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2/17/24-2/23/24 - Aspen Snowmass & Highlands

NYDB

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2016
Messages
1,718
Points
113
Location
Southeast NY /Southern VT
Resort or Ski Area
Aspen Snowmass and Highlands
Date
Feb 17, 2024
Snow Conditions
  1. Powder
Another Ikon trip for Presidents Week with the Kids. Everything was a little delayed so I ended up with a full on White Knuckle Drive from Denver Airport to Snowmass through the middle of a snowstorm late at night.

Stayed at Snowmass a short walk from the Mall. Coming in from Sea level which wasn't that bad. I was hoping 4 days at snowmass, 2 at highlands and 1 at Ajax, but ended up with 6 days at Snowmass. 1 at Highlands. 0 at Ajax, but we will be back.

2/17 - Day 1- Got about 4 hours of sleep before a 10'' Bluebird powder day. Didn't get in until late the night before so we didn't get out until 10am after some breakfast crepes. For a powder saturday there weren't too many lines, except at the base. I didn't get many pictures this day as I think I was delirious. But we hit the runs off of Sam's knob and the campground early, then a drop into the cirque and a hike to hanging valley and another hike to the burnt mountain glades. The traverse out of the burnt mountain glades is a rough one.
I think we ended the day at about 3 and then I slept for 4 hours before dinner.

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2/18/24 - Snowmass Day 2 - Fully rested and headed out early with a better feel for the mountain. no new snow . We figured the Sheer Bliss and High Alpine lifts are where you want to hang out. We did some exploring this day and tried to hit the platter lift but the line moves too slow to use it consistently, and if the Private lessons come you are fucked (and they do laps on the blue trail back down!). But with a little effort, you can hike to a bunch of fun stuff off of the Sheer Bliss lift by walking through the platter lift line Better than waiting in line.

2/19/24 - Snowmass Day 3 - A little refresh overnight left the upper mountain soft and saved the lower mountain from getting flat out icy. It was warm this week and the elevation really had quite the effect on the snow. Found some rocks on the headwall and Hanging Valley. Its still low tide here more or less. No crowds at all on the hill.

2/20/24 - Highlands Day 4 - No new snow overnight. I love this place. No bullshit. Quiet. Just great terrain. Had some friends who live there take us around.

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DT terrain is awesome. The bowl is awesome. Tough hike but worth it. The steep shots around the mountain were awesome. Great place. Zero crowds

2/21/24 - Day 5 Snowmass - No new snow overnight and things were getting icy on the groomers but to our surprise, the upper mountain terrain was still soft where they didn't groom. I was planning on this being a rest day but ended up mostly lapping the park with my son for most of the day. No hiking so that can be considered a rest day.

2/22/24 - Day 6 Snowmass - so the snow was getting a little tired and we were supposed to get snow showers overnight. I woke up to dust on crust a bit dissapointed but we'll see what the day would bring. Well it ended up snowing all day and the upper mountain got 6-8'' to soften everything. 2'' down low at the base. No pics from this day as it was on and off nuking. This day saved the week. Hit As much of the hard stuff as we could. Even got lucky with viz on the cirque a few times as the snow was on and off. Really fun day. Ended it with long shot (We still had to take 2 creeks to adams avenue but only to get back)

2/23/24 - Day 7 Snowmass - Bluebird day after yesterdays snow was a great trip ender.

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Groomers getting icy by the end of this day. But I didn't care since we were flying home.

Everyone had a good time, I wish we could have made it to Ajax but never had the motivation. I think most of the people here at snowmass (tourists) don't even go to anywhere other than snowmass.

We generally worked the mountain from skiers left to right most of the week, making sure to get out of the base area relatively early. a lap or two at sams knob / campground and then to sheer bliss to work middle of mountain. Sheer bliss to a hike / or the platter / or back towards powerline glades covered alot of the middle. Once you were done you could move to High alpine and after a lap or two hit hanging valley to elk camp lift. At least that's how we worked most days. Zero lines at sheer bliss, high alpine, sams knob, coney glade, or campground all week. 5 min max at Big Burn and Elk Camp.

It seems busier on bluebird days than on powder / storm days. I guess the champagne goes down easier in the sun.
 

4aprice

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 14, 2008
Messages
3,937
Points
63
Location
Lake Hopatcong, NJ and Granby Co
Awesome report. It is true that Snowmass is so large that I don't believe it could be covered in a week, maybe not even a season to find everything. That goes for Highlands and Ajax as well. As a matter of fact there is an expansion of terrain on Ajax open just this year. Headed out in late March. Aspen remains my favorite resort.
 

NYDB

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 13, 2016
Messages
1,718
Points
113
Location
Southeast NY /Southern VT
Awesome report. It is true that Snowmass is so large that I don't believe it could be covered in a week, maybe not even a season to find everything. That goes for Highlands and Ajax as well. As a matter of fact there is an expansion of terrain on Ajax open just this year. Headed out in late March. Aspen remains my favorite resort.
Yeah, the Hero's lift pod @ Ajax. Couldn't motivate the family to go there unfortunately. The days / snow conditions didn't line up.

If it was just me I would have made it there.

Definitely enjoyed the week. A lot of variety with the 3, plus like you said, just Snowmass itself is huge.
 
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