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Aspen: How to divide up the days among the 4 areas?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Since my season is over, it’s time to think/plan/dream about next season.  I’m a flatlander who has already purchased a Mountain Collective Pass for next year and I’m thinking about the possibilities.  At the moment, I’m specifically thinking about “a place where the beer flows like wine...where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano...a little place called Aspen.”

I’ve yet to ski at Buttermilk, but have been to (and loved) the other three areas at Aspen.  For a given number of ski days at Aspen, how would you divide things up among the four areas?  If convenience and snow conditions were equal (of course, they never are), here’s how I think I would divvy up my ski days.

 

1: AH
2: 1 AH, 1 S
3: 1 AH, 2 S
4: 1 AH, 2 S, 1 AM
5: 2 AH, 2 S, 1 AM
6: 2 AH, 2 S, 1 AM, 1 B
7: 2 AH, 3 S, 1 AM, 1 B

 

Based on those breakdowns, Aspen Mountain only makes the cut if I would have at least four days and Buttermilk only on trips with at least six days of skiing.  But should Buttermilk even be considered?  I’m a confident Level 7 who enjoys all types of terrain, but no interest in terrain parks.

post #2 of 12

I think you have it about right.  

post #3 of 12
In my 8 days I did 4 Snowmass 3 Highlands and 1 Aspen.
post #4 of 12

If it's me, I'm spending more time at Highlands, fewer days at Snowmass,  But why make a decision before you go?  If you like hiking, you'll like Highlands.  If you want long cruisers, you'll spend more time at Snowmass.  If I found a friendly local to show me around, I might like Ajax best of all.  It's all good.

 

BK

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
 

If it's me, I'm spending more time at Highlands, fewer days at Snowmass,  But why make a decision before you go?  If you like hiking, you'll like Highlands.  If you want long cruisers, you'll spend more time at Snowmass.  If I found a friendly local to show me around, I might like Ajax best of all.  It's all good.

 

BK

I agree with Bode. Today I hiked and skied Highlands Bowl. Most awesome. with late season conditions so you must go almost to the top

before you can ski. G2 & G3 have soft almost mid winter snow.  AM is very good but a bit limited.

 

I really really hate Snowmass due to an incredibly lousy lift layout.  If you want to ski good stuff like Hanging valley glades you need to ride 

High Alpine, the slowest lift on the mountain, then when done ski 2 runs as flat as a board.

 

Snowmass promised a lift to the top in this area 20 years ago. Hasn't happened. Just bottom lifts to 2 cks & Elk camp.

I'm so exhausted now I can hardly move. LOL

post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bode Klammer View Post
 

If it's me, I'm spending more time at Highlands, fewer days at Snowmass,  But why make a decision before you go?

 

No decisions are being made now.  I wanted to see how others think regarding the options available at Aspen.  I appreciated @Mdskier 's take on the lift layout at Snowmass in getting in and out of Hanging Valley Glades.  This is quality off-season discussion as I dream of next season.

post #7 of 12

It's true you do have to make big circles which include a blue piece to ski Hanging Valley or the Cirque.  Would it be nice if the layout served the expert terrain better?  Sure, but it didn't bother me that much.  It keeps the traffic down in the woods, part of why I found powder a week after a storm.  Also gives it more of an "exploring" feel.  The good Highlands routes are pretty obvious.

post #8 of 12
Ditto on the anti-Snowmass sentiment. Way too much traversing around.

I can see why Highlands gets the praise it does, but when the snow is less than ideal, it would ski small. When I was there I would have considered conditions to be below average but not dreadful. While the groomers skied well, off piste was crunchy. I saw 1 person all day in the deep temerity runs... At least those visible from the lift. All that terrain faces south and didn't look too appetizing for my advanced but not-expert eyes. On a powder day it would be great, but how many of those do you get.

There were some that were hiking the bowl... But the hike to ski ratio isn't the greatest. I didn't see too many others taking on the other hairier terrain either. The trees are too tight in most spots for tree skiing so that wasn't an option either.

Did I have fun on my day there... Absolutely. Would I base a vacation around AH? Nope... Give me the Cottonwoods all day long.
post #9 of 12
Another thing... I saw some hype on here regarding the Aspen apres scene. We drove from AH into town to check out the Aspen base. All we saw were patio restaurants with white tablecloths and fancy menus. That wasn't really the scene I pictured after seeing the reviews on here.
post #10 of 12

Just finished

1 AM

2 AH

1 SM

0 BM (CLOSED)

post #11 of 12

Maybe I've just not done highlands right.... But for me, given what Aspen has to offer in general, I'd spend more time at Aspen proper and Snowmass. Both offer just plain spectacular groomers. IMO Ruthies deserves its place on all those "best cruiser piste runs" lists I have seen it on. And the cruisers at Snowmass go on forever - with a vast range of exposures.

 

Personally - while I would not turn down a good off piste opportunity at any mountain, Aspen is not the place I'd travel to if I wanted to emphasize off piste skiing. In the times I have been there, it has been all about the groomers. And most of the skiable off piste runs were pounded out bumps. Not on my personal fun list. Though YMMV.

 

That said I agree with BK. Local "current" conditions can tell you a great deal in the moment. and flexibility should be easy. I'd make very different decisions on a 2 foot dump day in a good year vs a mountain with a below average snowpack that has seen no new snow in two weeks. You can;t know until you are there....

post #12 of 12
Quote:
That said I agree with BK. Local "current" conditions can tell you a great deal in the moment. and flexibility should be easy. I'd make very different decisions on a 2 foot dump day in a good year vs a mountain with a below average snowpack that has seen no new snow in two weeks. You can't know until you are there....

+1

 

Quote:

It's true you do have to make big circles which include a blue piece to ski Hanging Valley or the Cirque.

I agree that's usually a big minus, but can be a plus a day or two after it snows.

Quote:
deep temerity runs... At least those visible from the lift. All that terrain faces south and didn't look too appetizing for my advanced but not-expert eyes.

Most of Temerity faces east and a lot of it is sheltered by trees.  Only the Y-zone runs have partial south exposure.  By this time of year the east exposure is an issue, but not so much in Jan/Feb though.  In April there's a stronger incentive to hike Highlands Bowl for the best snow.

 

But this are all valid questions.  All of the Aspen areas have noteworthy flaws individually.  Collectively they are quite impressive, so that goes back to BK's point about conditions of the day and what type of skiing you are in the mood for. 

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