Top Ten Extreme Ski Slopes

Beyond Black: The World's Top 10 Classic Steeps
By Peter Oliver & Alistair Wearmouth

There are those who complain that Aspen is principally about haute couture rather than skiing, with more facelifts per capita than a Hollywood unemployment agency. This is where the beautiful people come to ski—and with them their Lear jets, five-star hotels, and latest cosmetic hides. But the four mountains of Aspen—Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands—boast some 270 trails, 5,900 acres of skiable terrain, and the biggest vertical drop in the U.S. Some serious skiing, then, with or without the glitter crowd.

Despite the international glamour, Aspen's extreme scene has retained its raw edges and gnarly tucks. All the mountains, with the exception of Buttermilk, offer plenty of double-black gauntlets, such as the Dumps on Aspen Mountain or the Hanging Valley Glades on Snowmass. However, Aspen Highlands is where the local crowd migrates; there they'll be intent on figuring the best line to take Highland Bowl.

If you time it right, you may be able to hitch a ride with the ski patrol to the first access gate; otherwise, it's a 20-minute hike from the Loge Peak chair's drop-off. Only recently opened to skiing and boarding, the wide bowl has become an instant classic. Why? More than a dozen chutes exceed 40 degrees, with a vertical drop of more than 1,500 feet and a big-mountain, heeby-jeeby-inducing exposure unmatched anywhere in the Colorado Rockies. Now, that's entertainment.

Resort Facts


Phone: 1-800-525-6200

2002-03 lift pass: $68


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