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Country: u.s.a. colorado
Domain: aspen/aspen highlands/buttermilk/snowmass
Date: 10th to 17th january 2008
Our holiday: first trip to aspen just me and the wife, aim to spend optimium time on slopes to improve level of skiing
Website : www.aspensnowmass.com/ for all resort info from weather to eating out to booking passes and ski school etc
Basics : travelled with bmi from manchester via chicago to aspen
Lift system : aspen mountain 1 gondola/1 high speed quad/1 high speed double/2 quads/3 doubles
aspen highlands 3 high speed quads/ 2 triples
buttermilk 2 high speed quads/3 doubles/4 ski school lifts
snowmass 1 gondola/1 high speed six seater/6 high speed quads/2 quads/1 triple/4 doubles/6 ski school lifts
the lift system is a bit dated which is a bit of a suprise in such a high class resort, but its so quiet here i never had to wait for more than a minute for any lift. the higher chair lifts at snowmass can be a little uncomfortable if the wind gets up.
The terrain : aspen/ steep and deep with great bump and glade skiing, but also has fast top to bottom blue cruisers. favourite runs back of bell 1 and ruthies run and f.i.s.
aspen highlands/ excellent allround hill with steeps at the top and nice easy blues at mid station. favourite runs steeplechase and the olympic bowl
buttermilk/ probably the best begineers area in the world with perfectly groomed greens and blues all over the hill, but with a seperate area of easy black runs for intermediate skiers, favourite runs everything off the tiehack chair plus red's rover freestyle park
snowmass/ only spent one day here and probably only skied one tenth of the terrian, it has everything steep/deep/moguls/terrian parks/long long cruisers, could of skied for a week and still not seen all snowmass has to offer. favourite runs reidar's moguls and the whole big burn area.
The snow : new snow each morning for the first three days then blue sky days for the next two, finishing with a perfect cold powder day on our last day. the snow is so light and dry it makes your skiing of the steeper slopes a real pleasure
Off-piste : didn't get to hike the bowl which is the real off piste challange in aspen, but this place has so much in bounds ungroomed terrian you can find safe off piste shutes and runs on every mountain, the glade skiing is the best i have ever done and something everyone should try as they have easy glades to try at first then on to the steep glades of snowmass and aspen
The resort : the town of aspen is a rel town with every facility you can imagine, it has a great free bus systems which takes you to all the four mountains day and night
Food : too many to list, the web site has a great page for seeing all the different types of food and styles, our favourites where the local places like little annies and the double dog and steak pit, on the mountain stops are all of good quality, the cliffhouse on buttermilk did a mongolian bbq which was fab and had the most incredible views.
Accommodation : the little nell , slopeside with a ski concierge , very expensive and now we have had a good look around there are loads of very convienent alternatives that do not cost the earth, staying at snowmass would be a great option .
Costs:$486 six day lift pass for all four mountains,great free bus system beer and food about the same as uk high street, but overall good value for money , as you can get in so much skiing with literally no wait times.
Conclusion: this was my first experience of the american rockies and all the hype about the quality of the snow is not exaggerated . i had simply the best skiing holiday of my life so far. aspen is an expensive place to visit but i think with a little research and some good forward planning i could now cut my costs in half. we stayed for a week but would do ten days next time , spilting our stay between snowmass and aspen, and taking the oppertunity to see more of the valley, incuding the beautiful cross country walks and woulld definatly take a snowcat powder skiing trip and hike the highlands bowl. i was lucky enough to have some private ski lessons which gave me an invalueble insight into skiing at aspen, with a quality of instruction which took me from a unconfident intermediate skier to being able to tackle almost all of the expert terrain aspen has to offer in all kinds of conditions.
i will definatly be back there soon
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