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Aspen Highlands: Laid-back big mountain skiing in Aspen

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Generally referred to as the local’s mountain, Aspen Highlands is where we’ve been known to spend most of our winter days.

Aspen Highlands is the most laid-back of the four Aspen mountains and has a wide variety of skiing, from bumps to trees to Highland Bowl.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

We tend to think of the mountain in the areas served by the lifts…

Exhibition lift is a high-speed quad from the base to mid-mountain. The runs served by Exhibition are mostly blues & greens, but there are also some good places to play in the trees.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Thunderbowl lift is just to the left of Exhibition and heads up to the thigh-burners, Golden Horn and Thunderbowl.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Cloud Nine provides access to the center and west side of the mountain. Many days we will simply work our way from the west to the east, run by run.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The views of the Maroon Bells and the Roaring Fork Valley are amazing on this side of the mountain and the skiing is a spectacular mix of intermediate to advanced runs, with a variety of terrain including some nice fast groomers, trees, and moguls.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Loge Peak lift provides access to a mix of blues, blacks, and double blacks. On the front side, blues such as Broadway, Hayden, and Meadows head back down to the Loge lift. Off the east side are the steep Temerity & Steeplechase double black runs, with access back via the Deep Temerity lift, which also serves Highland Bowl.

Aspen Highlands: Hiking the Bowl

Highland Bowl is home to inbounds backcountry skiing, with 1,500+ vertical foot runs starting from 12,392 feet at the summit, with pitches close to 50 degrees.

The hike to the bowl is a 782 vertical ft hike at an altitude that takes about 45 minutes from the top of the Loge Peak lift, with the reward of incredible 360-degree views.

Descent is via one of the 15 designated runs, which are named after ski wax colors, to the base of the Deep Temerity lift.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Aspen Highlands: Eats

Aspen Highlands has multiple drinking and dining options, each with great views, food & fun.

Lunch at Cloud 9, Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Lunch at Cloud 9, Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Just off the top of the Cloud Nine lift is Cloud Nine Bistro. Lunch on the deck on a sunny day at Cloud Nine is heavenly. The views of the Maroon Bells are spectacular and the food, while a little pricey, is superb. Cloud Nine Bistro is not to be missed.

At mid-mountain is the Merry Go Round. Following a facelift in 2011, the Merry Go Round is much brighter and warmer, delivers good food, and now has a nice bar with views up the runs below the Cloud Nine lift. The Portobello burger is super (not really a burger) – and the Wednesday burger and beer special is a great deal.

At the foot of the mountain is Out of Bounds. Good food, great bartenders and, if you are there in the afternoon (as we are most days), grab a beer & and a seat on the patio and watch the ski team practice on Thunderbowl.

Also at the base of Highlands, are Highlands Pizza, with a full bar, really good pizza, sandwiches, salads & burgers & great happy hour specials, and Willow Creek Bistro at the Ritz Carlton Club, serving American fare in a slightly more upscale environment.

Aspen Highlands: The Facts

Aspen Highlands starts at a base elevation of 8040 ft (2,451 m) and tops out at the top of Highland Bowl at 12,392 ft (3,777 m). Its 1,028 acres (416 hectares) contain 118 trails, served by 5 lifts.

18% of the trails are green, 30% are blue, 16% black & 23% are double black. The longest run is 3.5 miles.

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

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