E X P L O R E ~ A S P E N

What's it like to ski with Kate in her home town?

Everyone thinks the Highlands is the Expert's mountain. And they are right. If you like steeps for days, you've come to the right place. And if you like long, rolling perfect blue groomers with no-one on them, you've found the right place. And if you like eating great food in a perpetually sold-out restaurant at 10,900 feet which turns into a mad champagne-spraying dance party, well, you found us. This is my favorite mountain to ski on in our valley. Perfect for powder days in the Highlands Bowl, perfect for training, improving, learning, great for families, and bonus... most days you can ski right on to the lift, not a lift-line in sight.
The highlands bowl is 250 acres of hikeable double-black terrain that is between 37 and 48 degrees in steepness, with a 1700 foot vertical descent. It takes 25 minutes to hike if you are a superhuman local who competes in uphill races on a world cup level, or up to an hour and a half if you are either an eight year old local or a flatlander who'se come on vacation.

Is it worth it? Yes! Can you do it? Maybe! Hiking and skiing the Highlands Bowl is one of the most rewarding adventures you can have in Aspen. Come out and ski with me and we'll assess your readiness to hike and ski the bowl. Don't worry, I'll hike with you! And my coat is always full of water and snacks.

What skills do you need? Strong skiing skills, good cardio vascular fitness, no issues with altitude, and a good understanding of self-arrest techniques. Yes, you need to be able to ski bumps, trees, and to be able to ski steep double black terrain with confidence. Not fast, just well. Remember that once you ski whatever your chosen aspect is off the top of the bowl, the run-out is another 10 minutes of adventure skiing in bumpy, tree-filled double-black terrain.

Why not ski the bowl at 10 am after a good warm up, and finish your day at Cloud 9?

Want to enjoy some fondu and raclette with your kids at 10,900 feet? Book the 12pm seating in the no-spray room. Want to party like it's 1999? Book the front room at the 2pm seating. Wish you were out on the deck? That's a gamble as weather can turn in an instant in the mountains. Better to book an indoor table and boogie on outside if the weather is nice, or give up your indoor table at the last minute.

Want to get in on the best party in Aspen? Better book it in November. Cloud 9 sells out months in advance.

Did you know you can rent out Cloud 9 for dinner!? Mulled wine at the base, a cat ride up to the restaurant, and your very own wild party late into the night.

Can a non-skier come to Cloud 9? Right now, you have to be a strong intermediate skier, capable of skiing down all of Highlands in order to eat at Cloud 9. There is NO foot traffic allowed from the Cloud9 lift to the restaurant.

What if I enjoy myself a little bit too much? How do I get down? Do your best to enjoy yourself responsibly, but just in case, there is a courtesy ride to the bottom of the mountain if the altitude and the Veuve has gotten to you.

Like cruising the groomers? Highlands is home to the best grooming in Aspen, and there are miles and miles of open slopes and only about five days a year when we have any sort of lift line at all.

Highlands is an outstanding place to ski with your family, and yes, there's plenty of great intermediate level skiing. While there is one green run from top to bottom, the bottom section is more of a true blue than a green. You should be a strong intermediate skier in order to ski at Aspen Highlands.

The party doesn't really need to stop at the end of the day... head on in to the favorite hangouts for instructors and the hard core patrollers of Aspen Highlands at the end of the day. Order a beer and a shot and enjoy great food, great music and a great party at the base of Aspen Highlands.

Only get to choose one closing day ceremony to attend this season? Don't miss the legendary insanity of Highlands' closing day in early April!

Buttermilk Mountain is not just for beginners! Surprise! Lots of people make that mistake, and think that one of our best kept secrets is just for newbies. But Buttermilk is home to long green and blue groomers, tons of fun and well marked tree trails, and the fun steep black groomers and single black off-piste of the Tiehack terrain!

Buttermilk is also one of my favorite places to go on a chill powder day. Want to learn to ski trees? Buttermilk has tons of low angle glades that are easy to navigate. Have kids that want to learn to jump off stuff? The Red's Rover park is a long groomer filled with easy boxes, rails and small jumps.

Interested in an early morning hike? Why not rent some AT gear from Aspen Expeditions and go for a skin up Buttermilk? Not sure how to use your gear? I can help you with that!

Eating at Buttermilk is a treat, you can eat at the delicious Mongolian BarBQ at the top of Buttermilk, at the Bumps cafeteria at the base, or at the new Home Town BarBQ just below Panda Express. All the food is delicious.

Are you a huge, hucking, x-games aspirant? Buttermilk is for you, that's where we host the X-Games every year and that's where the big, scary jumps are. Got kids that want to learn to do this on skis or a snowboard? We have pros for that.

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