Well, I'll respond.
A few points here:
1) The guy who started the thread was looking for traditional, consistent steeps, not hairball cliffs etc...
Love the steeps and "unconventional' terrain at the bird.
I don't think Aspen Highlands has stuff I would describe as really steep and it's not exactly unconventional.
2) Your information is now out of date and irrelevant. As I stated in my initial post in this thread, Highlands is installing the Deeper Temerity fixed grip triple this summer. It will run from a point 800 vertical feet BELOW the current traverse to a summit terminal just south (uphill) of the current Loge Peak lift summit terminal. You will now be able to do 1800 vertical laps on Steeplechase and Temerity while mixing in occasional 2500+ vertical runs from the top of Highlands Bowl. The traverse is history, which is why I am pimping Highlands this year.
This vertical is not going to be anything special. They have been touting this lift for more than a year. You can feel the snow get rough at the halfway point. The slopes face east already and curve around to face south.http://www.powdermag.com/features/news/aspen_lift/
If you look at the map -- only 2 out of 4 Steeplechase runs will extend. 50% of Steeplechase will end at the original catwalk because of the exposure south.
Temerity will continue. But it's a narrow shot good for only a few skiers, not many.
The Bowl will just be a run out this point. Junky at best.
3) You dismiss Highlands bowl b/c of the hike up. I'll simply reply that in a battle between quantity and quality, I'll take quality every day of the week, and twice on Sunday. The difficulty of the climb is a self-selection process which weeds out many skiers and leaves the snow in the bowl in magnificent shape long after storms depart.
I like to hike too and believe quality over quantity. However, many hike up to the Bowl already...it is busy..especially for hike-to terrain. The hike is good for maybe one possibly two good runs on a powder day. Again, the bowl is great, but you are just not going to do laps on it. For example, you ski out-of-bounds at Jackson Hole and and have 3000+ ft of vertical and you could do more laps on that than the Higlands Bowl.
The expansion is just not going to improve the Bowl (unfortunately), and just add 2-3 rutted bump runs.
4) Trees are too dense? Not in my world.
Trees are really dense at Aspen Highlands. Where are trees more dense? Woods are not universally accessible here. Like most Colorado mts.
5) Not sure why it matters what hotels are at the base - how does that impact the skiing experience 3800 vertical higher on the mountain?
Hotels take up what was originally parkinglots. When a $70+ lift ticket + $10 parking fee (THERE ARE NO OTHER LOTS for 2 people traveling to Higlands) -- $80 is really expensive! If I am spending $80, I want more than Alta @ $40-something, Crystal @ $40-something, Squaw @ $50 something, etc. WHEN HOTELS DISPLACE ALL FREE PARKING, IT'S A PROBLEM.
6) Highlands is always empty, even during holidays periods.
It is empty, and that is good.
For experts, I would argue that a Telluride/Silverton trip = Aspen Highlands/Snowmass trip = Crested Butte trip. (If everyhting is open).
I just have not been overly impressed with Highlands as the best expert in Colorado.