Aspen Highlands, Colorado

Living in the Aspen Highlands

Iyna Bort Caruso

Given the high profile of Aspen, Colorado, among the global ski set, the Aspen Highlands ski area is surprisingly uncrowded.

Aspen Highlands is one of four mountains that make up the resort--the others are Snowmass, Buttermilk and Aspen (also known as Ajax). It’s considered more of the locals’ mountain among the group. Expert skiers take to its extreme slopes and steep slopes, but its most well-known feature among die-hard powder hounds is Highland Bowl. To reach the terrain requires hiking in ski or snowboarding boots part of the way to the summit at 12,392 feet. The reward is a 2,500-vertical-foot descent, the steepest in the state.

Aspen Highlands is in the Roaring Fork Valley, about 220 miles southwest of Denver. The base is a pedestrian plaza with a laid-back vibe. Downtown Aspen is about three miles away and accessible via shuttle bus. Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is mere minutes away offering regional and private jet service.

The area isn’t all about big mountain skiing. Some 300 days of sunshine a year make it ideal for a myriad of outdoor pursuits such as fly fishing, mountain biking, tennis, golf, rafting, mountaineering and hiking. The cultural scene is vibrant, too. Aspen boasts a food and wine classic, jazz series, even an ideas festival. Although Aspenites love the outdoors, art museums, galleries and dance theater performances don’t disappoint.

Aspen Highlands features sprawling custom mountain estates, some with access to the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area featuring six “14-footers,” peaks rising at least 14,000 feet. Some residences have access to the luxury amenities of the Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, located at the base of the mountain. Perks include year-round use of heated pools, spa, fitness center as well as golf privileges at Roaring Fork Valley courses.