It’s no secret that Colorado is home to the best skiing in the world. But did you know that when you visit Aspen, you can choose from four ski areas? With free shuttles every 15 minutes to transport you between the slopes, it’s easier than ever to access each ski area; with one lift ticket, you’ll be able to ski over 5,300 unforgettable acres on Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk.
If you’re planning a trip to Aspen or Snowmass, here are a few tips to simplify your visit to the slopes.
Transportation and Shuttles
Skiers in Aspen and Snowmass will be pleasantly surprised by the easy and convenient (and free!) bus services.
Free Skier Shuttle. It’s never been easier to travel between the four mountains of Aspen and Snowmass. The free skier shuttle operates from 8AM to 4:30PM. Buses arrive at designated stops every 15 minutes.
RFTA Buses. The Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) offers free bus service between Aspen and Snowmass Village, as well as around Aspen. Bus service runs until 2AM, making it the perfect choice for late night transportation in Aspen and Snowmass. Most routes begin and end in downtown Aspen on Durant Street at Rubey Park. The Snowmass bus stop is at the west end of the Snowmass mall.
Skiing the Four Mountains
Each mountain offers something different to visitors. Here’s a taste of what you can expect when you ski Aspen and Snowmass.
Snowmass has long been famous for its family-friendly atmosphere. You’ll find kid-friendly runs, a great ski school for even the littlest skiers among us, and The Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center for children who need a break from barreling down the mountain. Don’t worry: there are plenty of slopes for grownups, too. With 3,128 acres, 21 lifts, and 4,406 vertical feet, Snowmass is the largest of the four mountains. The choices here are endless: it has everything from cruisers and moguls to extreme skiing terrain. Convenient ski in/ski out lodging makes Snowmass a favorite among visitors.
Aspen Mountain has varied terrain for skiers to explore. The mountain boasts challenging terrain, half of which are black diamond and expert runs. (The other half of the slopes are best for intermediate skiers). The longest run on Aspen is a whopping three miles, and you’ll see some of the most beautiful scenery imaginable as you race down. Aspen Mountain isn’t the ideal place for beginners to rush in—novice skiers are encouraged to visit the other three mountains—but it’s the perfect place for intermediates and experts looking for some of the most challenging skiing in the country.
Aspen Highlands is highly recommended for groups of skiers of differing skills and abilities. The routes on Aspen Highlands include trails for beginner, intermediate, advanced, and expert skiers. That means that there’s something for everyone on the Highlands’ 3,365 feet of downhill skiing areas. Tip: for the ultimate physical challenge, hike from the top of Lodge Peak and ski the Highland Bowl.
Buttermilk is by far the best choice for beginners and families with small children who are new to skiing. Considered the easiest of the four mountains, Buttermilk is home to smaller hills and gentle trails. There’s still plenty for slightly more advanced skiers to enjoy on Buttermilk, however: the Tiehack trail is ideal for confident skiers who aren’t quite ready to brave Aspen Mountain. Meanwhile, the runs on Main Buttermilk and West Buttermilk are more forgiving. Despite its easy reputation, don’t think you’ll ever be bored on Buttermilk. It’s hosted the ESPN Winter X-Games on more than one occasion, and the Games will be back for the 2014 season.
The Aspen ski season is set to run from December 14, 2013 to April 13, 2014. Book your accommodations well in advance to ensure that you’re locked in for the ski experience of a lifetime.