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Aspen is one the most famous and respected skiing destinations in the world. Skiers of all abilities will find enjoyable and challenging pistes over a collection of four areas - Aspen Mountain, Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk - all conveniently linked by a free bus service.
Snow reliability in Aspen is generally good and the extensive snowmaking and expert grooming creates excellent skiing conditions. The ban on snowboarding on Aspen Mountain was lifted in 2001, finally opening all four areas up to free riders. Now Buttermilk is a regular host of the Winter X Games and has an excellent reputation for snowboarding. Added to the huge diversity of snow terrain is a wonderful town with so much to do - making this a first-class destination all year round. Dining out, nightlife and shopping are all extensive and Aspen's reputation as a playground of the stars makes it a great place to do some celebrity spotting. This glamorous, diverse resort is a justifiable favourite in the skiing world.
Aspen is 261 km (approximately 3 hours 20 minutes transfer) from Denver airport.
Beginners and novices should note that there are no green pistes on Aspen Mountain. To make the most of your trip here, you will want to use the free bus service to access the smooth, rolling terrain of Buttermilk Mountain. There is a vast choice of specialised instruction, very low average class sizes and an indoor ski and snowboard simulator in Aspen. The extensive facilities mean Aspen can be a great place to learn.
Almost half of the terrain across the four mountains is suitable for intermediate skiers, offering a huge choice of terrain. The wonderfully groomed pistes with top-to-bottom cruising and a good lift service makes Aspen a joy for the keen intermediate. For snowboarders, three terrain parks on Aspen Snowmass offer a selection of trails for beginners, intermediates and experts.
Advanced skiers may want to avoid Buttermilk Mountain and concentrate on the wealth of black diamond, double-black diamond and mogul trails on the other three Aspen mountains. New terrain is opening every season, with Highlands recently adding exhilarating 45-degree slopes starting at its summit. Advanced freestyle snowboarders will want to test their skills on Buttermilk's Winter X Games course, whilst free riders will be delighted by the lack of drag-lifts and stunning black trails. Off-piste and powder tours can be organised with a guide in Aspen and are highly recommended for the intrepid skier and snowboarder.
A great deal of Aspen's well respected schools offer dedicated programmes for children. Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen are worth a particular mention as unused lesson tickets are fully refundable. Non-skiing nurseries are also excellent here - with Snowmass and Buttermilk particularly well suited to families.
Very few ski resorts in the world can come close to the diversity and sheer amount of après ski entertainment found in Aspen. The atmosphere here is slightly different to European resorts, due in part to the stricter alcohol laws and the fact that bars and clubs are all shut by 2am. This aside, Aspen offers just about any kind of aprés ski experience. Wonderful fine dining, romantic settings, superb restaurants and bars for groups, laid-back pubs and great live music can all be enjoyed here. Aspen also stays busy in or out of ski season, a testament to how much fun this vibrant town can be. You can certainly have a superb holiday in Aspen no matter what your level of interest in skiing is.
|Ski season||November - April|
|Piste area||5285 acres|
|Resort height||2473 m|