You know it’s epic when you can ski Aspen’s Red Mountain |

You know it’s epic when you can ski Aspen’s Red Mountain

Neal Beidleman, left, and Chris Davenport check out a line before skiing down Red Mountain on the edge of Aspen. (Courtesy Ted Mahon)

ASPEN ” Snow conditions are so good that even Aspen’s “other” mountain has captured the attention of skiers.

Red Mountain ” best known for large, mostly vacant mansions ” recently was skied for the first time in years, possibly since the winter of 1983-84. The sun-drenched, south-facing slopes of the peak on Aspen’s north side rarely collect enough snow for skiing.

This winter is an exception ” something Aspenite Neal Beidleman couldn’t help but notice from his home, which faces Red Mountain’s slopes. Always one for adventure, Beidleman enlisted friends Chris Davenport and Ted Mahon and skied the forgotten slopes one Saturday in January.

“It was fun,” Beidleman said. “It’s not a long ski. It wasn’t hard. It’s just novel.

“It’s one of the bellwether events that shows how good the snow is.”

The trio parked at the upper Hunter Creek lot, skinned out the Hunter Creek Valley and up the road to Four Corners a short ways before peeling off along a line through the brush. After hiking for about an hour, they ended up high on Red Mountain with the unusual winter vantage staring south at Aspen Mountain and down upon the town.

Red Mountain has such a domineering presence in Aspen because it looms over the town, but few people link it with skiing. The Aspen Flyers, an informal ski group, tackled the slopes in December 1983 or January 1984, recalled club member Griff Smith.

Beidelman remembered the Flyers’ decent, so he knew his group wasn’t making a first run or anything like that. He and his ski buddies were just looking for something different to do. Word of their strange outing circulated around Aspen, but Beidelman downplayed it.

“People ski weird stuff all the time,” he said.

Mahon said a lot of local skiing enthusiasts noticed the lines on Red Mountain filling in with each dump this winter. The same day his group decided to ski Red Mountain, Aspenites Al Beyer and “Joey G” also made the trip.

Red Mountain is littered with rocks and scrub oak, but there was enough snow to ski down with little trouble. Beidelman estimated they encountered pockets of snow six feet deep ” with lots of powder. They hooted and hollered down to Red Mountain subdivision’s highest road, then hiked back to their vehicle.

“It was like, blower,” he said. “We got some great turns.”

Mahon said Red Mountain’s slopes look even better now then when they made their trip. “It’s still there for the taking,” he said.

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