Aspen | Colorado

Backcountry Skiing in Aspen

Season

December through March

Nearest city

Aspen, CO

Skill level

Beginner to advanced

Duration

1 day

Price range

$275-$600/person

Get ready for epic terrain in legendary ski country

Ask anyone to name classic American skiing destinations, and chances are that Aspen will be at the top of the list. And with good reason. Aspen is home to world-famous resorts and their stunning mountain terrains, like Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. The town’s situated in a sweet spot within the Elk Mountains and the Sawatch Range, and the area’s massive backcountry objectives — via lifts or skins — has something for every skill level.

There’s lots of low-angle terrain with super low avalanche risk to whet the appetite for bigger terrain in the area.

Rob Coppolillo, IFMGA Guide

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Chase powder right outside your door

Because Aspen sits at the base of so much epic terrain, it’s up to you to decide how much of a challenge you want. There are super mellow runs in the Sugar Bowls, beyond the inbounds gate at Buttermilk Mountain. For more challenging terrain, hire a guide and tour the ghost town of Ashcroft, just up Castle Creek Road. If you’re looking for toe-curling, steep and committed terrain, look no further than Mount Haydn or Mount Sopris, both within easy striking distance from Aspen.

Most popular backcountry skiing adventures in Aspen

Backcountry Ski Tour in Aspen

Whether you want to chase powder in Ashcroft, the Castle Creek Valley, or Green Mountain, this is the perfect opportunity to discover the backcountry in Aspen — especially without the crowds and expensive resort lift tickets. This is a custom-made program that your guide will structure to your touring objectives and skill level.

Learn to Backcountry Ski in Aspen

This is the perfect winter adventure if you’re a resort skier looking to get into the backcountry. This intro to backcountry skiing class will teach you how to use touring gear along with proper backcountry techniques. Great places to start include Hunter Creek, the Sugar Bowls, and Independence Pass.

Need to know

When is the best time to go?

Count on the backcountry season beginning in December and stretching through March or early April in Aspen. Peak tourist season is in late December, around the holidays, so plan for late January or early spring to avoid crowds.

What about bad weather?

Because snowstorms can limit visibility and because sunny weather can pose greater avalanche risk, your guide will make an informed decision on what objectives are safest and best for your day in the backcountry.

Group sizes and pricing

Group sizes are relatively small with usually no more than 4 guests per guide. Pricing is done per participant, and the cost per person decreases with more people in the group.

Is there a minimum age requirement?

While most guiding services don’t have a minimum age set for backcountry skiing adventures, any participant should be comfortable on resort-graded black-level runs for longer backcountry tours. Some prior experience is good even for beginner-level classes.

How fit do I need to be for this?

The better shape you are in, the more you’ll enjoy your day in the backcountry. All participants should feel comfortable carrying a loaded pack and be comfortable skinning up variable degrees of terrain.

Getting there

Coming from Denver, drive west along I-70 to Glenwood Springs. From there, take CO-82 south to Aspen. It’s about a 3.5-hour drive from Denver, weather conditions permitting.

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