Aspen Colorado is a majestic ski town deep in the heart of the Elk Range in the Colorado Rockies. Aspen is known as a destination resort as the majority of its visitors come for a stay of a week or more for vacation, versus many of the “front range” resort in the Colorado Rockies, which are more easily accessed via car. This is a great thing for skiers of Aspen as you can generally ski right onto the chairlift, with a wait of a few minutes at the most. While resorts closer to Denver, such as Vail, have been known to have lift lines of over an hour. This also means that when it snows there can be fresh tracks to be had all day long, while more crowded ski resorts can be “skied out” a couple hours after opening. In the case of Snowmass, which is the largest mountain in the Power of Four (Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Snowmass) there is so much terrain and so few skiers there can be fresh untracked snow for days. Or due what many Aspen local skiers due and ski Aspen Mountain the day of the storm where you can get in thousands of vertical feet by skiing top to bottom runs on the Silver Queen Gondola, then the next day head over to Aspen Highlands and hike laps on Highlands Bowl. “The Bowl” as it is known to locals is extreme terrain that needs extra snow mitigation to open, this often means it will open the day after a huge snow storm, effectively giving skiers in Aspen two powder days from one.
While skiing powder is an amazing experience, many locals and visitors alike love to ski on the warm sunny spring days. Aspen Mountain is home to some of the best bump skiing in the world, due to the few tourists, and the fact that so many locals get out and ski every day, runs that are not groomed and allowed to become bumped, have bumps that are formed perfectly by the expert skiers that call Aspen home. During warmer spring days these bumps become soft and are as easy as butter to ski for the fit, advanced skier.
If skiing bumps is not your thing, then head over to Snowmass for amazing tree skiing in Powerline Glades on what is known as the Big Burn area of Snowmass Mountain. Or take the Poma to the highest lift served ski terrain in Colorado and take a thrilling run down the Cirque Headwall, double black expert terrain in a wide open bowl.
If you are just learning to ski then Buttermilk would be your destination, with acres of perfectly groomed corduroy beginner and intermediate runs, and a world class ski school Buttermilk may be the best place to learn to ski in Colorado. Not to mention it is at a slightly lower terrain making it a bit easier to breath, and with all the expert skiers on Aspen and Highlands you will not have high speed skiers startling you. Buttermilk is also home to the ESPN Winter X Games for over 10 years, this has resulted in the building of one of the most advanced extreme skiing venues for slope style and half pipe enthusiasts anywhere. If you want to go big this is the ski area for you.
With so many different types of terrain available, as well as so many different kinds of ski conditions, having one ski to fit them all is really not possible. This fact combined with the high cost of traveling with ski gear makes renting skis very attractive option, even if you have your own gear at home. In fact many skiers are choosing to not even buy skis anymore and just rent when on vacation. Or buy skis that fit the terrain of where they live and then rent from one of the great ski shops in Aspen while on vacation there.
Choosing which skis to rent depends on a number of factors, it may be best to check in with a local expert at the shop and get feedback on what the current conditions are like. They will also be able to assist you with the right rental skis based on the type of terrain you want to ski and the right skis to rent for which mountain you will be visiting that day. When in Aspen one great shop that is one of the local’s favorite is Hamilton Sports, owned and operated by Bill Miller and a great crew of die hard skiers. Bill himself was a competitive speed racer competing around the globe.
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