With four world-class ski resorts offering different types of terrain, Aspen Snowmass is an ideal destination for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. If you are just starting, Aspen Snowmass offers professional classes by world-class instructors to help get you started. Choose between group classes, private instruction, or even freestyle clinics to get the most out of your experience.
Our Guide to the Four Mountains
Nestled in the Roaring Fork Valley, the four resorts of Aspen Snowmass include Snowmass, Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain, and Aspen Highlands. Each mountain hosts its own variety of terrain and appeals to riders and skiers alike. Aspen Snowmass skiing for beginners is available at all 4 mountains, but Snowmass and Buttermilk are recommended for first-timers. Their variety of terrain for beginners and “bunny slope” area are ideal to help you get your bearings while you learn to navigate through the snow.
Snowmass is the most popular of the 4 mountains with over 3,300 acres of terrain for skiers and snowboarders, including wide-open bowls and endless lifts. Snowmass also features the most on-mountain restaurants as well as a large base village with additional dining and ski-in/ski-out amenities.
This large resort boasts a well-renowned ski and snowboard school as well as wide open terrain to test your skills, making Snowmass skiing for beginners ideal. It’s well-suited for people of all skills and levels, but it’s a great location for first-time skiers and riders.
Considered the beginner’s mountain, Buttermilk offers gentle slopes and is the smallest mountain. Aspen Snowmass skiing for beginners is ideal at Buttermilk, as it offers wide-open learning areas and progressive terrain parks. Buttermilk is the smallest village of the 4 resorts and the only one that offers free up-front parking. It has also been home to the winter X-games for the past 22 consecutive years!
Beginners at Buttermilk can start off skiing or riding at the main base area where the ski school meets. This area also boasts an area for rentals as well as a magic carpet area (a moving conveyor belt that transports skiers and riders), and a beginner chair lift.
Aspen Mountain, known to locals as Ajax, is ideal for experienced skiers and riders with steeper, more advanced runs. The mountain features a variety of terrain, including lots of bumps (moguls) and groomers (trails that have been groomed and smoothed over.) If you are looking for the best Aspen skiing for beginners, it is better to consider Aspen Mountain for return visits when you have gained experience and hope to challenge yourself.
Similarly, Aspen Highlands tends to be the experienced locals’ choice with the infamous Highland Bowl as well as lots of double blacks (runs that are the steepest and most difficult; intended for experienced skiers and riders only).
Tips for a Successful Visit
Aspen Snowmass skiing for beginners is an enjoyable experience, but you need to know a few tips to ensure that your visit goes smoothly.
1. Book a lesson
While group or private instruction is not a requirement, it is a solid investment for your first time on the slopes. Professional instruction can be invaluable in getting you started on the right path.
Group lessons will allow you to learn with others at your skill level, and professional instructors know what methods are successful; meanwhile, private lessons will give you more personalized instruction tailored to your skill level and ability.
2. Know your equipment
If you are a beginner skier or snowboarder, then chances are you don’t have your own equipment. You can rent your equipment on-site to make things easy, but it’s best to make sure you have a reservation. If you have rented equipment elsewhere, make sure all is packed, and that you are familiar with how to use it, carry it, and take it on and off.
3. Dress appropriately
Colorado weather is notorious for change; not just between days, but within the day itself. While you can generally get an idea of what the day has in store for you based on the local forecast or time of year, a good rule of thumb to follow is to dress in layers.
Regardless if it’s a day in January or a day of warm spring skiing, you’ll want a comfortable base layer. Your base layer should be made of sweat-wicking material that will not hold in moisture. You can get cold and warmer weather base layers, dependent on what the forecast calls for.
A warm waterproof snow jacket and pants are also essentials for skiing and snowboarding, and if it’s particularly cold, you can add a heat-insulating mid-layer as well. Snow gloves or mittens, warm socks, and goggles are other essentials. Really cold days can also call for things like hand warmers, while warmer days may allow you to remove your thicker jacket and ski with something thinner (like a hoodie). Just remember that layers can be added or removed, as long as you have them with you.
4. Don’t forget your sunscreen! (and your lip balm)
Higher elevation means a higher risk for sunburn. Even cloudy winter days pose a risk to your skin, so it’s important to wear sunscreen. The same goes true for lip balm if your lips are exposed. Sun and wind can wreak havoc on lips, so keep them protected.
5. If you are visiting, allow yourself time to acclimate to the altitude
Aspen and Snowmass Village both sit at about 8,000 feet above sea level. The higher elevations mean thinner air which means it’s harder to breathe. While your body will eventually acclimate to the higher elevation, it is important to give yourself ample time to adjust. Altitude sickness is no joke, so make sure to plan ahead.
Where to Stay During Your Visit
Learning to ski or snowboard at Aspen Snowmass is an amazing opportunity and one you will not soon forget. The four mountains have much to offer for skiers and snowboarders of all levels, along with amazing places to visit for apres-ski.
Plan your stay by exploring our Aspen and Snowmass luxury rentals to find the perfect home away from home. Each of our properties is unique and offers something special for your visit. Our luxury rentals can provide a memorable place to enjoy all that Aspen Snowmass has to offer.