The ski areas are separate, with only one (Aspen Mountain), accessible from the town via the recently refurbished six-seater Silver Queen gondola. The four mountains can be split according to skiing ability; Aspen Highlands for advanced, Buttermilk for beginners, and Aspen Mountain for strong intermediates. Snowmass, a short drive away, is the biggest of all the mountains and offers meandering blues, perfect for the intermediate. The resort is proud of its showbiz links and has even named one of its trails Rocky Mountain High, after the John Denver hit. Service is superb, with Ski Ambassadors always on the lookout for someone to assist on the slopes. And if you can't be bothered to lug your skis back to your accommodation, you can have them looked after, and pick them up next day.
Since the lifting of the ban in 2001, Aspen has taken its place among the best boarding resorts in the USA. Boarders are finally welcome on Aspen Mountain, with a fun park and some excellent tree runs. The best board park is on Buttermilk, with its huge half-pipe that hosts the ESPN Winter X Games annually, and a terrain park that includes over 40 rails and jumps. Snowmass has also developed 3 terrain parks with the Snowmass Pipeline Park offering a super-pipe and over 30 hits or rails for intermediate and advanced riders, whilst Makaha and Scooper Parks feature a mini-pipe and a series of easier rails for beginners.
Every conceivable type of technique is taught, from bumps, powder and carving to telemarking and women-only lessons! The new Wizard Ski Deck is an indoor simulator which tests your technique. Children are well catered for too with day-care and babysitting available from the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. Lessons are certainly a must for skiers of all abilities and if the cost is an issue listen to this quote from an instructor at Aspen: "Lessons do cost money but unlike most gifts, what a ski-lesson gives you stays with you for life!"