Winter has come to Aspen Snowmass and, as the resort's quartet of mountains head into the 2022-2023 season, much of buzz is about a transformation at easy-going Buttermilk.
Construction this summer brought an aging, clunky base area into the 21st century. A new 9,300-square-foot building consolidates tickets, rentals, ski school and bathrooms into a single skier services center. The former Bumps lodge restaurant got a makeover -- including locker room update -- and a new name (Buttermilk Mountain Lodge), and an expanded outdoor patio called The Backyard.
Mountain officials say the work aims to simplify the area and make the slopes for approachable and inclusive for all guests. However, the finishing touches of the $26 million Buttermilk makeover will bleed past the opening of the season, so skiers and riders should expect temporary facilities for a month or two.
Opened in 1958, Buttermilk has long lived up to its name as the smooth, gentle, non-competitive place to ski and ride in the Aspen complex. Its ski school and learning terrain is renowned. Resort publicists called it "the home of non-stop recess" and the trail map reflects that: Nearly 75% of the runs are green- or blue-rated.
Over at iconic Aspen Mountain, the World Cup returns to the famous America's Downhill course in March, after a six-year hiatus. Two downhills and a super-G are scheduled for the first weekend in March.
The resort's first major expansion in 40 years -- Pandora -- won't be open this season. Located to skier's right off the summit of Ajax Mountain, the new area will add 160 acres to the mountain's existing 673 skiable acres. A high-speed chairlift will service the new area, which will open expert glades and a couple of blue groomers.
Both Snowmass and Aspen Highlands will stand pat this season, as far as on-mountain additions. Both received high ratings for their wine dinners, and Snowmass has added a bear-and-pretzel option to its apres-ski menu. The Ikon Pass works at all four mountains.
Beautiful weather is in store for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend as a huge area of high pressure keeps much of the nation dry.
Many ski and snowboard resorts in the West rely upon a nearby town that is base for food, lodging and off-slope fun, so SnoCountry took a look at three well-known towns that act as hubs for the mountains that surround them.