Since I started skiing ten years ago my experience has been limited to the ski resorts of the European Alps. I’ve come to expect long lines, surly staff and crowded runs. On my recent trip to Aspen, Colorado, though, I was amazed at the lack of all three of these annoyances.
A couple of friends and I visited the first weekend of January, surely one of the busiest times of the year, and we were blown away by how deserted the mountains were in comparison to Europe. We never had to queue for the lift and, what’s more, we didn’t have to constantly dodge around slower skiers or scoot out of the way of those going faster than us. Perhaps Americans who are used to empty slopes wouldn’t notice this, but for those accustomed to European slopes it was unbelievable.
When we arrived we were tempted to head straight for Aspen Mountain as we’d heard it was the best for intermediate/advanced runs, but only two of the four of us were confident to tackle a black run. Instead we went out to Snowmass, the largest of the four skiing areas around Aspen.
I’m glad we did. Snowmass offered everything for every skill level. Me and my buddy, both pretty experienced and confident on the slopes, headed out to the mogul runs while the other two, both on their second skiing trips, stuck to the family friendly gentle slopes where they could work on their skills. By the end of the week they were both joining us out on the more challenging runs – they’re not perfect, but at least they weren’t tumbling over every ten feet.
Here’s a top tip: the Two Creeks Mexican Cafe at Snowmass has the best Mexican food I’ve found anywhere in the lower 48. You can’t beat fajitas at the top of a mountain!