Aspen is one of the top ski resorts in America, based around the town of Aspen, but actually comprised of the "Power of Four" ski resorts—Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, each of which offer a different ski experience.

The first lift was opened shortly after World War 2, and Aspen hasn't looked back. Aspen Mountain is right above the town, its access lifts starting yards from the main street. But most of the slopes covered by the ski pass are a bus ride away. Around 3km away are Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands. Buttermilk has the Inn at Aspen hotel at the base, and is the true beginners area. Highlands has a limited amount of lodging (including the very smart Ritz Carlton Club), and is a great source of challenging options, including Highlands Bowl. Snowmass, 14km away, is a little resort beneath a big mountain not too far away, and offers varied terrain suited for everyone. Between them, they offer 5,517 acres of terrain served by 43 lifts, eight parks and 336 trails.

Lack of crowds is part of the appeal of America in general, but in Aspen the quiet slopes are particularly impressive. Many rich and some famous guests jet in here, and it serves as a second home for many Hollywood stars. The resort is drifting even further upmarket, with ever fewer funky bars and ever more international-brand shops. But, like all other 'glamorous' ski resorts, Aspen is actually filled by ordinary holidaymakers - with such great terrain on offer, there's no reason to be put off

With a permanent population of around 7000, Aspen city itself has plenty going on. Amenities include indoor and outdoor ice skating, a sports complex, bowling and hot-air ballooning. Shopping around the town will offer an eclectic range of shops, a perfect distraction for non skiers. 

Pros

Wonderfully uncrowded slopes

Attractive, characterful old town, with good restaurants and shops

Excellent Aspen Highlands and Snowmass just down the road

Convenient airport on edge of town

Cons

Slopes split over four separate mountains (including Snowmass), served by efficient, free buses

Expensive, and tending to become more so as cheap places disappear

A bit isolated - no other major resorts within easy day-trip distance

Getting there

  • Aspen airport: In resort
  • Denver airport: 3.5 hours
  • Eagle County airport: 1.5 hours

Good For

Ability
  • Advanced
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
In Resort
  • Off The Slopes
  • Village Charm
On Slope
  • Boarder
  • Fast Lifts
  • No Queues
  • Snow Reliability
  • Terrain Parks

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