More than 60 years after dedicating the first chairlift on Aspen Mountain, the Aspen/Snowmass experience continues to get better and better. With 4 mountains, 43 lifts, 5 terrain park, 3 pipes and more than 5,300 recreational acres, no other resort in the world offers so much.
Some of the world’s top adventure athletes call Aspen home, but everyone can get in on the mountain action, from summiting Colorado’s Fourteeners (peaks higher than 14,000 feet), rock climbing on Independence Pass, hiking to wildflower meadows and beautiful alpine lakes, to mountain and biking. Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley offer boundless outdoor activities: skiing and snowboarding, whitewater rafting, fly-fishing, horseback riding, paragliding, snowmobiling, nature tours and more! This week our blog team takes a look at the names, info and facts about the peaks that surround Aspen, Colorado.
HISTORY & FACTS
The Aspen area was originally discovered by the Ute Indians and called “Shining Mountains.” Christened Ute City, the town of 300 residents was renamed Aspen in 1880. One of the largest nuggets of native silver ever found was mined in 1894 in Aspen from the Smuggler Mine. The nugget weighed in at a whopping 2,350 pounds! The town’s elevation is 7,908 feet, and 11,212 feet at the top of Aspen Mountain. The area receives about 200 inches of annual snowfall, and winter daytime temperatures average 20-45 degrees (cooler at night). Summer is ideal – with very low humidity, and highs and lows around 65-85 degrees.
Aspen Mountain is a vertical playground of skiing and snowboarding options. There are double-black and tree runs as well as groomed intermediate cruising runs under Ruthie’s and Ajax Express lifts. Experience all of the beauty inside Aspen Mountain’s Silver Queen Gondola.
Locals call Aspen Highlands their favorite. Rising 3,635 vertical feet, Aspen Highlands offers some of the most challenging skiing in North America. Ski and ride Highlands Bowel with locals as you work on your technique and explore new terrain.
Home of the ESPN Winter X Games, Buttermilk Mountain also welcomes beginners. Less experienced skiers and riders cruise wide, rolling trails while experts job in the terrain parks or the super pipes.
Ride the eight-person Elk Camp Gondola at Snowmass, which will whisk you from Base Village to the top in just 8.5 minutes. Combined with the Village Express six-lack and sky cab gondola, the lift network at Snowmass promises to get you up the mountain almost as fast as you come down. Snowmass boasts, three terrain parks, one super pipe and one mini pipe.
Just outside of Aspen are the Maroon Bells, two peaks in the Elk Mountain that are separated by only a third of a mile. Both peaks are Fourteeners, and the view from the southwest is one of the most visited and photographed destinations in the state. The Maroon Bells are accessible only in the summer, and is closed in the winter.
Drive east out of Aspen along Highway 82 and you’ll experience on of the best high-mountain passes in the Rocky Mountains – Independence Pass. The top (at 12,095 feet) is nestled right on the Continental Divide in the amazing Sawatch Range. Independence Pass is only open during summer months, and is typically closed from November through May.