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Aspen/Snowmass 1st Time - Suggestions for Navigating the Mountain & more

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi All,


My boyfriend and I are heading to Aspen/Snowmass for our first trip of the year from Jan.26-Feb.2.


I have looked at the trail map and read a bunch on these forums - very helpful. I was wondering if I could get more specifics from those who know the place. My boyfriend is an intermediate skier, I am an advanced intermediate snowboarder, who will be taking ski lessons again after 20+ years of not skiing. We are both in our mid-30s. I have been ice skating a lot recently, so I hope the edge work will help me.


I will prob split time 60/30 between skiing and boarding, depending on how my ski lessons go. If I prove to be worse than I think, I might board more in order to see more of the mountain....But note that I am determined to ski again, as the technical aspects and graceful movements are more appealing to me nowadays. Since I never got  into jumps/tricks/park with snowboarding, there seems to be little else I can do to "progress." I've hit a wall and am kind of bored. Getting up gets harder and harder! There seems to be more to learn in skiing. And honestly it looks kinder to the aging body.


Most of all, we just want to have fun and take full advantage of the scenery.  Neither of us has ever been to Colorado or the Rockies.  I know we will want to take it easy and cruise the first few days. Once the excitement kicks in, we will push ourselves.


My questions: Can anyone suggest an itinerary, or progression of runs, given my description above? I know it is supposed to be a huge place, so I want to minimize wasting time deciding on what runs to take/ getting lost. We are staying right next to Fanny Hill.


Finally, we are also interested in cultural activities, authentic atmosphere, etc. Not interested in anything fancy/posh. Would rather hang around local dives and off-the-radar places - to the extent that those exist in this area. Anybody have experience with any of the Aspen ice rinks? Thinking of bringing my skates as well.



Sorry for the rambling email. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


Many Thanks,



post #2 of 4

Go up the Gondi and to the top of Elk Camp. Bear Bottom or Gunners View are usually groomed and a good place to start.

Then start working your way west across the mountain.

Most of the groomed runs off of Alpine Springs or the Burn lifts shouldn't give you too many problems. Sam's Knob or Campground may.

After a couple of days and you get your legs, try Aspen or Highlands.


Do you play hockey?  The Aspen Mother Puckers play at a pretty high level.  There's a small free outdoor rink across from the Ruby Park bus depot.  The Aspen Ice Garden is a short walk from downtown and the Aspen Rec Center's Lewis Arena is out near Highlands.


The Woody Creek Tavern is the qunitisential dive where Hunter S. hungout.  Little Anne's, Red Onion, Hickory House or Jbar were all dives at one point, now they're mostly tourists.   Most of my friends go to Mezzaluna.


Stewpot's about the only place left in Snowmass that I've eaten at.


In Aspen:


Whitehouse Tavern


La Hostaria


post #3 of 4

First of all, you are going to have a blast at Aspen...it's one of my favorite places.  Since you are staying in Snowmass Village, it makes the most sense to do most of your skiing there at Snowmass, though Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands would offer plenty of fun terrain for the two of you to explore.


The Fanny Hill area at Snowmass is a feeder run which is typically the most crowded area on the mountain, so I would suggest you only start and finish your day there while spending the rest of your time either in the Elk Camp, Alpine Springs and Two Creeks areas.


A possible itinerary would be taking the Elk Camp Gondola and warm-up on the groomed runs off of it:

Funnel Bypass


Adam's Avenue


These are all fairly gentle with Funnel having a short section with a little steepness which you can see from the lift.  Then from there, you could head up the Elk Camp quad and enjoy Gunner's View, Sandy Park and/or Bull Run.  These are definitely intermediate runs which have some steep spots on them, but are super-fun with great views.


The Alpine Springs lift would be your next stop and allow you access to other nice trails such as Turkey Trot (very easy), Naked Lady and Coffee Pot.


That's how I would start out at Snowmass.


Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk both also have great green and blue runs which might be what you are looking for as well.  Aspen Highlands has some breathtaking views of Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak which are worth the trip to the top of the Loge Peak lift.

post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

Thanks a lot for the suggestions Lofclaudio and Shredhead. I'll let you guys know how it goes with a trip report when I return.


I did recently take up adult rec ice hockey. Love skating. Will probably walk over to the Ice Garden in Aspen to check out a game! Looks like the Mother Puckers are playing Breckenridge next Saturday.


I'll definitely check out those spots, especially Woody Creek Tavern. Sounds like my type of place.


- Kara

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