Aspen frequently shows up on our list of North America’s best ski resorts, and while we think it’s a great place to party, it’s family-friendly, too. Georgie Bremner, Limelight Lodge’s Ski School manager and member of Aspen Team Diva, lets us in on how to make the most of your trip. The Kiwi has been skiing around the world for 33 years, and she calls Aspen home. She taught at Snowmass for four years, managed the Aspen Ski School for three, and has been managing the Buttermilk School for two. She heads up Limelight Lodge’s Inside Tracks, a new program launching Jan. 3 that will let skiers and snowboarders explore new terrain with local guides. Here are her top ten tips for skiing in Aspen:
10. Start training. If you work a desk job and don’t exercise as often as you would like, or perhaps skiing/snowboarding is your exercise, begin taking the stairs as often as possible. It’s doing little things that get your heart rate up that will really make a difference.
9. Look to save. Many resorts offer their best deals if you book ahead. Do the research by calling the resort or going online. Aspensnowmass.com has information on lift tickets, rentals, lessons, and accommodations. Don’t assume everything costs lots of money in Aspen. There is free transportation throughout town and even free concerts during the winter months. Also, during the winter, there are free history and geology tours on Aspen Mountain offered on Wednesdays and Fridays. And if you want to save on food, go for bar menus; a more casual and inexpensive alternative to our restaurants.
8. Be sure to speak with those “in the know”--the locals and experts that know the mountains, the terrain, and the area. You can speak with the staff at your hotel. Let them know your interests because each mountain has a different personality. On Aspen Mountain, you’ll find some of the best bump runs. If you enjoy high-speed groomers, check out Limelight Lodge’s First Tracks, our early-morning ski program. Snowmass Mountain has a fantastic children’s facility and beginner-through-expert terrain. It is a “mega” mountain of opportunity for all skiers. Buttermilk Mountain has excellent groomers to make any level of skier/snowboarder feel like a rock star. It also has a terrain park for kids who love to snowboard. Highlands Mountain has the Highlands Bowl and the Temerity lift for skiing double black diamonds.
7. As Aspen is at altitude, be sure to pace yourself upon arrival. If you push yourself or do not hydrate or eat adequately during your first couple of days, you may not be able to maximize your experience.
6. While in Aspen, check the weather daily and dress accordingly. Layers work well. It is easy to add or remove articles of clothing as the temperature rises and falls.
5. Cover the basics. Wear sunscreen (and reapply it often) as well as proper eye protection to protect against the elements. Additionally, when considering purchasing or renting boots, take your time. This will make your time on the mountain much more comfortable and pleasant.
4. While on the mountain, make sure that everyone in your party is skiing at his or her own level and pace. Not everyone can or wants to ski double black diamonds. This will make for a better experience for all.
3. Start out simple and move to complex. Even World Cup ski racers and X-Games athletes start on the easier slopes, jumps, and rails and build up. A great freestyle mantra is: “Pre-ride, re-ride, free-ride.” Keep this in mind as you scope out your surroundings. Starting out on more basic slopes, you’ll be more likely to avoid injury and can continue advancing to more difficult slopes as you familiarize yourself with the terrain. Each day, reacquaint yourself with the terrain to get a feel for your equipment on the snow, so you can decide whether to advance or hold off for an extra day.
2. Don’t forget your kids. Consider getting instructors for them. With instructors, your kids are likely to complain less and learn and explore more.
1. Hit the mountain on Day 1. That way, you'll start getting to know the terrain right away. If you decide you want a bigger challenge and need some guidance, go with a pro. An instructor can help you with your technique, suggest the appropriate terrain to practice on, challenge you, and show you around the mountain. Don’t wait to hit the slopes. Take full advantage of the mountains from your first day.