FrontRunner: Taking It to the Extreme
The challenging terrain at Aspen Highlands (800.525.6200, www.aspensnowmass.com) helps the resort lure expert skiers away from Aspen Mountain and other high-profile neighbors. Highlights at the ski area include the heart-shaped Highland Bowl, which sprawls beneath the resort’s 12,392-foot summit and offers a gut-wrenching vertical charge of steep pitches and chutes. Until recently, however, the arduous journey back to the top—a long traverse across the mountain followed by a 30-minute hike—discouraged multiple runs through the bowl. This winter, Aspen Highlands improved access to this prized tract by opening a new chairlift and the first sections of what eventually will be 270 acres of mostly double-black-diamond trails below Highland Bowl. The triple chairlift, dubbed Deep Temerity, lengthens the ride from the summit by 1,000 feet, cuts the traverse across the mountain in half, and transports you to its apex in just seven minutes. From there, you can ski the steeps below the bowl or head back to the summit, a journey that still requires an intimidating hike along a spiny ridge.