The Snow Report
Buttermilk is the perennial host of the Winter X Games—it beat out a bid from Whistler to host the big-name snow show from January 24 to 27 and again in 2014. Even though its name has become synonymous with high-flying daredevils like Shaun White, Torstein Horgmo, and Kelly Clark, Buttermilk’s actually a good place for newbies.
A member of Aspen’s Big Four (along with Highlands, Snowmass, and Aspen Mountain, all overseen by Aspen Skiing Company), Buttermilk is relatively small—it’s only got 2,030 vertical feet to conquer, spread over just 470 skiable acres.
“Beginner Magic” lessons ($203 for a full day) stay on green runs, but get more expert and you also get more pricey: full-day private lessons for non-beginners set you back $680. (It’s less than two miles to the nearest hospital, so if you fall on your face, help’s not far.)
Buttermilk maintains two terrain parks which get filled with kids on weekdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for the mountain’s “After School Freestyle” program ($19 for two hours). If you’re a fan of closing-day rail jams, plan to be at Buttermilk on March 24 or April 7.
As with Skico’s other hills, this one proffers “private-lesson pros” who serve to customize an on-the-slope experience based on the day’s powder conditions, as well as handle all the not-so-fun aspects of managing a ski trip, like securing tickets, rentals, and reservations.
If you haven’t been to Buttermilk recently, you wouldn’t have seen the new, $7-million Leitner Poma high-speed quad at Tiehack, built in 2011 to replace two other lifts and to slash ride time from 18 minutes to seven. Also new is a dirt superpipe that reduces water waste by four million gallons and saves the resort $15,000 in electricity.
Stay at the ski-in/ski-out Inn at Aspen, which has reasonable prices and commendable service—and is where the Obamas stayed in February, as well as in a Fasching Haus condo.
CONTACT: (877) 282-7736, aspensnowmass.com/buttermilk
SEASON: Late December to early April