9:12am
post #18 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by fatbob View Post

 

Found the town interesting in that for all the furs, facelifts and frou frou little dogs there is still an aging skibum at its heart.  Passes my test as one of the few authentic ski towns in N America.

 

Yeah, the rich folks don't really set the tone of the town because so few of them actually live there outside of christmas week. Lots of cool people in Aspen.  If you liked the terrain and ski town feel of Aspen, its time to plan your trips to CB and Telluride.

post #19 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachronism View Post
 

 

Yeah, the rich folks don't really set the tone of the town because so few of them actually live there outside of christmas week. Lots of cool people in Aspen.  If you liked the terrain and ski town feel of Aspen, its time to plan your trips to CB and Telluride.

 

Yep, one of the best ski towns in America, hands down. Love that town...

post #20 of 20

There is no such thing as a virgin in Aspen.:D

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