One of the best parts about learning to ski in Aspen is that you have choices! Beginners can choose from the gentle, beginner-friendly slopes of Buttermilk and Snowmass. Once you've mastered the basics you have 5,303 acres of terrain to explore across four mountains. Aspen's complimentary skiers’ bus transports you to and from all four mountains, which are all located within a nine-mile span, making it easy to experience it all.
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 find they prefer the shorter, rolling slopes of Buttermilk, or the novice-friendly “learn-to-ski” zones at Snowmass.
Aspen Snowmass places beginner experiences on a pedestal, making it an excellent place to learn to ski or snowboard. Both children and adults have world-class programs and facilities designed to make learning fun, educational and comfortable. The resort recently invested in two state-of-the-art children’s centers: Snowmass’ 25,000-square-foot, forest-themed, Treehouse Kids’ Center and Buttermilk’s 7,000-square-foot, interactive play and ski school center, The Hideout.
Adults learning to ski or snowboard for the first time will appreciate the level of thought and detail that goes into Aspen Snowmass’ Beginner’s Magic ™ three-day program, which was crafted to make adults feel at ease, confident and informed during the learning process. Adults in the Beginner’s Magic program can take their lessons at Snowmass or Buttermilk—or jump back and forth between both mountains.
For beginners who’d like to see some Rocky Mountain scenery and the sense of adventure of being up on the mountain, we recommend taking a lesson at Snowmass. Their Adult Beginner’s Magic programs are held at the top of Elk Camp Gondola. Riding up the gondola and enjoying high-alpine views is not a common feature of beginner programs at other resorts. The Meadows, the beginner area atop Elk Camp Gondola, features gentle slopes, a magic carpet and beginner chairlift.
If you would like to be a little closer to downtown Aspen on your first day on the slopes, start at Buttermilk base area. Here you’ll find ski school, equipment rental and a magic carpet and beginner chairlift. As you progress, you’ll probably want to do some exploring. Head up the Summit Express lift, where 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. For a change of scenery, beginners can also ski to the Tiehack Express lift via the Oregon Trail.