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Aspen Highlands

“Where locals go to get humbled”, this resort has the most formidable terrain of the 4 Aspen mountains and steeps that make grown men cry. A small base doesn’t stop it from having Aspen’s rowdiest après, hard earnt after days hiking up the Highlands Bowl and flying down endless, 2500ft verticals.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • Massive powder bowls • Ski-in/ski-out village • Colorado’s most extreme skiing

Great for: • Experts • Off Piste

“Where locals go to get humbled”, this resort has the most formidable terrain of the 4 Aspen mountains and steeps that make grown men cry. A small base doesn’t stop it from having Aspen’s rowdiest après, hard earnt after days hiking up the Highlands Bowl and flying down endless, 2500ft verticals.

Aspen Highlands Resort

Huddled away from the paparazzi, high up in the Maroon Creek canyon, Aspen Highlands is packed with serious skiers and laid-back locals. Don’t expect Cartier or caviar like you would in Aspen Aspen, but if you’re into mixing with dedicated skiers and celebrating with the odd splash of champagne (the fact you’ve made it down a 48 degree pitch alive that is…), it will rub you up the right way. For a small resort, the après here can get intense and the famed Cloud 9 Bistro is the no 1 purchaser of Veuve Clicquot on the continent…

Highlands also happens to have THE most intense skiing in Colorado state. Whether you’re revving things up on 2500ft verticals or playing in powder in the Highland Bowl, the fact locals come here to “get humbled” should tell you something.

You’ll certainly need to concentrate on the way down, but take a few rest stops to lap up the landscapes. At 12,392ft, this is also the highest Aspen mountain and whether you’re trekking up to Highland Peak or sticking to the more forgiving runs from the Loge lifts area, you’ll be able to cruise for miles under the gaze of the American West’s most recognizable peaks, the Maroon Bells.

Highlands is one of 4 resorts in the Aspen umbrella, and there’s a free shuttle from here to sprawling Snowmass and big, bling Aspen proper. Some choose to commute from those to this resort’s legendary freshies. But if you’re happy with a handful of shops, pubs and apartments, the ski-in/ski-out base village will keep you fed and watered, and can be one of the cheapest places to take a ski tour of the Aspen mountains from.

Stats & FAQ

Location: Colorado, USA

Established: 1958

Open: December - April

Downhill: 1028 acres / 118 runs

View our detailed Aspen Highlands snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Aspen Highlands snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE)4 miles, 10 minutes
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 18%

  • 30%

  • 52%

Top Altitude:11,678ft / 3559m
Bottom Altitude:8040ft / 2450m
Resort Altitude:8040ft / 2450m
Longest run:3.5 miles / 5.6km
Slope Orientation:N E W
Vertical Drop:3638ft / 1109m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

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Web Cam

Aspen Highlands web cams
Downhill Runs:1028 acres / 118 runs
Beginner slopes:18%
Intermediate:30%
Advanced slopes:52%
Lift Pass Price: $145 (adult single day pass)
Nearby resorts: Aspen, Snowmass, Buttermilk

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Aspen Highlands

What brings most skiers to Highlands is the dramatic, just-above-the-timberline summit of 12,300ft Highland Peak, but this resort’s super-stretched vertical has thrills for all abilities and 1000 challenging acres on which to up your ski skills.

Complete first-timers will probably be better off on Buttermilk Mountain’s shorter, rolling slopes or in Snowmass’s learn-to-ski zones, but a second or third-timer will definitely enjoy themselves at Highlands. There are tonnes of friendly trails off the Exhibition lift, with enough pitch to take you out of your comfort zone and into intermediate skiing in no time. Start with Apple Strudel and progress from Prospector to the T-Lazy-7 Catwalk, the start of a winding green route to base.

The Cloud 9 lift is the main intermediate hangout, climbing to the top of a sea of blues. Upper Robinson’s, Pyramid Park, Grand Prix and Gunbarrel are all great cruisers that see regular grooming. Test out this area’s famed moguls on Scarlett’s Run and don’t be put off Loge Peak by all the black runs there – blue Broadway cuts a scenic route from the top. If this starts to get old, avail yourself of the free shuttle to Snowmass. Trails here and the other 3 Aspen mountains can be accessed on a single lift ticket.

It’s thanks to the Highland Bowl, no question, that this resort makes the bucket lists of expert skiers around the world. This features steep backcountry-style terrain in an open bowl, with pitches so steep they’ll make your knees knock like never before. Much of the expert terrain is accessed only by a slight hike from the top of Loge Peak, but this helps to keep the crowds away and the freshies fresh. A snowcat cuts the journey down by 15 minutes, but there’s still 30 minutes to the top (not easy if you’ve yet to get acclimatised to the altitude). Persevere and you reap the powder rewards. From the top there are nearly 20 lines so long your quads will give out before the bottom, each of which funnels toward the Deep Temerity lift back up to the Loge Peak lift (to do it all over again). If it all gets a little intense hiking to the peak, duck out onto the Y Zone, insanely beautiful skiing just 10 minutes along the ridge and largely ignored in favour of the glory of the bowl. Elsewhere on the hill, the Steeplechase area is also plenty challenging, largely cause of the size of the Volkswagen bumps, and Olympic Bowl also has some fabulous bump runs. Let’s be honest, a resort where 48% of runs are rated expert is not going to disappoint.

Aspen Highlands Apres Ski

For a village that could pass as a hamlet, Highlands sure knows how to throw a party. The famously raucous Cloud Nine Bistro blows up at the end of a ski day with dancing on (and falling off) tables… This has become so legendary as “North America’s greatest dance party”, chances are you’ll need to book a table to dance on for lunch. We’re sure Will Ferrell did when he visited… If you make it back to base, the beer keeps flowing at the Highlands Ale House, where friendly bartenders keep everyone beaming. It helps that this was formerly the Highlands Pizza Company and, so locals tell us, makes the best pizzas in Aspen.

For dinner, onsite dining options consist of BLTS at your apartment, wraps and tacos at the Taqueria, pizzas at the Alehouse or the Ritz Carlton’s swish Willow Creek Bistro. But don’t miss heading back up to Cloud 9 on a snowcat dining experience to tuck into all the best European noms like raclette, fondue and strudel. If cabin fever does kick in at Highlands, the free shuttle runs until gone 1am to ferry you to famed Aspen institutions like Jimmy’s or the Ajax Tavern.

If you’d choose getting out in the great outdoors over fireside fun, Aspen’s snowshoe tours through the Ashcroft ghost town, challenging fat biking rides up to the Maroon Bells or paragliding off Aspen Mountain for a bird’s eye of the world famous town should all keep you on your toes.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Aspen Highlands

When is the best time to ski Aspen Highlands?

Snow density at Highlands, as in most of Colorado, is as light as it gets and the hike-to terrain in the Highlands Bowl often sees good proper powder even after modest snowfalls. An average of 7.6 metres (300 inches) of snow a season throughout the ski area is very respectable and thanks to high altitude (all runs above 8000ft), low ski traffic and 50% of slopes being north facing, snow preservation is excellent, lasting late into the season.

Peak Dates

If enjoying a white Christmas in Aspen Highlands isn’t festive enough for you, downtown will get you in the Xmas mood. Aspen’s 12 Days of Christmas events leave no festive stone unturned including cookies and cocoa with Santa, tree lighting celebrations, ugly sweater parties and free après ski films and cider, on the first day….

It’s like Aspen town has been waiting all year for the new one… Look out for the famed Dom Perignon Parties at the Little Nell, family fireworks and themed bashes left, right and centre. The perfect New Year in Aspen Highlands? Skiing all day, hitting up Cloud 9 for après then sprucing up for a trip downtown. Of course, you could just hit the hay early in Highlands and have the Bowl to yourself on the 1st.

You probably didn’t know how quiet this holiday could get until you’ve skied Half Term in Aspen Highlands. For a relaxing week with the option of the action going on downtown, this is the place.

Views of the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak are all the more awesome when bathed in sun for Easter in Aspen Highlands, and high altitude usually ensures you don’t pay for the privilege with slush. With any luck, Easter week will coincide with the Schneetag event, when teams plummet downhill in homemade rafts and attempt to skim the water of a specially built pond in costume…

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Families in Aspen Highlands

Highlands isn’t known as a family mountain like Snowmass or Buttermilk, but save it for a ski trip when your young ones are strong skiers, and you’ll have a blast on all the super fun black diamond terrain here.

The compact base village works well for families, as you never have to travel very far from accommodation to lifts in ski boots. Meanwhile mountain restaurants like Merry-go-round are just the ticket for informal lunches on a sunny deck. Even Cloud 9 is a sweet spot for a family fondue by a wood-burning fire, just be sure to head for an earlier sitting before the champagne corks start flying...

Just 3 miles away, downtown Aspen has a tonne of fun for nippers, like the waterslides and lazy river at the Aspen Rec Center, which also runs rock climbing lessons and youth art classes.

GroupsGroup Holidays Aspen Highlands

Whether you live for the snow or are a group of newbies looking to up the ante, this resort’s extended fall lines, quiet slopes and the massive terrain of the Highland Bowl are sure to please. Its condos are also one of the cheaper ways to ski tour Aspen’s awesomeness. Only 3 miles from the famous Aspen town and connected by a free shuttle that usually runs till 2am, moving back and forth between the two means you’ll have a million options for eating and activities, with very little hassle.

On the slopes, the hike to the Bowl passes quicker when you have SNO mates to talk you through it, and after a long day of thoroughly earning your turns, nothing beats a blow-out meal and a boogie at 11,000ft Cloud Nine before a wobbly ride down to bed (or the Alehouse…).

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