Originally Posted by Hoback Hank
I am going to the Roaring Fork Valley for the first time in mid-Dec. Snowmass looks like it has all I could want for four days. We are staying there.
--Do I need to go to Ajax one day, at least for the steeps and the bragging rights or not?
--Will Highlands offer anything I can't find at Snowmass?
--Is there such thing as a local's pub in Aspen, or do I have to wear Armani apres-ski clothes and spend $48.95 for a 6 oz. Filet? Any drinking/dining suggestions in the valley are appreciated.
Snowmass has a ton of terrain that you c couldn't hope to explore in two weeks of skiing, let alone four days. Hanging Valley, The Cirque, High Alpine - all have tons of noos and crannies that will be much more rewarding than any alleged bragging rights from skiing Ajax. The only drawbacks are the crowds and the lift layout - it's difficult to do laps on the best terrain. If you do take a side trip for a day, I'd HIGHLY recommend checking out Highlands instead of Ajax. The place is always empty, and has great steeps off the top in the Steeplechase, Temerity, Oly Bowl, and Highlands Bowl areas. This year, they are adding the Deeper Temerity lift, a fixed grip triple (or double - I've seen both) which will run about 1800 vertical feet up the steepest part of the hill and eliminate what used to be a hellish traverse out of that area. It will offer a tremendous mix of steep bumps, diverse trees, and open bowl skiing in Highlands Bowl. All the locals are licking their chops over it.
I'm not familiar with the dining options at Snowmass, though I know there are a few moderately priced venues. In the twon of Aspen, I can recommend the Red Onion and Little Annies as true locals places with reasonable prices and a pretty diverse menu. There is also a great pizza joint on the main walking drag in town that is on the 2nd floor - just folow the scent of deliciosness wafting out the door. It's called Manhattan Pizza or something with a NY type name.