Aspen, Colorado, includes four ski resorts, which are operated by the same management company and connected by a local bus system. Thanks to the movie "Aspen Extreme," many people associate Aspen with wealth, glamor, status and celebrity. This may be true of Aspen Mountain proper, but each area has its own distinct character. Besides, stereotyping Aspen by its Hollywood image misses the essence of the area. Aspen is simultaneously a world class ski resort, a center for arts and culture and a Mecca for iconoclastic intellectualism.
Aspen Mountain, also known as Ajax, is home to the 1883 Hotel Jerome and the 1889 Wheeler Opera House. Both buildings shaped Aspen's future.
During World War II, the J Bar at the Jerome was a hangout for 10th Mountain Division members. After the war, ski instructor and former 10th Mountain Division member Friedl Pfeiffer teamed up with Chicago industrialist Walter Paepcke. Pfeiffer wanted to develop a ski area. Paepcke wanted to develop a cultural center. Both accomplished their dreams. Years later, celebrities such as John Denver and gonzo journalist Hunter Thompson would call Aspen their home. The Wheeler Opera House hosts writers' workshops, and the 673 acres of Aspen Mountain boast a terrain mix of 48 percent intermediate trails and 52 percent advanced and expert trails. Beginner terrain is significant in its absence.
Snowmass has a completely different ambience. This is laid-back, family-friendly Aspen. Its 88 trails are divided into 6 percent beginner terrain, 50 percent intermediate, 12 percent advanced and 32 percent expert. This mountain is noted for its wide, well-groomed trails.
Aspen Highlands caters to those who enjoy steep, big mountain skiing. this area is famous for its impressive bowls. Its terrain is divided into 18 percent beginner trails, 30 percent intermediate, 16 percent advanced and 36 percent expert.
Buttermilk plays host to ESPN's X Games, but it is actually Aspen's most beginner-friendly area. Its terrain is divided into 35 percent beginner trails, 39 percent intermediate and 26 percent advanced. Despite its lack of expert terrain, Buttermilk has some easy bump runs, which are suitable for mogul novices.
Article Written By Lisa Mercer
In 1999, Lisa Mercer’s fitness, travel and skiing expertise inspired a writing career. Her books include "Open Your Heart with Winter Fitness" and "101 Women's Fitness Tips." Her articles have appeared in "Aspen Magazine," "HerSports," "32 Degrees," "Pregnancy Magazine" and "Wired." Mercer has a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the City College of New York.