Okay Scott, you’re right, I should report from outside the office now and then. Yesterday I headed up to Aspen to work on my new Green Machine boots. For fit testing I climbed part way up Highlands ski area, which is opening on Saturday.
The snowpack up there is thin, but they’ve done their usual job of making some excellent groom that Saturday’s earlybirds will no doubt enjoy. I don’t have any definite beta on Highland Bowl, but we’re expecting more snow this weekend so I’d expect some of the bowl to open fairly soon.
For those of you from outside this area, the interesting thing about Aspen Highlands is it provides access to an amazing amount of steep backcountry terrain on a gigantic ridge that snakes south from the ski area summit for about 10 miles to the crest of the Elk Mountains. Problem is the Colorado snowpack, so “Highland Ridge” is sometimes better left alone till later in the season, or even springtime. But it’s there, and will blow you away when you see what you can get from it.
Another interesting thing happening at Highlands is what appears to be a rebirth of the base area mall with some core business action such as a boot fitter, coffee/bakery, and the storefront presence of Aspen Expeditions alpine guides, who are permitted to guide slackcountry and true backcountry off Highland Ridge.
In all, an interesting scene we’ll be reporting on more as winter progresses.
|Portion of Highlands ridge as viewed from west. Click image to enlarge (wait for large file to open).|
WildSnow.com publisher emeritus and founder Lou (Louis Dawson) has a 50+ years career in climbing, backcountry skiing and ski mountaineering. He was the first person in history to ski down all 54 Colorado 14,000-foot peaks, has authored numerous books about about backcountry skiing, and has skied from the summit of Denali in Alaska, North America’s highest mountain.