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INFO: Snowmass, Highlands, Ajax Mountain

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Leaving this Sunday for Aspen for 10 days. Never been there before. Sure would like some local knowledge or info on what runs/lifts we should hit/avoid. Have back country equipment and willing to hike to get there! Expert and up no problems. Thanks in advance!!
post #2 of 3
A whole bunch of people were just there for the ESA event, so you'll probably get some good advice. The Snowmass Cirque and Hanging Valley Wall areas have some really fun terrain -- AMF, Roberto's, Gowdy's were all done by various groups. The Wall area cliffs out in a number of places, so be carefull in there. There are a couple places on the mountain where you can get a real good view of what an awesome playground the Cirque and the Wall are.

Aspen Highlands has Highlands Bowl which you must definitely hit. The "easiest" runs are off the top, and the view from the top makes the hike worthwhile. And the ski down is even more worthwhile. It took my East-coast lungs about an hour to reach the top.

We discovered the key to skiing Ajax is to look for the traverses. The Face of Bell (along with practically everything else) is full of traverses that you could easily miss, but if you hit them, you can make a moderate-length bump run really, really long. Ajax is apparently home to thirty-some shrines to various people. I was guided to three of them, but I couldn't possibly tell you how to get to them.

The snow in Aspen last week was absolutely superb.
post #3 of 3
You will have a great time. The mountains are in good shape and should be better by Sunday, with some additional snowfall forecast.

Non Powder day:
Ride the Gondi up and do a couple of high speed laps on Copper and Spar. Hit the east facing terrain in the morning, Dumps, Walshe's or Back of Bell. West facing terrain starting around 1pm, Face of Bell, Glades or Jackpot.

Powder day:
Get to the Gondi by 8am or hike up to 1A(Shadow Mtn) lift if you are late. Hit chair 6(FIS) and the Dumps, Cone or Silver Queen. Then hit Trainor's and Bingo.

Usually better the day after a powder day. Straight to the top and hit Steeplechase and Deep Temerity. The Highland Bowl should be open by 10. The bowl always has something good, but two or three laps are about the most mere mortals can do in a day. Oly bowl and Powder bowl still have good light, late in the day.

Park at Two Creeks or Campground to avoid the village mob scene. Head up to High Alpine first and hit the Wall. Then go up the Big Burn to the Cirque Poma.

Insane park and pipe. Also some easy blacks that hold powder for days.

All three mountains have incredible backcountry access. Be careful the snow pack is very weak this year. When we get a bunch of snow on top of this layer, it's going to be scary.
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EpicSki › The Barking Bear Forums › Mountain/Resort Related Forums › Resorts, Conditions & Travel › INFO: Snowmass, Highlands, Ajax Mountain