something for everyone at Aspen/Snowmass
We stayed in Aspen at the Fasching Haus condo, which is 5 minute walk from the Gondola, or the bus stop, and even closer to the Shadow Mountain lift. We had six guys on this trip, and our Ski.com agent found us this condo with six twin beds in 2 bedrooms plus a den, so no one had to sleep on a couch or a rollaway. The condo was also close to bus stop, which eliminated the need for a car rental. It took a half hour each way to Snowmass and Highlands was even closer.
We're all advanced intermediate to expert skiers, and Aspen/Ajax mountain is a bit steeper than Vail, Breck or Snowmass, so we had no problem. Intermediate skiers would still enjoy Ajax, but they might want to stay up top, riding the Ajax express and then downloading on the gondola to avoid the always skied-off moderately steep Little Nell run near the base. Snowmass is a great mountain with a few adrenalin stimulating steeps, but mostly with lots of blue cruisers for everyone, like what you find at Breck, Keystone and Vail. Snowmass and Aspen Highlands have some steeps that are steeper than what those resorts have, so I love the Aspen area because of this wide variety of terrain. Also, it gets less crowded on the weekends than does Vail or the Summit County resorts, due to its longer distance from Denver. The snow base was only about 30 inches, but the conditions were far better than I was expecting. Some favorite runs on Ajax are Back of Bell, Face of Bell, etc, Walsh's, and Blondies. At Highlands, I thought Soddbusters had better snow than did Kesslers. We did not hike the bowl this year - the hike is tough and I wasn't sure the snow cover would be good enough to make it worth the effort. At Snowmass, we always like the trees and lift line under the Elk Camp chair. Had one day of fresh snow and we did the Cirque Headwall with 6 untracked inches - fantastic. Headwall, at top of Hanging Valley Wall was rocky at the top, but the rest of the trip down, through the trees, was a riot!
On mountain food is great at the Sun Deck at the top of Ajax. I had a chicken stir fry for lunch that was terrific. At Snowmass, the beef brisket sandwich at Sam's Smokehouse was big and very good. Our best dinner was at Asie, an Asian restaurant on Main Street. I had the best Sea Bass I've ever had there, and the other guys were quite please with the sushi. A burger at Bentleys was fine.