Travel News

Aspen’s Slopes Draw Skiers and Influencers to the Colorado Town

Aspen’s Slopes Draw Skiers and Influencers to the Colorado Town

The influencers were not in Aspen to ski. In their Barbie-pink ski suits and matching Moon Boots, they rode the Silver Queen gondola to the top of the mountain, smiling and jumping for their cameras and social media feeds. Soon they would get back on the gondola and ride down, perhaps to pose for more content with a glass of Champagne at Ajax Tavern at the resort base.

They did not care that after almost two weeks without snow in what was already a below-average year, a storm had finally come through, replenishing the mountain’s steep slopes and giving skied-out bump runs new life.

But the rest of us did.

I had come to Aspen in early February to ski Aspen Mountain’s newest terrain, an area called Hero’s that, as you look uphill, sits on the mountain’s left shoulder and offers 153 new acres of skiing, most of it rated double-black diamond. It is the first big development on the mountain since the Silver Queen gondola opened in 1986.

“There are not new ski resorts being built in North America,” said Geoff Buchheister, the chief executive of Aspen Skiing Company, over lunch at the Sundeck near the top of the mountain. “You have to innovate.”

First the snow had to fall, though. When I had skied the area with Mr. Buchheister and a group of Ski Co. execs a few days before, conditions had been, well, “sketchy.” The snow was hard and slick as we made our way through the trees to a steep, mogul-covered slope called Loushin’s that tested my resolve, and the newly sharpened edges of my skis.

But now, those hard, skied-off bumps were pillowy and the glades at the bottom offered a chance to dance through the trees. My companion and I did a few laps, skiing the Powerline chute and one called Here’s To …, both of which led to a series of glades, then hit Walsh’s, a more wide-open slope. We pretty much had the slopes to ourselves.

The expansion has been a long time coming. “When we moved here 18 years ago, they were already talking about putting in a lift,” said Pete Louras, 74, who retired to Aspen with his wife, Sam, 72, in 2005 and is a 100-days-a-year skier. This past summer, they watched from their living room as helicopters put pieces of the chairlift in place.

For decades the area had been accessible only through a backcountry gate. As far back as the 1980s, some ski patrollers were suggesting turning it into inbounds terrain, referring to it as Pandora’s, for the mythic woman who unleashed the evils of the…

Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at NYT > Travel…