Aspen Highlands in Colorado is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Aspen Highlands, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
The BasicsAspen Highlands, part of the Aspen/Snowmass winter complex along with Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass, enjoys 360-degree views of the Maroon Bell peaks in the Elk Mountains of northwestern Colorado. With some of the most challenging big-mountain terrain in the country as well as plenty of groomed trails for intermediate and beginner skiers, Aspen Highlands has become a favorite mountain among locals. The Aspen/Snowmass Resort is located 220 miles from the Denver International Airport and is accessible via weekly flights into Aspen or Eagle airports.
The MountainAspen Highlands is made up of 1,028 acres of terrain on the slopes of the 12,392-foot-tall Highland Bowl that features a 3,635-foot vertical drop. The typical season runs from early December through late April, during which time the mountain receives an average annual snowfall of 300 inches. The mountain offers everything from long, groomed cruisers to extreme backcountry steeps. The Highland Bowl alone represents some of the best skiing in the Rocky Mountains, according to Away.com.
Trails And LiftsThe 118 total trails on the slopes of Aspen Highlands include 18 percent designated as easy, 30 percent as more difficult, 16 percent as most difficult and 36 percent as expert, making it a top-notch destination for intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders. The mountain has 84 miles of trails, with the longest running 3 1/2 miles. Skiers looking for an inbound backcountry experience can hike to the summit of the Highland Bowl or take the Deep Temerity lift to access an additional 237 acres of skiable terrain. Five lifts -- two triples and three high-speed quads -- shuttle skiers to the various trailheads.
In The NewsEach year Chris Davenport, Aspen/Snowmass team member and one of the world's most accomplished big-mountain skiers, hosts the Helly Hansen Battle in the Bowls. During the annual competition, teams of two race across the many bowls of Aspen Highlands as GPS devices track their progress. The Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race challenges teams of two in a mountaineering race that encompasses all the Aspen/Snowmass Mountains, including Highlands. X Games gold medalist and Olympic silver medalist Gretchen Bleiler, world champion skier Chris Davenport and five-time X Games participant Steele Spence are among the athletes who ski and board for Team Aspen/Snowmass.
CostTwo-day lift tickets range from $138 for children ages 7 to 12 to $206 for adults ages 18 to 64. Tickets are available at discounted prices when purchased seven days in advance or when purchased along with rentals or lessons. Regular skiers and boarders can purchase season passes starting at $399 for seniors older than 70. Four-Mountain Sports, Aspen/Snowmass' rental shop, rents sports, deluxe and premium ski packages and deluxe and premium snowboard packages starting at $44.95 per day. Children and adult helmets are also available for rent. Novice skiers and boarders or those looking to improve their technique can sign up for group or private lessons, ranging from $107 for a group children's lesson to $655 for a full-day private lesson.
Apres-SkiAt resorts as big and glamorous as Aspen/Snowmass, after-skiing hot spots are just as exciting as the slopes. Dining at the Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro means dining at 10,740 feet with a menu that rotates daily. The Merry-Go-Round, located midmountain, serves organic and vegetarian foods made from locally grown ingredients. Other options include Crust for pizza and Italian, Out of Bounds for casual American and the Willow Creek Bistro for elegant American and Continental bistro-style cuisine. Celebrity spotting is always a possibility at the 39 Degrees bar at Sky Hotel.
WATCH: Aspen Highlands
Cruise the slopes of Aspen Highlands from top to bottom in eight minutes.