Overview: Aspen Mountain’s rep as a playground for the elite is both spot-on and totally unfair. Yes, they’re here, and yes, this place will drain a 401 K quicker than you can poach my line, but that’s only part of the story. The rest of it starts with 3,267 feet of vertical and one of the most direct fall lines in Colorado; seriously Aspen Mountain is steep, that’s why Dick Durrance moved here after he left Alta. Then there’s the variety, from the whoop-it-up glades off Ridge of Bell, and the chutes and gullies of Shadow Mountain to the meticulously textured summit-to-base groomers. Tip: The Sundeck offers free powder pancakes when it dumps eight inches or more overnight.
What’s New: Rent Dynafit AT kits at Four Mountain Sports and blow out the lungs with an uphill tour in inbounds safety.
Can’t-Miss Run: From the top of the gondi, cruise Copper to Silver Dip, then maintain your speed to skate onto Ridge of Bell, where gladed riches await.
Local’s Take: “You can’t really ski an entire day at Aspen Mountain alone, and I mean that in a good way,” says Meaghan Lynch, executive director for the 5Point Adventure Film Festival. “Once you’re part of this community, the fun is always multiplying. The mountain is compact but, it brings it. Just when you think you’re done there’s another pitch over the next roll.” —John Briley
skier Colter Hinchliffe | photo Matt Power