Aspen Mountain#4 in Best Things To Do in Aspen
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It's this mountain – first opened to skiers in 1947– that put Aspen on the map. And with spectacular summit views and slopes that will make even the most advanced skier's heart race, it's no wonder why Aspen Mountain remains a favorite spot for winter sports-lovers. "Ajax," as it's fondly called, features approximately 675 skiable acres with 64 miles of runs (complete with a variety of bumps and steeps); you can also make your own tracks along the Aspen Mountain Powder Tour's backcountry terrain. And when you're ready to call it a day, you can satisfy your appetite at one of the nearby restaurants or bars.
When they compare it to Aspen's other ski areas, visitors and locals say that Aspen's veteran mountain is the best. However, novice skiers beware: Travelers warn this is not a mountain for beginners. They say it's made for intermediate to expert skiers and snowboarders, due to the challenging nature of most of the terrain. Skiers do say they appreciate the variety of trails, from groomed blues to powdery black diamonds to expert-only double black diamonds.
Aspen Mountain sits about 3 miles south of town. All ski lifts open at 9 a.m. and stay open until around 3:30 p.m., though some lifts may close earlier. (During the summer, the Silver Queen Gondola shuttles hikers and sightseers up and down the mountain between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.) The mountain opens for ski season in late November and welcomes powder hounds through late April. Lift tickets vary in price, depending on the time of year, though you might save a little money by purchasing lift tickets ahead of time from the Aspen-Snowmass website. Lift tickets are valid at all four Aspen ski areas. Keep in mind that purchasing passes in advance (and getting an early start) could help you bypass long lift lines.
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#1 Maroon Bells
Rising more than 14,000 feet, these twin peaks are a favorite spot for hikers and wildlife-watchers, boasting beautiful vistas and breathtaking scenery. In fact, Maroon Bells' jagged peaks and multicolored slopes make it one of the most photographed sites in North America. The surrounding area features numerous trails and campsites, granting you a variety of viewing points from which you can capture the perfect shot.
Whether you choose to head toward the summit or to lazily stroll around the beaver-laden Maroon Lake, this is sure to be one of the highlights of your Aspen trip. Recent travelers praise the uninterrupted beauty of this area, calling the Maroon Bells "stunning," "awe-inspiring" and "one of the loveliest places on earth." Some say it's the perfect place for a day of hiking and a picnic lunch. Past hikers recommended getting to the mountains early as the area can get crowded.
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