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Learning to ski in Aspen

One of the best parts about learning to ski in Aspen is that you have choices! Not only do you have the gentle beginner-friendly slopes of Buttermilk and Snowmass, but you also have downtown Aspen's world-class dining, shopping and nightlife experiences. Plus, once you've master the basics you have 5,303 acres of terrain to explore spread out over four mountains. Aspen's free skiers bus transports you to and from all four resorts, which are located within about nine miles from each other, making it easy to experience the beginner terrain at the other Aspen Snowmass ski resorts.

It's important to note that Aspen Mountain, the ski area that's located just above downtown Aspen, does not offer any beginner terrain. Most beginner skiers in Aspen will find that they prefer the shorter, rolling slopes of Buttermilk, or beginner “learn to ski” zones at Snowmass.

Aspen beginner skiing terrain

Buttermilk is the top choice for beginners. Start your first day on the slopes at the Buttermilk base area. Here you’ll find ski school, equipment rental and a magic carpet and beginner chair lift. After a couple days with Buttermilk Ski School, you’ll probably want to do some exploring. Head up the Summit Express lift, from there you can enjoy the gentle, meandering trail via Homestead Road back to the main base area, or head to West Buttermilk, where you’ll find several short, easy green trails, like Larkspur or Westward Ho, that allow you to give your legs a rest. For a change of scenery, beginners can also ski to the Tiehack Express lift via the Oregon Trail.

Snowmass also features plenty of incredible beginner terrain, thanks to a couple of “learn to ski” areas, Fanny Hill, Assay Hill and Elk Camp. Aspen Highlands also has several beginner trails off of Expedition Lift, but its important for beginners to stay on Park Avenue while skiing back down down to the base area.

Buttermilk and Snowmass Ski School

Of the “Power of Four” ski resorts, Buttermilk and Snowmass are the best suited for beginners, as they both offer exceptional facilities for adults and children alike, including Buttermilk's new 7,500-square-foot Hideout building and Snowmass's Treehouse Kids' Adventure Center. Snowmass’ Elk Camp not only provides great alpine views, but fosters a comfortable environment for adults to learn in. Plus, the Elk Camp learning center is convenient to the Elk Camp lodge, one of Snowmass' newest on-mountain restaurants.

Beginner skiers can choose from group or private ski school lessons. Whichever resort you take a lesson at in Aspen Snowmass, you’ll be coached by a professional, friendly instructor who knows how to share their love of Aspen and passion for skiing while teaching you the fundamentals, so you, too, can foster a love for the mountains and appreciate the outdoors during the winter months.