Aspen Highlands the stats |

Aspen Highlands the stats

Aspen Times Staff
Aspen Highlands tops out at 12,392 feet the top of its hike-to bowl.

ASPEN HIGHLANDSTerrain: 970 acresElevation: 11,675 ft.; top of Highland Bowl: 12,392 ft.Lift-served vertical: 3,635 ft.Lifts: 3 high-speed quads, 2 triplesDesignated trails: 131Green runs: 18 percentBlue runs: 30 percentBlack runs: 16 percentDouble-black runs: 36 percentLifts open at: 9 a.m.Whats new: If you thought the expansion into Highland Bowls G-Zones was epic, wait until you check out the new steep-and-deep offerings off the Deep Temerity lift. Accessing 180 new acres (with another 100-plus acres planned for future expansion), you cant beat lift-served skiing in areas like the Highland Bowl runout, South Castle trail, Kessler Bowl and Sodbuster. But get your legs ready the new terrain adds some 1,100 vertical in the Bowl, essentially double the length of most of the terrain it serves.

Cruisers: Despite the preponderance of steeps at Highlands, there are still plenty of places to cruise. One of the best is Golden Horn to Thunderbowl, where you can hit top speed in no time. Also seek out Gunbarrel, off the Cloud Nine lift, and runs like Apple Strudel and Red Onion.Bumps: Highlands has everything from perfectly spaced bumps on Scarletts Run ideal for honing your technique to elevator-shaft bump fields like No Name and Deception in Olympic Bowl. Youre pretty much assured of finding bumps to bash on the runs in Steeplechase and they can be pretty fierce when theyre not blanketed in powder.

Powder day: Runs in Temerity Hyde Park, Mushroom, Lucky Find are for those who like a healthy dose of trees with their powder (and it can now be accessed over and over with a quick 7.3-minute lift ride). And then theres the masterpiece: Highland Bowl, which offers some of the steepest in-bounds slopes in the state. From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., catch a free snowcat ride to cut off 15-or-so minutes of hiking. From the drop-off point, its anywhere from 30 minutes or more, depending on your lung power, to hike to the top. Its worth heading over to the north-facing G-Zones, even though you lose a bit of vertical, where you can find some of Aspens lightest, fluffiest powder amid the glades.Terrain parks: Everything here is au naturel no terrain parks per se. But Buttermilk is right next door.Dining: The cafeteria menu at the midmountain Merry-Go-Round the building was once a supermarket offers standard ski area restaurant food and a great deck for checking out the bumpers on Scarletts. But for unbelievable on-mountain fare, try the European-style Cloud Nine restaurant. Located in an old patrol building, lunch here is worth plurging on (though after feasting on gruyere-stuffed pheasant sausage with pancetta or cheese spatzle, you may be tempted to take a nap on the deck). For some amazing, but lighter fare, check out the Soup Bowl in that same building.Signature event: While the other three local mountains are busy hosting special events of all sorts, the maverick Highlands is content to just be its gnarly self. And we say thats enough. But if we had to pin down a signature event, it would have to be the annual Inferno. An uphill and downhill race in Highland Bowl scale the ridge from the bottom of Mousetrap to the summit, then ski/ride down Ozone to the finish in the runout. Sign up if you dare, or just check out the adrenaline junkies from the sidelines. This year, the Inferno takes place Feb. 18.Apres pick: Seek the reptile. Iguanas Bar & Grille, at the base, is where you can talk up your adventures in Highland Bowl over a beer, either indoors or on the best patio around, and listen to a live band on many an afternoon. Watch for specials like Wobbly Wednesday, when Iguanas taps a couple of kegs and serves free beer until its gone, starting at 6 p.m. For a more relaxed setting, with great Bud specials served in mugs, mosey on over to The Endeavor Internet Cafe & Bar, where leather couches and backgammon not to mention the jars of Goldfish crackers will suck you in.

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