While Aspen Mountain, the ski area that rises from the town of Aspen, isn’t an ideal area for beginner skiers, Buttermilk, just three miles down the road, is perfect. Aspen/Snowmass’ four mountains, or “Power of Four,” allows every type of skier to find their ideal terrain. Most beginner skiers in Aspen will find that they prefer the shorter, rolling slopes of Buttermilk, or beginner “learn to ski” zones at Snowmass.
Buttermilk comes highly recommended as an ideal “learn to ski” area. First timers should start out at the main Buttermilk base area. There you’ll find rentals, ski school, and a magic carpet and beginner chair lift. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you’ll want to head up the Summit Express lift, and meander down Homestead Road back to the main base area, or head to West Buttermilk, where you’ll find several shorter beginner trails, like Larkspur or Westward Ho, that allow you to give your legs a rest. For a change of scenery, beginners can also ski to the Tiehack Express lift via the Oregon Trail.
Snowmass also features some of Aspen’s best beginner terrain, thanks to its two designated “learn to ski” areas, Assay Hill and Fanny Hill. Aspen Highlands also has several beginner trails off of Expedition Lift, but be sure to stay on Park Avenue on your descent back down to the base area.
Of the “Power of Four,” Buttermilk and Snowmass are the best for beginners, as they have exceptional facilities for both children and adults to learn. Beginner skiers have the option of group or privates lessons. Snowmass’ Elk Camp fosters a comfortable environment for adults to learn and the Elk Camp gondola allows them to get up on the mountain, so they don’t feel like they’re learning to ski with the toddlers. Snowmass also offers the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure, which is an ideal spot especially for beginner kids. This state-of-the-art facility houses a day care and playground, making ski school extra fun. Buttermilk has the Panda House, which also provides day care and a playroom for the youngsters. Wherever you take a lesson at Aspen/Snowmass, you’ll be coached by a professional, friendly, patient instructor, who knows how to share their love of Aspen and passion for skiing while teaching you the fundamentals, so you, too, can enjoy all the mountains have to offer.