The beautiful Rocky Mountains, stretching from Northern British Columbia in Canada down through the western United States offer some of the best skiing in the world. One of the biggest resorts in North America, and arguably the most famous is Aspen, Colorado; a name that Andrew Rivkin has long associated with skiing.
The Aspen Ski Resort is made up of four different parts. Known together as Aspen Snowmass is comprised of four mountains: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Together they possess over 5,300 acres of terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels.
With so many choices, the task to plan a day on the mountain can seem daunting, but with a little effort a day on the mountain, any mountain, can be crafted to suit your needs and desires. Andrew has skied all over the resort on each of the four peaks, all of which offer visitors options in terms of difficulty, while maintaining their own unique quality; be sure to check out the trail maps before heading to the slopes.
The peak that Rivkin frequents the most is Aspen Mountain, famous for its black-diamond terrain, dating back to the early days of the mountain in 1947. Inbounds you’ll get a variety of glades, bumps and steeps. For an out-of-bounds experience, Aspen Mountain Powder Tours will hook you up with fresh tracks on the backside. While the mountain hasn’t changed much, there is a new gondola with great views & food at the Sundeck at the summit, where après rivals the skiing and snowboarding. Novices beware as there isn’t much in the way of easy this part of Aspen.
Snowmass meanwhile, offers some beginner trails as well as expert runs, but is best suited for intermediates. Snowmass reaches a height of 4,406 vertical feet, with 3,132 acres of terrain, 91 trails, 21 chairlifts and access to your choice of cruisers, glades, steeps, terrain parks and halfpipes. It also offers a lengthy trail of 8.5 kilometers down and around the mountain.
Aspen Highlands offers some of the most majestic views, and is great for skiers of all levels. With breathtaking 360-degree views of the Maroon Bells and an abundance of expert terrain as well as groomed cruisers, the Highlands have been a locals’ favorite for over 50 years. Andrew loves to hike the 12,392 feet to the summit of Highland Bowl for the ultimate inbounds backcountry rush. Or take the Deep Temerity lift to access the recently-added 237 skiable acres. It all adds up to some of the most challenging big-mountain terrain in North America.
Lastly, be sure to check out Buttermilk, showcasing some of the best wide open runs, and is an ideal location for beginners and intermediates. Rivkin loves the wide-open and gently rolling trails that cater to newbies and families, and it a perfect way to end a long day of skiing. Today it’s famous for hosting the ESPN Winter X Games through 2012 and being voted #1 by Transworld Snowboarding Magazine Reader’s Poll for best park and pipe. The 22-foot superpipe in the legendary terrain park does not disappoint, as many X Games winners, Olympians and up-and-comers can attest.
Aspen truly has everything to offer skiers and snowboarders, and as often as Andrew Rivkin has visited, it always seems there is more to discover and enjoy upon each successive visit.