Skico’s quiver now includes Highlands backcountry skiing
The Aspen Skiing Co. and Aspen Expeditions are teaming up this winter to offer a guided backcountry skiing program in largely lift-served terrain beyond the boundary ropes at Aspen Highlands.Aspen/Snowmass Off-Piste Tours will take expert skiers and snowboarders on tours to some of the most salivating slopes in the upper valley. Aspen Expeditions’ professional ski guides will be leading the tours.”With the famous Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak framed as the scenic centerfold, this traverse offers unparalleled panoramic views, and over 4,000 vertical feet of untracked, virgin skiable terrain to the valley below,” said Dick Jackson, internationally certified IFMGA mountain guide and owner/director of Aspen Expeditions.The program is not for the faint of heart as the terrain is dramatic and moderately technical, often requiring a guide to short-rope guests on the rocky outcrops and corniced sections. The topography includes Five Fingers Bowl and the K-Shoots, any one of its ‘digits’ guarantees to be the run of a lifetime.Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said the new partnership has been in the works for some time.”That seems to be where a lot of the growth is,” said Hanle. “It’s sort of driving the sport, that and the terrain park use. So for us to be able to offer it, it’s just one more thing in our quiver.”Participants must be expert-level riders in good shape. Group sizes are limited to a 4:1 guest/guide ratio, with rates starting at $175 per person in a group of four (which includes a one-ride lift ticket up the Highlands’ lifts). Call Aspen Expeditions at 925-7625 for more information or to book a trip.Tours will begin as soon as conditions allow, likely by the start of the holiday season.
When asked if he is receiving any insider information on the terrain, Aleksander Aamodt Kilde — the boyfriend of Edwards’ own Mikaela Shiffrin — chuckled and replied, “You probably think so, but I actually I don’t.”