February 22, 2016

Awesome Aspen: The Slopes

Travel Ideas

Elevated Lifestyle

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Flying to Aspen with Jet Linx is as easy as that: our dedicated, local teams take care of every detail and make sure your travel is as relaxing as your trip. From the catering to a bottle of champagne for celebrating a special occasion, our Client Services Specialists work to anticipate your needs and provide our signature level of customer service on every flight. And with our Elevated Lifestyle partner Ship Sticks and Ship Skis, taking your ski gear on vacation has never been easier. Take a look at Awesome Aspen: today, explore the city’s signature slopes.

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There’s more to ‘skiing Aspen’ than just a few routes: Aspen is hugely popular for a wide variety of skiing offered on four different mountains. Each mountain has its own unique niche in the Aspen skiing community, but all are accessible through the same ski pass, so you can mix up your skiing as much as you want.

Aspen Mountain, referred to as ‘Ajax’ by the locals, is located right in downtown Aspen. Many take advantage of the location to ski into town at the end of the day. Ajax is perfect for experienced skiers wanting a thrill – it is the steepest of the four mountains in Aspen, and no beginner (green) runs are available. The mountain has hosted World Cup races and visitors often see the world’s only pop-up champagne and caviar bar, The Oasis. The snowcat-towed bar, a collaboration between The Little Nell and Veuve Clicquot, pops up over the spring ski season’s weekends, with visitors following clues left on The Little Nell’s social media channels to find the next location where the bubbly will be poured. In addition to running The Oasis, The Little Nell has a niche as one of the most luxurious accommodations on Aspen Mountain, as the city’s only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond, ski in ski out property.

Snowmass is the largest mountain of the four with the most terrain, and the expansive area makes it a great choice for visiting families. Aspen Highlands is known as the locals’ favorite mountain, says Melissa Wisenbaker of Promo Communications, on behalf of the Aspen Chamber. “Aspen Highlands has a good mix of terrain but is best known for the Highland Bowl,” she advised. Aspen Highlands generally avoids the spotlight, and is uncrowded with awesome terrain. “The Highland Bowl provides some of the most intense skiing in Colorado. Skiers and boarders hike about 30-45 minutes to the top, with 2,500-vertical-foot descents down pitches as steep as 45 degrees.” Wisenbaker said many visitors decide to stay in Aspen or Snowmass and take advantage of the free bus system that reaches all four mountains to get a taste of all the slopes Aspen offers.

private-jet-darcy-conover-aspenDarcy Conover (pictured at left), a professional skier and entrepreneur in Aspen, names Aspen Mountain as her favorite to ski. “It rises right out of town, so I can ride my bike over to the gondola,” she said. Conover loves to ski, but the opportunity to bike is a perk: she counts mountain biking among her other interests. “The mountain offers incredible steep terrain with great flow, so you can get a ton of skiing done in a short amount of time,” she explained. When Conover speaks about skiing, you get the sense that she tries to fit ski breaks into her workday the way some fit coffee breaks, and she’s not alone. “You will find many locals skiing on their lunch break and even holding conference calls on the 17-minute gondola ride,” she said with a laugh. Conover cautions beginners against starting off on Aspen Mountain, advising that the steep terrain isn’t as friendly. “I recommend Buttermilk for first timers,” she explained. “It has extremely beginner-friendly terrain with insane views.”

Novice skiers often benefit from lessons with a ski instructor before striking out on their own. Kevin Jordan (pictured below at right), one of the Snowmass Children’s Ski & Ride School Coordinators, recommends a lesson with a pro over a lesson from a friend. “As a coordinator with the Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass, I always put the most experienced pros on beginner lessons. They have the tricks and the knowledge to help beginners be successful their first time out.”

charter-jet-kevin-jordan-ski-instructor-aspenStarting with a ski instructor right away can help determine whether a skier will ski once, or for the rest of his life. “Teaching beginners is one of my favorite lessons because you have a clean slate to work with,” Jordan explained. “You can shape and mold a beginner into a lifelong skier.” Like many who call Aspen home, Jordan is excited to share skiing with the thousands of visitors who flock to Aspen each year. “I love instilling my passion for the mountain and sharing the sport of skiing. When a beginner is able to turn links, they always get to the bottom of the slope with a huge smile and ask, ‘Can we do that again?'”

After a successful skiing lesson, you’ll be ready to hit Buttermilk by yourself in no time. Although Buttermilk doesn’t have a village, it does make visitors welcome with plenty of easy green runs and a small section of steep black (advanced) runs as well. Buttermilk is also home to the terrain park where the X Games are held annually. Many skiers stay in Aspen or Snowmass for most of their visit and ski Buttermilk for a day or two, taking advantage of the free parking provided there.

Conover’s love of skiing runs in the family. “My parents were diehards in the East Coast way- I remember skiing in the rain one Easter weekend with trash bags over our clothes.” Today, Conover’s ski apparel is more chic – and she has a bigger hand in creating it. Conover and her husband, Adam Moszynski (also a pro skier), started the Corbeaux Clothing line in 2013. Corbeaux Clothing focuses on creating baselayers for skiers to wear under their outerwear. “You will be surprised at how much work skiing is and how hot you may get on a cold day; however, you will cool down quickly on the lift ride back up,” Conover advised. “Performance fabrics are key for drying quickly and holding in your heat.” The line uses a bamboo-polyester blend, allowing the fabric to wick water away from the body faster than cotton.

Conover loves working – and playing – in Aspen. “I have always felt at home in the mountains,” she said. Choosing Aspen was easy for Conover, even after only a few visits. “I had fallen in love with Aspen over a few weekend trips. Having grown up outside of New York City, I loved that a small mountain town could offer so much culture and a cosmopolitan feel.

This article originally appeared in SOAR’s Winter 2016 issue: read it online here.

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