How to Ski Aspen Mountain on a Powder Day

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With Aspen’s recent t-shirt weather, you might be dreaming of mountain biking, but the season is far from over. In fact, next month is Colorado’s snowiest. March brings around 60 inches of snowfall to the high country, meaning there are plenty of powder days left in the season.

Among Aspen’s four mountains, Aspen Mountain offers the most straightforward, efficient powder skiing. The high-speed top-to-bottom gondola services all of Aspen Mountain’s 3,267 feet of vertical right from downtown. Though smaller than Aspen Highlands and Snowmass, Aspen Mountain skis much larger than its 673 skiable acres. The key is to traverse and work multiple fall lines. You’ll find plenty of challenging steeps, fall-line trees and sneaky alleyways and gullies (check out the interactive trail map and follow along).

The obvious local’s choice for the first run of a powder day is “Face to Six”, meaning skiing the face of Bell Mountain, then riding up F.I.S. or Chair Six, the double chair that accesses The Dumps. Stay on the Bell Mountain traverse until you reach Face of Bell and enjoy this glade of perfectly spaced trees until you hit Spar Gulch. Load the double chair and exit right to ski the Dumps, steep, east-facing aspen trees that might offer your best turns of the day. If you stay skier’s right, you can catch F.I.S. lift for another run, but the longer shots like Zaugg, Perry’s and Last Dollar will drop you below the lift, onto lower Spar Gulch.

The Dumps on Aspen Mountain - Photo by Dave Amirualt

The Dumps on Aspen Mountain – Photo by Dave Amirualt

Take the gondola back to the top and pick one of the steep runs on the east side of the resort, facing Independence Pass. You can’t go wrong with Walsh’s, Hyrup’s or Kristi’s, but a personal favorite is the skier’s left side of Kristi’s. All of these runs empty onto a cat track that brings you to the base of “The Couch”, or Gent’s Ridge Lift. Head out Gentleman’s Ridge (under the expert’s only banner) and ski the ridge for a ways until you see the sign for Jackpot, a nice fall-line shot through the trees, or take the ridge all the way to Bingo Glades. If it’s open, enter through the gate and enjoy an adventurous, steep tree run.

Instead of funneling down to the gondola, traverse skier’s left to Lift 1A. This double chair accesses often overlooked terrain like Corkscrew Gully and Super 8—great runs that don’t see much traffic.

The 1A chairlift on Aspen Mountain. Photo by Dave Amirualt

The 1A chairlift on Aspen Mountain. Photo by Dave Amirualt