Aspen’s Nordic insider: Simi Hamilton’s favorite trails
This feature was originally published in the “Winter in Aspen & Snowmass 2022” magazine, which is free and on newsstands now around the Roaring Fork Valley as well as online at aspentimes.com/magazines.
For the best of the best local trails, three-time Olympian Simi Hamilton has the lowdown. The recently retired World Cup Nordic skier grew up skiing in the Roaring Fork Valley and is now building a home here and coaching at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club with his wife and fellow Olympian, Sophie Caldwell Hamilton.
Now that you’re back, have you noticed any changes?
Not a lot of changes, which I’m really excited about, because it’s kind of like, “why try to fix something that isn’t broken?“ We’ve had an amazing network here for as long as I can remember, and just a really, really passionate community of local skiers. And hopefully, we inspire a lot of tourists to get out on the free trails throughout the whole valley when they come to visit. I’m just psyched to get back to a lot of the old classics, and there’s just so much great skiing throughout the entire valley and such an amazing diversity of terrain. It’s pretty much cross-country skiing paradise here.
Speaking of those old classics, do you have a few favorites you’re looking forward to getting back out on?
I think probably my favorite, at least upvalley, is skiing Owl Creek Trail from Snowmass back to Aspen. It’s just so classic. The terrain is great, the grooming is pretty much always immaculate, and then (there are) the views that you get perched up high and skiing through the aspen trees. And then it opens up into one of the many big fields, and it’s just an incredible feeling. The fact that it’s kind of an elevation loss when you’re skiing from Snowmass back to Aspen makes it really fun because it’s just a fun cruiser trail, and then of course, coming down Buttermilk and Tiehack at the end is always a thrill.
If someone had only one day to Nordic ski in the Roaring Fork Valley, where would you tell them to go?
It’s hard to beat Ashcroft because the setting up there is unreal. It’s a little tough to ski when you’re at 9,500 feet, just trying to suck in as much oxygen as you can, but I think topping off a good long ski with lunch and a beer at the Pine Creek Cookhouse is pretty amazing.
And if you’re not into going all the way up there, I think the one ski to do in the valley is just the Owl Creek Trail coming back from Snowmass. It’s really cool to be able to end your day back in town, and hopefully it’s one of those classic Colorado bluebird days when you can kick back for the afternoon in the sunshine and have some food and a beer somewhere in town. It’s hard to beat that.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
The Winter X Games return to Aspen and this year the fans are back, as well. After going without spectators in 2021, fans are welcome for the compressed three-day event, which starts Friday morning.