Top three reasons to backcountry ski in Aspen
Aspen delivers secluded ski tours for all types of powder seekers
Massive backcountry objectives — via lifts or skins — have something for every skill level.
Home to four world-famous resorts and their stunning backcountry terrain
Ask anyone to name a classic backcountry skiing destination, and chances are, Aspen will be at the top of the list. The town’s situated in a sweet spot within the Elk Mountains and the Sawatch Range. Massive backcountry objectives — via lifts or skins — have something for every skill level. Aspen is home to four world-famous resorts, and their stunning backcountry terrain includes Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Destinations include Hunter Creek, the Sugar Bowls, and the iconic Independence Pass. If you’re in search of bigger terrain with rewarding challenges, you’ve come to the land of 14,000-feet peaks. Let a guide introduce you to the area and find out why Aspen is one best places to go backcountry skiing in Colorado.
December to March
Book as many days as you want
Aspen airport (ASE) is minutes to mountain
Beginner to advanced
Choose how you spend your day
Private Intro to Backcountry Skiing
Skiers new to off-piste routes will be able to concentrate on understanding their new experience with support from the pros on terrain suited to beginners in the backcountry. Whether you’re in Upper Hunter Creek Valley, Maroon Creek or Government Trail Corridor, enjoy a fun day of safe skiing in Aspen.
Not sure if you should hire a guide? Listen to our ambassador Greg Hill debate the ultimate question: To be guided or not to be guided?
Powder Skiing for Intermediate and Advanced Skiers
Whether you want to chase powder in Ashcroft, the Castle Creek Valley, or Green Mountain, this is the perfect opportunity to discover Aspen backcountry skiing. This is a custom-made program structured to your touring objectives and skill level.
Depending on your objectives, full days may start earlier and end later, but in general, your day will look like this:
- 8:00 am: Meet your guide at the guide’s recommended location for introductions and going over the day’s plan
- 8:30 am: Head to the location of your backcountry ski tour
- 9:00 am – 4:00 pm: Gear up, go over safety considerations, and spend the day backcountry skiing on routes selected to best suit your group, stopping for lunch and breaks as needed
- 4:30 pm: Back to the cars for debriefing and high fives
Lift Accessed Backcountry Skiing
Riding a chairlift up the Aspen ski area, then skiing down Forest Service permitted sidecountry or out of resort bounds opens up infinite options for untracked chutes and bowls. Aspen is the epitome of luxury skiing, and you’ll fall in love with the rugged mountains of the Elk Range. Skip a long skin up and spend the day chasing powder in the Aspen backcountry.
Advanced Ski Tours & Mountaineering Objectives
If you have the technical skills to ski steep alpine terrain, Aspen backcountry delivers. Whether you ski Gessler Peak, Sopris Mountain or any of the other epic areas, riding the stunning peaks of the Elk Range are a lesson in modern ski mountaineering. You’ll gain snow-climbing skills and descend as much as 4,000 vertical feet. Aspen ski touring also provides easy access to 13,000-plus foot peaks.
Meet your guides
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guide · 22 years of experience
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guides
IFMGA/AMGA Certified Guides
We were steered toward Aspen Expeditions through a friend who had taken Avy classes with the principal owner Amos. When it came time to plan a trip to Japan, the choice was a no brainer- Amos is a pinned IAMFG / AMGA guide, one of the first in the states. Unlike many Japan ski trips, Aspen Expeditions avoids the crowded spots in favor of SNOW. The trip consisted of equal parts back country, lift-assisted back country, and side-country. Each day ended with an Onsen (hot springs) and a meal fit for a king. On top of that, Amos had the foresight to hire a Japanese guide- clutch move to unlock next-level secret stashes of both food and snow. I would tell you to go, but I may be filling these spots every year that they are offered…
If you’re looking for a mountain guide to bring you out climbing, mountaineering, skiing or an all around alpine mentor, Jayson is the one. I’ve traveled the world with Jayson and other mountain guides and can confidently say he is the best in the business! A great teacher and a fun person to spend time with in the mountains.
For the past 10 years I have skied and climbed with Jayson all over the world. I can say without hesitation my relationship with Jayson as a friend, educator, mentor, and guide is one of the most positive in my life. He has pushed me to be a better climbing, skier, and person and I’m forever grateful.
We had an awesome day of backcountry skiing with Britt. Initially he asked insightful questions to assess our skill and fitness level, which led to an experience that exceeded our expectations. During the adventure he also offered excellent coaching and improvement tips. I highly recommend Aspen Expeditions if you desire to safely push yourself to new levels.
Amazing place! Best guides around whether you’re staying local or doing trips worldwide. Highly, highly recommend!
What a wonderful experience in my first ever trip to Japan with Aspen expeditions. They provided not only an epic ski experience, but also a cultural experience that would have been unattainable on a solo trip. This is a group of top notch operators and they can be trusted to provide you with your time of your life, but also bring you back safely.
I’d give 10 stars if they were available.
2 day’s ski touring in the beautiful San Juan mountains out of Silverton. Our guide Britt Ruegger ensured that we made the most of the fabulous snow. Highly recommended for his calm professionalism, knowledge and skiing.
Things to know
COVID-19 measures in Aspen
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in Aspen, please refer to the Pitkin County and Colorado State websites.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get in this adventure:
- An experienced, certified ski guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- A full day of backcountry ski touring
- Avalanche beacon, shovel, probe & ski pack
- 3% USFS land use surcharge
What’s not included:
- Alpine touring ski or splitboard equipment (can be rented)
- Trip insurance
- Lift tickets (if applicable)
How fit do I need to be?
In order to enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to have a moderate level of fitness. You will be on your feet for a full day. While there is terrain for all skill levels in Aspen, you will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on blue level resort runs and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain.
For the enjoyment and safety of everyone involved, participants must be approved to participate in advanced backcountry skiing tours either through a previous trip with the guiding service or through recommendations.
What if I’ve never backcountry skied before?
Backcountry skiing isn’t just for pros looking for the ultimate thrill ride, it’s also beginner friendly, meaning anyone with blue level resort experience can have fun in the backcountry. If you’ve never backcountry skied before, heading out with a guide is your best bet. They’ll take care of the planning, introduce you to the basics, like skinning uphill, and teach you how to manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training to keep you safe.
What about required equipment and rentals?
All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:
- Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots, and poles can be rented from the guiding service, from the Ski Butlers or Aspen Sports
- Splitboards can be rented from the guiding service, but they don’t provide boots or Aspen Sports
Ski rental locations are in Aspen and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.
For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:
- Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
- Touring boots and poles (can be rented):
For personal items, we recommend bringing:
- Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-tex recommended)
- Ski pants (Gore-tex recommended)
- Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
- Down jacket or vest
- Gloves and hat
- One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
- Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
- Water bottle and 1L of water
- The food you can eat on-the-go
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- First-aid kit
- Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-45L bag)
- Camera — optional
Group sizes and age requirements
Groups and pricing:
- For this adventure, the max client to guide ratio is 4:1.
- The cost per person decreases as the group grows, so it’s the perfect opportunity to backcountry ski with friends and family.
- Ski touring in Aspen can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- Everybody over the age of 18 is welcome to book this backcountry skiing adventure.
- Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis. If you plan to ski with anyone under the age of 18, please contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.
Getting there and meeting location
Aspen airport (ASE) is minutes to any of the four mountains. You can hire a rental car, arrange a shuttle with your hotel, or take one of the free city buses with all of your ski gear. Alternatively, Denver International Airport is a four-hour drive and rental cars are available. Keep in mind, weather is unpredictable in the winter and the Vail Pass can be closed during snow storms. Check the weather and plan for mountain driving.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. From there, you’ll head to the trailhead. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ski ability of the group.