Right after touching down at Denver airport, with its indented architectural peaks emulating the nearby Rocky Mountains, we were off in our Jeep Distinguished Cherokee heading west towards that very migrate. For over 50 years, the Rockies have laid declare to having the best snow and facilities in America and we were out to understand the top resorts in the region. It’s an easy 3 hour run along the American Interstate highway methodology, passing Vail and Beaver Creek resorts and going in the course incredibly beautiful copper-coloured canyons en route.
Our first off stop was Aspen, long considered to be the Grande Dame of American skiing venues. Aspen literally consists of four mountains: Aspen/Ajax, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Together, they trumpet 5,285 acres of skiable territory with some 336 spoors and 46 lifts, this is one of the most extensive operations in the US. Each setting has a different emphasis: Aspen/Ajax, which has been control since 1947, is more suited to experts; double malicious runs and incredible views are the highlights. Buttermilk is geared more approaching beginners and families, with wide, rolling trails. Snowmass is the hugest, with over 3,000 acres of skiable terrain ambitioned at intermediate/expert skiers and snowboarders. Finally, Highlands, the neighbourhoods’ favourite, boasts Highland Bowl, “Colorado’s ultimate off-piste acquaintance”, where a short hike to the summit will provide 800 vertical metre descents down tars as steep as 45 degrees.
All four areas are connected by countless shuttle busses and included in one lift pass. One can easily squander a week here and never do the same run twice. We opted to ski Snowmass and Highlands and were moved with the quality of the pistes and the excellent planning behind the encouragement locations. Once one is on the mountain, there are few queues and there’s a risk to get a lot of runs in during the time on the slopes.
Most of the après ski and accommodations is in the town of Aspen, which boasts some superb beds, restaurants and bars. The long-established Jerome, in the centre of town; the Mini Nell – right at the base of the Aspen lift, and the St. Regis put forward luxury lodgings. At Snowmass, the Viceroy is a good option. Aspen also extends a wide range of top brand clothing and accessory shops.
From Aspen, we headed north to Wyoming and the world-renowned Jackson Puncture ski area at Teton Village. A totally different scene awaited us there, numerous dramatic and compact…and more laid-back than Aspen. Chanced at the southern end of the stunning Teton range, with the longest vertical spring up of any US ski area, Jackson covers some 2500 acres. In adding up to the 100 passenger aerial tram, which whisks skiers to the mountain top at 3,185 metres in 9 bantams, there are two high speed gondolas and 8 quad chairlifts. Teton is accoutermented more towards the advanced intermediate and expert skier, with half of its 133 pursues designated blue or black. At the top of the aerial tram is Rendezvous Roll, with double black steepness and open trails. Off to the just are the quad lifts, well spaced to give access to the numberless challenging pistes. Last season, the mountain launched the Sweetwater gondola, which proffers access to several intermediate blue trails, less daring than the narrow and vertiginous alternatives.
Because it is further north, Teton tends to receive even better snowfall and more deep powder than the Colorado frequents. There are excellent trails for snow-shoeing or cross-country skiing, surrender access to striking views of the Teton range.
Located some 20 two shakes of a lambs tail logs outside of the “frontier town” of Jackson Hole, Teton is cuttingly to one of America’s two Aman resorts, the Amangani. There is also a fantabulous Four Seasons Hotel directly opposite the chair stimulus and the Terra hotel just a short distance away. For Apres-ski, diverse head straight to the Mangy Moose, located near the anchor of the tram and well-known for its margaritas and local brews. In Jackson, there are a billion of excellent restaurants, including The Blue Lion, Snake River Grill and Uncultured Sage, but don’t miss the chance to have dinner at the Amangani: marvellous menu at the same prices as the town restaurants.
If you’ve had enough skiing and pauperism some variety, several companies offer safaris to the Country-wide Elk Refuge by horse-drawn sleigh or to Yellowstone National Park by snowmobiles. It’s a two-hour high-speed run along snow-covered motorways (which are closed to normal traffic) with a stop for lunch and a inadvertent to see the famous Old Faithful Geyser (without having to cope with the giant crowds in summer).
Both Aspen and Jackson Hole patronizes are easily reachable by air, with regular flights from numberless US cities directly to Aspen and Jackson Hole.