Aspen Highlands and Snowmass, Colorado

Skiing the trees at Aspen, Colorado

Skiing the trees at Aspen    Photo: courtesy, Aspen Skiing Company

Snowfall: 300 inches
Area: 4,160 acres (combined)
Vertical Drop: 4,406 feet (Snowmass)
Web: aspensnowmass.com

Aspen takes a lot of hits for its garish displays of wealth. Most are well deserved. But don't write the place off. The people watching can be fun—where else can you see Russian oil barons mingling with ripened celebs like John Oates? Besides, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass have the best lift-served and hike-to terrain in the state, with the exception of Silverton. Skeptical? Throw your skis on your shoulder and bootpack up Highland Bowl. The snow stays dry all season, and the lack of a lift, in conjunction with the 40-to-45-degree pitch, makes for fast, big-turn powder skiing with no bumps. The same is true of Snowmass, which is still empty of skiers up high, even though the base area has been upgraded with a new village and a $7 million high-speed quad. And Auden Schendler's green initiatives with the Aspen Skiing Company (see page 62) may be paying off karmically, because the last few winters have seen Utah-worthy snowfall.

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