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Aspen Highlands

Train Like a Pro: Uphilling at Aspen

Join the long-standing tradition of ski touring within the resorts at Aspen.

Resort Ski Touring Easy, Moderate, Difficult

Aspen Highlands
Aspen Highlands Photo: Steve Boice


Aspen, Colorado, is perhaps America’s most famous mountain town, due in no small part to its prestigious ski resorts. Aspen Mountain has enjoyed a long history at the center of ski culture in this country, so it’s no surprise that “skimo” caught on early here. Before most Americans could even imagine skiing uphill, Aspen locals were skinning up their backyard mountains in the style of European racers. With ski touring gaining popularity in the USA lately, a broader variety of people and gear are now going uphill at Aspen––lycra suits not required!

To earn your own turns at Aspen, you will, however, need certain equipment for skinning uphill and skiing/riding back down. Luckily, the town has no shortage of rental shops in case you don’t bring your own, and lessons are available for beginners. You will then need to know where to go, as each mountain has its own designated routes for uphill. The four local resorts are Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass––all owned by Aspen Ski Co.

Aspen Mountain is the original resort and enduring icon of the ski world. It’s home to America’s Uphill––a longtime skimo race with a course that’s open all season for training. Then there’s Aspen Highlands, which has the famed hike-up Highland Bowl, but determined uphillers can conquer the whole mountain from bottom to top. Buttermilk makes the locals’ favorite training ground, however, with all-day uphill access on a handful of designated routes. And finally, Snowmass offers the most terrain of all but is a bit removed from the rest, making it less popular with the resident crowd.

All these options for resort touring may seem overwhelming, so to make things easier we’ve mapped all the designated uphill routes on the Four Mountains. Once you are geared up and ready to go, you can use this guide to help navigate your tour. Tap any route on the map for more information plus links to the relevant uphill policies. Be sure to learn the policy in advance and obtain the required pass, not only for your safety but for the sake of preserving uphill access at the resorts.

Thanks to the abundance of inbounds touring available, you can earn your turns on all kinds of terrain and at any time of day. Whether you’re game for pre-dawn training by headlamp, an after-work party lap at sunset, or a midday tour to switch things up, you can always find a good route and good company for uphilling in Aspen.

Routes included

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