Aspen Highlands

Overview of Aspen Highlands, Colorado

Written by Greg and Heather Burke
Photos by Greg and Heather Burke

Aspen Highlands is reputed with Colorado's best steep, big-mountain, in bounds skiing. Highland Bowl being the highlight, but here so much more to this mountain. You start your ski day on the Exhibition high speed quad to mid mountain - the Merry-Go-Round. From here ride the Loge Peak lift to the highly scenic summit to ski beautiful groomers like Meadows and Kandahar or drop down off the ridge to steeper less manicured Garmisch, St Moritz and Chamonix. The Cloud 9 Chair serves more blues like Gunbarrel and Grand Prix, and more edgy Moment Chutes and Olympic Bowl.  Glade skiers will love the steep snow-filled trees of Deep Temerity. 

For the ultimate challenge, hit Highland Bowl after checking in with incredibly knowledgeable Patrol at PHQ on Loge Peak - this vast 1,040 acre in-bounds backcountry style ski adventure is high-elevation 12,392' and high excitement factor. Accessing this extreme terrain requires a significant hike from atop Loge Peak (700' vert). The 20-40 minute hike is strenuous but worth it (though it's even better to catch the cat for a ride which shuttles skiers on the hiking path on occasion). Highland Bowl has countless steep chutes, G 1-8, G Force, White Kitchen, Steep N Deep are few. The big powdery bowl skiing funnels you back to Deep Temerity to catch your breath, a serious vertical run. 

Well placed lifts and gorgeous views of the Maroon Bells will keep you occupied at Highlands for several days. Highlands does have nice scenic intermediate terrain mid-mountain down to the compact ski village at Highlands Base, but it does not have the best beginners mountain terrain like Buttermilk and Snowmass both offer. Skiing back to Aspen Highlands Village on Golden Horn, the race trail, is a fun way to end your Aspen Highlands ski day. Aspen Highland Village is anchored by a few ski shops around a pedestrian plaza, Highlands Ale House, and the Ritz Carlton Aspen Highlands with a slopeside restaurant Willow Creek. 

For lunch at Highlands, we recommend you ski into Cloud 9, one of Aspen's best restaurants. This classic European mid mountain chalet serves traditional fondue and raclette with a spectacular view. Make a reservation, it's uber popular, and pricey too. Cloud 9 also get uber rowdy in the afternoon when the music cranks up and the Champagne corks fly. The Veuve Clicquot ice bar on the deck is highly scenic and happening on a sunny ski day. It's après ski before you're done skiing since you still mid mountain at 10,825’, their slogan is "ski in, dance out." 

Aspen locals love Highlands, especially on Wednesdays when they get free parking, otherwise its pay in the underground lot, and free coffee and muffins. Closing Day at Highlands is also one of the biggest best ski parties - costumes and mayhem ensue.

A ski vacation to Aspen should including skiing at Ajax - Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, and Aspen Highlands, maybe skip Buttermilk (home of the Winter X-Games) unless you love parks. Aspen Highlands is just a three-mile drive from downtown Aspen. See our ski review of these Aspen ski resorts and consider a day or two skiing around Aspen, there’s a shuttle system. Staying downtown Aspen is beautiful and bustling with après ski activity, shopping, drinking, dogs, people watching near Prada. You can stay at St Regis, Hotel Jerome, Little Nell, or The Limelight Hotel Aspen. Aspen is one of the best Western Ski Towns with great authenticity and a strong alpine history.

Overall Rating

4.5 / 5 based on 11 reviews
Jordan Crowe from Colorado

Aspen Highlands is an awesome mountain to go to when there is a fresh powder day! Had the best day of riding in my life with 18” of snow the night before and night of. They don’t have a ton of runs compared to Snowmass but it is definitely work checking out! Also, going to the peak is an experience in itself!

Posted on Oct 11, 2017
John from Michigan

The terrain. Highlands bowl. The cruise runs. Deception. This area has it all. I do miss 5 towers. I have skied all over the rockies, both US and Canada, Zermatt SW, and I always come home to the highlands. As a mid-west skier, I always find great snow, good food, and a great value. The area has changed in the last 30 years, but the skiing has stayed the same, world class. John Bach, Alpine Senior, NSP

Posted on Mar 29, 2013

Elevation

Base
8041 feet
Base
Summit
11677 feet
Summit
Vertical Drop
3636 feet
Vertical Drop

Lifts

High Speed Quads
3
High Speed Quads
Triple Chairs
2
Triple Chairs

Terrain

Beginner Runs
18 %
Beginner Runs
Intermediate Runs
30 %
Intermediate Runs
Advanced Runs
16 %
Advanced Runs
Expert Runs
36 %
Expert Runs
Total Runs
122
Total Runs
Terrain Parks
0
Terrain Parks
Longest Run
3 miles
Longest Run
Skiable Terrain
1040 acres
Skiable Terrain
Snowmaking Area
121 acres
Snowmaking Area

Opening and closing dates

Season Open Date Close Date
2017/2018 12/12/2017 (estimated) 04/18/2018 (estimated)
2016/2017 12/10/2016 04/09/2017
2015/2016 12/12/2015 05/01/2016
2014/2015 12/13/2014 04/12/2015

Ski Resorts in Aspen Snowmass