Aspen Mountain

The Ultimate Guide to Aspen Mountain, Colorado

Written by Jack Lee  • Last updated Oct 21, 2017
Photos by Greg and Heather Burke

Aspen Mountain or “Ajax”, first opened in 1946, and is the flagship venture of the Aspen Skiing Company which has now expanded into a complex of four ski areas. Aspen is collectively known as a “skier’s mountain” as the terrain primarily appeals to intermediates with nearly half the runs rated blue and the remainder to be carved up by advanced and extreme skiers. If it’s your first time skiing, best to head down to its sister resorts Snowmass and Buttermilk across town.

Big day ahead on the mountain

The Mountain

Aspen Mountain first gained international attention when it hosted the 1950 World Championships. The course was set along a stretch of terrain you can still ski on to this very day. This notoriety placed focus on what was once a sleepy mountain town to the ski hub that it is today. The mountain and the town are practically one as they meld seamlessly from flat, municipal grid to an intertwined network of mountain runs. From the top of Aspen Mountain, you can see the peaks of Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands as well as the 14,000 plus feet pinnacles of Castle Peak and Pyramid Peak.

Amazing views cruising back to town

If you like the idea of really putting your legs through a workout, you can ride the mountain from top to bottom in just one chairlift trip, with the longest route stretching out over 3 miles. Duck in and out of the trees to find hidden memorials and shrines amongst the trees, paying homage to pop culture icons such as Hunter S. Thompson, John Denver, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe and many others.

When to Go

Ski season on Aspen Mountain generally begins in late November during Thanksgiving weekend and goes through late March - sometimes stretching into April. The crowds start flooding in Christmas week and the party continues until the end of January as the town comes alive for the Wintersköl festival and the X Games. But if you’re only there for the mountain, the slopes are deserted during the X Games though it’s still considered peak season for lodging.

Things get busy during the X Games

If you’re a powder hound, the best months to ski or ride Aspen Mountain are December, January and February. That said, March and April are Colorado’s snowiest months, so even if you arrive late in the season there are still freshies to go around – though the snow tends to be a little heavier, turning into compact powder near the tail end of the season. For a good balance of sun, snow and quiet, February is good bet!

Lift Tickets

The rule of thumb for getting the most out of your lift ticket investment is to plan ahead, buy in bulk and avoid the Christmas holiday. The prices are in constant flux depending on the time of season, but we find that the best value is in multi-day tickets purchased at least one week in advance. Avoid the premium on walk-up rates! Check out the most current pricing and promotions here. Whether you’ve settled for a day pass or a season pass, it’s valid on all Aspen resorts, so if you get bored of Ajax, it’s just a matter of driving down to the road to either Highlands, Buttermilk or Snowmass!

If you’re planning to do a bit more travelling before the season ends, especially to Salt Lake City, then you might want to consider the Mountain Collective Pass, which covers pretty much all the top resorts in UtahAlta, Snowbird and Snowbasin.

Overall Rating

3.7 / 5 based on 35 reviews
Accessibility
Food
For Beginner
For Intermediate
For Advanced
For Expert
Sidecountry
Backcountry
Fresh Snow
Facilities
Activities
Nightlife
Family Friendliness
Nick Green from Colorado

Trees runs for days, some of the best bumps in the country, no beginner runs, ski right into town, amazing views, access to three other mountains, and it's not a Vail resort.

Posted on Oct 17, 2017
Stacy from Iowa

The scenery was absolutely magnificent. The natural beauty especially when the snow falls so softly in the evening is breathtaking.

Posted on Dec 17, 2013

Elevation

Base
7946 feet
Base
Summit
11214 feet
Summit
Vertical Drop
3268 feet
Vertical Drop

Lifts

Gondola & Tram
1
Gondola & Tram
High Speed Quad
1
High Speed Quad
Quad Chairs
2
Quad Chairs
Triple Chair
1
Triple Chair
Double Chairs
3
Double Chairs

Terrain

Beginner Runs
0 %
Beginner Runs
Intermediate Runs
48 %
Intermediate Runs
Advanced Runs
26 %
Advanced Runs
Expert Runs
26 %
Expert Runs
Total Runs
76
Total Runs
Terrain Parks
0
Terrain Parks
Longest Run
3 miles
Longest Run
Skiable Terrain
675 acres
Skiable Terrain
Snowmaking Area
210 acres
Snowmaking Area

Opening and closing dates

Season Open Date Close Date
2017/2018 11/24/2017 (estimated) 04/20/2018 (estimated)
2016/2017 11/27/2016 04/23/2017
2015/2016 11/21/2015 04/17/2016
2014/2015 11/22/2014 04/19/2015

Ski Resorts in Aspen Snowmass