Locals’ Guide to Roaring Fork Valley Ski Areas
Choosing the right ski area can sometimes be tricky. You want to make sure you pick one that suits your skill level and offers the amenities you care about whether it be lots of lifts or ski school for the kids. Fortunately for anyone living or vacationing in the Roaring Fork Valley, it’s pretty hard to go wrong when picking a local ski area to visit. To ensure you have the best ski experience possible, we are going to help you choose by taking a look at what each ski area in the Roaring Fork Valley has to offer.
Sunlight Mountain Ski Resort
A true locals favorite, Sunlight is a gorgeous locally owned mountain light on the frills and heavy on the fun. Roughly 30 minutes from Glenwood Springs, this local gem is a great option for those down-valley folks who rather spend time skiing than commuting. Parking is free and lift tickets are about half the price of any other resorts in the Roaring Fork Valley. It has terrain for every skill level and a very welcoming atmosphere in the lodge at the base.
Snowmass Ski Resort
Not only is Snowmass the largest ski resort in the Roaring Fork Valley, it’s also one of the most family-friendly resorts in all of North America. Snowmass offers 3,362 acres of skiable terrain and has trails for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. It surely doesn’t skimp on the terrain parks, glades, and steeps for the experts out there. Snowmass also has a Very Important Kid (VIK) program that provides fun family après ski activities to participate in on a daily basis.
Buttermilk Ski Resort
Often considered the most approachable mountain in the Roaring Fork Valley, Buttermilk has dozens of trails designed for beginner and intermediate skill level skiers and snowboarders. Buttermilk also plays host to the Winter X Games every January and the terrain park features, including the Superpipe, are open to the public following the event. Buttermilk is the locals’ favorite place to go when it comes to enrolling kids in ski school. The mountain offers free parking and its small base village is easily navigable.
Aspen Highlands Ski Resort
While Sunlight takes the down-valley local’s favorite prize, Aspen Highlands takes it for the up-valley crowd. Packed with intermediate and expert terrain, Highlands isn’t the best option for beginners. However, intermediate and expert skiers will be in heaven on its steeps, glades, and long groomers. The crown jewel of ski terrain in the Roaring Fork Valley, the Highland Bowl, offers unparalleled views and skiing for those willing to hike to the top at 11,678 feet above sea level.
Aspen Mountain Ski Resort
Sometimes referred to as Ajax (its former name) by locals, Aspen Mountain is the one that popularized skiing in the Roaring Fork Valley. Not a top choice for beginners with zero green runs, 52 percent of Aspen mountain is expert runs and the remaining 48 percent is rated intermediate. Locals love taking advantage of Aspen Mountain’s Gondola on extra cold winter days and have been known to flock to the mid-mountain restaurant called Bonnie’s to indulge in its famous pancakes served before 10:30am.