This humble mountain has a wonderful laid-back local’s feel while boasting some of the steepest terrain in Colorado. Leave the tourists behind at Buttermilk or the groomers on Snowmass and come to Highlands to get your fill of steeps, trees, and hiking terrain. Highlands is not necessarily for the faint of heart—only 18% of the mountain terrain is green, while 52% of terrain is rated black or double black, which is perfectly fine for valley locals or in-the-know skiers who happily shred Highland’s uncrowded slopes. Looking to work up a sweat? Hike the famous Highlands Bowl from the top of Loge Peak in order to marvel at a gorgeous view of the Maroon Bells from the top and access a skiable vertical descent of 4,342 feet. In the mood for more of a mellow day? Get your turns off of the mid-mountain Cloud 9 lift. Aspen Highlands provides a quintessential Colorado experience and is not to be missed.

Pro Tips

  • A free snowcat can cut the Highlands Bowl hiking distance by a third, making it around a 45 minutes to an hour hike. Ask the snowcat driver if you can sit in the passenger seat, and pick his or her brain about their favorite lines in the bowl.
  • On holiday weekends, the Ritz-Carlton at the base often does a pig roast and serves up cheap, mouth-watering pulled pork plates and sandwiches.
  • At the end of the day, take fast cruiser laps off of Thunderbowl Lift with your friends before hitting up après-ski at the base.
  • Recommended Season(s): February and early March seem to bring the best snow, short lift lines, and very thin crowds.

    —Annie Brewster

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