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Aspen Skiing for Experts

Powder Skiing
26 Dec 2023
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As a resort town with four unique ski mountains, Aspen sees its share of skiers and riders of all levels. Buttermilk’s gentle slopes are ideal for beginners, while Snowmass offers wide-open terrain that is well-suited for most.

For advanced skiers and riders, Aspen offers a world-class experience. With cliffs, steep chutes, tree runs, and bumps, there are plenty of challenges for those looking for an adrenaline rush.

Expert Terrain in Aspen

What exactly classifies as “expert terrain?” Truly expert terrain should challenge and demand attention, offer a new line, entry, and exit point with every lap, and offer the feeling of reaching untouched side-country amazingness.

For skiers looking to test their skills on expert terrain, Aspen delivers. With demanding steeps, amazing ridge skiing, and distinctive town views, Aspen offers thrilling terrain for those looking to push their limits.

Aspen Mountain

Aspen Mountain, or AJAX, is well-known for its steep slopes and moguls. It’s also a haven for experts with some of the best ridge skiing around. 

Face and Back of Bell, the Dumps, and Gentleman’s Ridge are three popular ridge faces, each with glades, moguls, and variable snow conditions, making the runs here a great challenge for even the best skiers. The Dumps area is prime powder day terrain, with everything from perfectly spaced glades and wide-open powder fields to technical chokes through former mining zones. 

Aspen Mountain also just opened 153 acres of expert skiing accessed by a high-speed quad in Hero’s. This new terrain is located on the upper, eastern aspects of Aspen Mountain and features gladed skiing along with moguls.

If speed is your thing, ski the Aztec run where the annual World Cup Winternational Women’s Downhill is held. Adrenaline junkies can also enjoy some truly insane, blood-curdling lines off the International and Traynor ridges, which arguably require the most technical expertise of any runs across all of Aspen Snowmass.

Aspen Highlands

The Highlands Bowl is an in-bounds experience like no other and a favorite among visitors and locals alike. The hike to the bowl ascends 700 vertical feet, but it’s well worth the effort as the views are unbeatable. At the bowl’s summit, look out onto Maroon Creek Valley, Castle Creek Valley, Independence Pass, the Gore Range, and Sopris Mountain.

The softest snow and best lines are in the G zone, so hike to Bowl’s summit and snake along the ridge toward the trees. From here, you can head towards well-spaced, steep glades and small powder fields in G-2 through 5, or straight down the fall line on G-8. 

Boot pack past The Bowl to the Five Finger chutes, a staggering drop off from Highland Ridge into Conundrum Creek. From the Conundrum Creek Trailhead, follow Conundrum Creek Road to the summer trailhead, where Five Fingers can be seen to the west. Crossing the creek can be tricky as snow bridges must be checked for stability, but the views are awe-inspiring. The descent follows the same trail, but take the necessary precautions to look for compact snow as this is avalanche terrain and should be approached cautiously.


Despite its earlier reputation as the cruiser’s mountain, Snowmass offers more difficult trails like Hanging Valley and Cirque. 


Ten different gates lead to Cirque and Burn Cliffs, where skiers and snowboarders can access various routes. With small technical chutes, Burn Cliffs has some of the most extreme open terrain in the area. 

Cirque Headwall, which runs through Cirque, is the highest run on all four mountains and includes glades, rolling pitches, and pillow lines funneling back to the High Alpine lift. If you have the expertise to maneuver through this type of run, it’s a fun and challenging one worth checking out.

Hanging Valley

There are nearly 23 named "runs" and secret stashes in the Hanging Valley Wall's double-black glades, which include cliff band split chutes, gladed runs, and open powder fields. Check out this large area to get lost in extreme terrain. 

Staying in Aspen, Colorado

Staying downtown at Aspen Square allows you to get the most out of your ski vacation in Aspen. Enjoy the convenience of walking to restaurants, events, fun nightlife, and boutique shopping, as well as easy access to the main free skier bus terminal, which will take you to Buttermilk, Snowmass, or Aspen Highlands, with the Aspen Mountain gondola situated only one block away.

Explore our Aspen condo rentals to view our available rentals and plan your vacation. Contact Aspen Square’s Reservations desk ( if you need assistance booking your stay with us. 

Guests can contact our concierge staff ( for advice and assistance in choosing activities, purchasing event tickets, or making restaurant reservations.