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Snowboarding the Four Mountains of Aspen/Snowmass

Posted: 11 Mar 2014

Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass - is an experience like no other. This week, our blog team sits down with Frias Properties' reservation manager Jennifer Steele - our company's resident snowboard aficionado.

Jen began snowboarding in 1996 in New Hampshire and moved to Aspen in 1998. Below, she answers a few of our questions:

Q: Did you find it more difficult, less difficult, or about the same as people had told you? A: "I taught myself and yes, the first few days were interesting. Catching an edge hurts! I would recommend helmet, wrist guard, and padded shorts. There is a saying that it takes 'three days' to learn."

Q: Where was the first place that you snowboarded locally? A: "Snowmass Mountain - almost every day the first year."

Q: Have you snowboarded all four local mountain - Ajax, Buttermilk, Highlands and Snowmass? A: "Yes."

Q: Seriously, what's so special about Aspen/Snowmass and its four ski areas? "On the mountain, you will experience soft powder, consistent fresh snow and beautiful blue-sky days. The locals are great and everyone is here to help! Snacks and hot cider are offered at the gondola. The free bus system [RFTA] to and from locations is the best I've ever experienced. You don't need a car to get around."

Q: Give us a quick review of each one you've been to:

  • Ajax - "Set up as a skiers' mountain. Tighter runs."
  • Buttermilk - "Beginners mountain that holds one of the best expert terrain parks - set up for Winter X Games competitors."
  • Highlands - "Locals favorite - steep and deep. Mostly blue [intermediate] to double black [expert only] runs."
  • Snowmass - "Most diverse, from beginner trails to epic, steep powder runs. The most hidden treasures!"

Q: What are some of your favorite runs?

  • "Rock Island"
  • "The Head Wall"
  • "Naked Lady"
  • "And my favorite back country terrain I'll save. ... You'll have to find it!"

Q: Have you done the Highland Bowl? A: "Yes."

Q: What's the most challenging aspect of the Bowl? A: "If you hike to the top and go skiers' right, it's the easiest route (G5 Zone). If you drop in early before reaching the top of the hike, it is steep! Don't trip."

Q: What kind of board and bindings do you use? A: "Burton."

Q: What's your aEUoedream boardaEU setup? Bindings? Board? (If you had an unlimited budget!) A: "Haven't looked into it much. I can ride anything on these mountains! Give me a sled and some rope!" Watch Jen in action!

Q: OK, I'm a first timer. Give me three things I MUST know before even thinking about snowboarding:

  • "Anyone can do it. You will get down any slope (whether butt or board), it will only make you better next time."
  • "Speed is your friend. Don't panic, learn to control it. If you can stop, there is no problem in riding fast. I guess that means ... learn to stop on a dime!"
  • "Lean back in powder. All weight on back leg and front leg up."
  • "Let your shoulders lead you. You will go where you are looking. ... Don't look at the trees. Look in-between them."

Q: Where do you recommend I start out (which of our 4 local mountains is best for beginners)? A: "Snowmass."

Q: Dude, I totally shred the pow-pow. Where's the advanced snowboarding at? A: "Snowmass, Aspen, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk Terrain park. All four!"

Q: Where's the best terrain park? I want to ride some rails! A: "Buttermilk and Snowmass. Snowmass has a great beginner terrain park as well."

Q: You have two small children. How has snowboarding been coming along with your oldest daughter, Kayla? A: "Not yet, She is 3 and we are starting her on skis. We will probably introduce her to a snowboard next year when she is 4."

Q: What other tips do you have for Moms out there when it comes to getting your little one on the slopes? A: "Kayla learned best watching her older friends practice. Candy and stickers help too! I also had a friend teach her, because 3-year-olds don't listen to their parents." Get more Aspen snowboard rental information to plan your shredding adventures!