Located 195 mi west of Denver, Buttermilk and Aspen Snowmass, in general, is relatively far compared to other Colorado big guns such as Vail and Breckenridge. Luckily, the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is conveniently located 1 mi down the road from Buttermilk accessible via Highway 82. United Airlines flies in and out of Aspen’s airport frequently, but American Airlines is often the more cost-effective option. Delta is also an option.
In the very slim chance that your flight gets diverted due to inclement weather, Denver International Airport is located roughly 4 hours drive from the resort. Flights from Denver are generally a bit cheaper, but the discount usually isn’t enough to make up for the 4 extra hours of travel time. If you don’t hire a car, the Epic Mountain Express shuttle can take you from Denver International to Aspen; just note their travel time is approximately 4.5 hours.
The accommodation options at Buttermilk are quite limited so chances are you’ll be staying in the city of Aspen, just 2 mi or 10 minutes drive away. Having your own car, taking a bus or the free shuttle are the most common modes of transport to get to and from Buttermilk. Bear in mind, parking in the Aspen can be a real pain, so keep that into consideration if you plan to rent a car.
Bus from Aspen-Pitkin County Airport
The Roaring Fork Transport Authority (RFTA) operate buses and shuttle buses within Aspen. Visitors can hop aboard the VelociRFTA Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Aspen-Pitkin County airport (up valley direction) to Buttermilk or the city of Aspen. The journey takes less than 5 minutes to Buttermilk and roughly 14 minutes to Rubey Park in Aspen. Tickets can be purchased at the vending machines at the airport. Alternatively, you can hire a private shuttle.
If you choose to stay in Aspen, the RFTA free shuttle bus travels between Aspen City (at Rubey Park) and Buttermilk and departs every 15 minutes. Keep in mind that many other like-minded enthusiasts commute to and from the mountain every day, which can make it pretty crowded during peak hours. The X-Games in mid January attracts thousands of visitors, so plan for delays and cramped busses if you’re traveling by public transit. A RFTA free shuttle runs daily throughout Aspen City and surrounding areas, a great way to explore other places at no cost. If you want to explore a bit further, the RFTA offers a bus that services all four mountains along with a shuttle service to Glenwood Springs for $8.
Taxi & Uber
There are various taxis and Uber drivers operating in the Aspen area, which offer a convenient and flexible means of travel. We find the High Mountain Taxi to be the most reliable. Like any other private ride service, taxis and Ubers are significantly more expensive than travelling by bus or renting a car, so consider your options ahead of time to save yourself time and money.
Renting a car is our first choice of getting around as it’s the most flexible method of transport. Since the city, airport, and mountain are so well connected, renting a car makes it easy to travel when and wherever you’d like. A range of rental agencies can be found throughout the city and at some of the larger hotels but you’ll find the most variety at the airport. Prices vary, but your best bet is to visit outside of holidays to avoid the price hikes. Most modern car rentals offer GPS, but you probably won’t need it.
You can take your chances renting a car without a reservation, but it’s not worth risking a car that doesn’t have the right traction, ski racks, and anything else you might need. Avis, Hertz, National Car Rental, and a few others offer car rentals directly from the airport, so it might make sense to make a reservation before you leave.
Driver’s License: Colorado recognizes driver’s licenses from other countries for visits less than 90 days, while most rental companies require drivers to be over 25. You’ll also need to purchase car insurance from either the rental agency or from your own travel insurance. If you lack winter driving experience, it might be a good idea to use another mode of transport, especially if you’re expecting bad weather during your trip.
All parking at Buttermilk is free, but often limited during peak season. There’s a main lot at the base of Main Buttermilk, which has the most parking spaces. Small lots are available at the West Buttermilk and Tiehack ski areas, though these only have limited day parking. The lots are all easy to find and within walking distance to the lifts. The parking lot at Main Buttermilk is closed during the X-Games, so you might want to catch a bus to avoid missing out on any of the action.
As we mentioned before, parking in Aspen can prove to be quite difficult especially as there are few strict parking regulations.