Friday, February 3, 2012

Thursday Adventure: Skiing Aspen Highlands

Sorry there wasn't a book rec post this week - I just returned to work after taking some time off (so I could squeeze a few precious full days of writing in during the 3 days a week my son is in preschool), and that's always a recipe for an insanely long task list.  Looking out the window at work, I can see the snow-covered high peaks of the Rockies...and oh, how I long to ski them!  In my pre-baby days, I used to rack up 30 ski days a season.  Right now I'm lucky if I manage 5.  (Believe me, that will change soon as my son is old enough to be enrolled in ski school.)  But since it's the heart of ski season and I'm jonesing for a day on the slopes, this week's adventure showcases pics from a ski trip I did a few years back to Aspen Highlands in central Colorado. 
View of Pyramid Peak (left) and the Maroon Bells (right) from Aspen Highlands
Aspen Highlands is one of the four major resorts near Aspen, CO (Ajax, Snowmass, and Buttermilk are the other three).  The views of the Elk Range are spectacular, especially of the famous Maroon Bells peaks that often are used to symbolize Colorado (they're on the CO state quarter).  For a skier like myself that loves the steeps, Highlands offers a great opportunity for what they call "in-bounds backcountry skiing" (how's that for an oxymoron!).  Basically, the resort provides avalanche control and allows skiers to hike to the summit of 12,392 Highlands Bowl to ski wholly ungroomed natural terrain.  The hike is steep but short (only about 30 minutes, though it feels longer when you're kickstepping in ski boots and hauling skis on your back!), and the steep, powdery north-facing slopes are well worth the effort.  The steepest run has a pitch of 48 degrees - steep enough you can touch the slope with your hand while standing up straight.
Me (in front), my husband (next), and friends hiking to the summit of Highlands Bowl
Aspen Highlands isn't my favorite Colorado ski resort (that honor goes to Telluride) or even the steepest (that would be Crested Butte), but the terrain and views are both excellent and the mountain is far less crowded than the resorts closer to Denver.  Soon as our son is old enough to really enjoy a ski trip, my husband and I plan on going back.

My husband Robert charging down a slope


  1. If I was on a mountain that steep, putting on skis would be the most dangerous thing I could do. :-)

    But thanks for the views - Maine's got just a few bumpy hills compared to Colorado.

  2. Glad you enjoyed the pics! And hey, I hear the Katahdin area is beautiful in Maine (and Mount Katahdin has some steep mixed ice/rock climbing routes in winter!).

    I always think it's funny how I'll happily ski down slopes that would make my palms sweat if I tried to hike down them in summer. (But snow is much softer than rock - at least out west where we have powder and not that bulletproof ice people ski on out east! - so perhaps it's not so strange!)

  3. Sorry, was busy on thursday and my trip to Iowa and connection problems meant I only got to see this today.

    That first picture is gorgeous and is the kind of picture I want to take when visiting Colorado...

  4. Hi Courtney,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about the Aspen Highlands to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)