Living the high life just outside the roundabout.
Like the shy, talented kid of four siblings, Aspen Highlands is probably the most misunderstood of Aspen’s Four Mountain repertoire. Everyone knows Snowmass is for families; Buttermilk is for beginners and park rats; Aspen is for people who want to ski and be seen. But what about Aspen Highlands?
Most people think Aspen Highlands is for expert skiers, best known for the infamous Highlands Bowl and it’s hike-to expert only skiing.
But there is so much more to it than that. Let us count the ways:
#1) So close, but yet so far.
Even though it’s conveniently located less than 2 miles from downtown Aspen and on the free bus route, Highlands feels like a small village nestled deep in the mountains, more like something you’d expect to see in the Swiss Alps than in Colorado. Surrounded by steep wooded hillsides and snow capped peaks, it’s more of a true alpine feel than other parts of the valley. If you want to feel like you’ve escaped to a true mountain retreat without needing a four-wheel drive vehicle to get there, Highlands is the place for you.
#2) Where the deer and the antelope—and the kids—play.
Even though Snowmass has a reputation for being the family-friendly mountain, Aspen Highlands is also ideal for families. With its absence of busy streets, lack of crowds, and small base village, it is a super safe place where parents can relax and not have to worry as much about constant supervision of their kids. With its close proximity to the Aspen Recreation Center (accessible via a paved bike path) you’ve got all the kid’s favorite amenities (swimming, skating, rock climbing, and more) a short walk or bike ride away.
#3) Escape the crowds, but not the fun.
During the summer months, when Aspen is at full capacity and it’s crazy in town, you can still enjoy the peace and serenity of a mountain getaway without having to worry about where to park (the bus into town is free and super convenient). But there’s still a lot of fun to be had right outside your back door, too. Summer is the time for outdoor movies, lawn bowling, a live music series, outdoor markets and street fairs.
#4) Quality over quantity.
The base village at Highlands might be small, but what it has to offer is top notch. The Highlands Alehouse has one of the most comprehensive beer lists in town with a regular rotation of microbrew suds on tap. And even though pizza is their specialty, there is also a great selection of fresh, healthy fare from kale salads and baked salmon to handmade sandwiches. If you want something a little more upscale, just head on over to Willow Creek Bistro at the Ritz Carlton for a little five-star service and delectable fare. There’s even a little coffee shop in the hotel to get caffeinated for wherever your adventure will lead you that day. Shop Four Mountain Sports for the latest in mountain fashion or check out Strafe, for outwear from a locally owned and operated company.
#5) Not for experts only.
Come winter, Highlands has some of the most exquisite slopeside homes in the valley. And the notion that this is a resort for experts only is a myth. Highlands has some of the best groomed slopes around, especially off the Cloud 9 lift, mostly because all the experts are on the upper mountain or skiing the Bowl. That means the corduroy is left mostly untouched for the people who really appreciate it. And you’ll almost never see a liftline here, even during the busy season. Now that’s what we call living on Cloud 9.