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THE POWER OF FOUR: BUTTERMILK - Katie Bamber, Aspen CO
Saturday March 2, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

The so-called beginner's area of Aspen and home to the X Games. But Buttermilk is much more... Here's why you should ski it.



One mountain - two sides.

Buttermilk mountain is home to the Winter X Games - where it's fresh enough to boast that our boy Woodsy championed in January.

It has the Red Bull Double Pipe.

It's also the named 'family area' or 'beginner's zone' of the iconic resort.

I put this in quotes here as it would be underselling it to leave it like this.

I went with too low an expectation, and was completely blown away.



For Katie's accounts of Day 1 and Day 3 in Aspen, catch up here:

It's a wonderful ski mountain.

Mellow and meandering, yes.

But need all slopes be a challenge?

Empty runs, sick views and perfectly groomed pistes should feature on any visitor's itinerary.

The three main chairlifts service the entire ski hill and are fast quads.

There are 44 trails across a vertical drop of 619m; Another 5 small lifts for novices and ski school lie at the base.

Aspen Buttermilk is small and fun.

The majority green and blue runs are unintimitdating, but then...

And here comes its other side:

It is legendary for its terrain parks.

Not just that, but its the cream of the crop of that.

Buttermilk hosts the ultimate action sports competition for us winter lovers, the Winter X Games.

Aspen Buttermilk - Winter X GamesAspen Buttermilk - Winter X Games


























FREESTYLE

From top to bottom, Buttermilk is one terrain park after another.

From the obvious one you can't miss from the main road - Buttermilk Main Park - there's a 22-foot superpipe, and jumps, logs, banks and rails stretching along 2 miles.

There are seven Buttermilk parks in toto.

The main park is quite possibly the best terrain park in the USA - so for the spectacle it's wonderful.

What better than watching people throw themselves off the kickers and halfpipe from the prime seat of the chairlift?

Buttermilk viewsButtermilk views




























Let's not forget the uphill.

There were many people skinning up and I can see why.

The pitch is perfect, the views are lovely.

So would the light be, am or pm, whichever your touring jam.

So tourers, carvers, families or freestylers - here's an Aspen adventure.

Buttermilk is the smallest Aspen Skiing Co's four resorts, but by no means missable.

For those that need a tougher ski during a day, head to the Tiehack Express and lap a few times.

Racer's Edge is a steeper piste on the far skier's right. 

Timberdoodle Glade is another to test out...

Read here where I spent day 1 skiing in Aspen:
ButtermilkButtermilk X Games







 


























VIEWS

Pyramid Peak rises behind Buttermilk.

It stands tall, at over 4,000m.

But closer, out over to looker's left, is Aspen Peak and the Highlands pistes - the momentum builds for this upcoming ski day...

And the valley between Buttermilk and Highlands - There's long been talk of a link to the two, but for now there's a pedestrian-ski bridge over a river linking the two.

Then on the bright side of the day are wicked views of the Maroon Bell.

FOOD

Possibly best, and most affordable, ski food on the 4 mountains.

There's a Mongolian BBQ and Pho bar.

Eat on the mountain, at the top of Summit Express.

The Cliffhouse lodge is up there, and isn't your usual pit stop for food on the mountain.

Though it does looks like it.

The self-service cabin really doesn't represent the the food it serves.

Order a bowl of chilli.

Better still, visit the Pho bar, where you can build your own bowl with veg prawns and meat, and they'll concoct something warm and delicious for you.

Mongolian Grill, Cliffhouse Buttermilk - Aspen Times imageMongolian Grill, Cliffhouse Buttermilk - Aspen Times image
























Cliffhouse, ButtermilkCliffhouse, Buttermilk




































It's a fun combination mountain -

- Seeing little kiddos ski themselves down the perfectly pisted, long, empty slopes ending with the ballsy teens (they're the crazies that take on world-class parks, right?) taking on the park.

What better combination?

Inspire the young;

Keep young the inspired.

How do we get the new generation going quite so well as to run the elite and cool jumpers next to those setting out?

ButtermilkButtermilk am



























ButtermilkButtermilk pm



























Those ain't no beginner lines...

They're certainly lines of those in the know.

In the know of where to ski on a Sunday, away from crowds, to get that serene Sunday feeling.

It was a ski-perfect day.

And I will ask anyone to ski it before writing off Buttermilkf as a hill just for beginners, or one of the four not for them.

It's the mountain I was most impressed by.

And the perfect foil to Aspen Mountain, which won't be everyone's cup of tea.

Or even somewhere for those like me who like to keep it dynamic, if not always massively active.

I like a different atmosphere day-to-day, change up the skiing vibe.

Ajax is steep, busy and energetic on that majestic mountain.

Buttermilk is peaceful, mellow and all about being out there in nature, at one with it.

It also feels massively safe - as safe as you can be in the mountains.

Entirely inbounds, the whole mountain is snow safe.

There's also little opportunity to go off route, and off piste - you'll either end up at the base station, or far skiers right at the Tiehack.

You'd feel ok your kids taking off to do one by themselves...

Buttermilk tree runsButtermilk tree runs



























It's written everywhere that if you're not beginner or a little skier or rider, Buttermilk will bore you.

Well I'm an experienced ski journalist and had the most gorgeous day here.

If you've come all this way to ski Aspen, ski all of its sides.

I'd suggest getting your legs back here, if you can resist the draw of Ajax from the centre of town (just as I didn't...).

Or, if you're really smart, you'll forget the bowls of Highlands on a powder day and not try to beat the locals at their own game, so some have advised.

Instead head here to Buttermilk for freshies all day, no competition.

ButtermilkButtermilk hospitality



























Think Austria has good hospitality?

Ski America, given its most glamorous, and on the mountain there is hot cider, coffee, water and suncream dotted around the mountain, just to be nice.

No more grappling with French waiters  on the mountain for tap water...

ButtermilkButtermilk base area, kiddy-drag




























Last thing.

Isn't Buttermilk the cutest name for a mountain?

Read what Katie thought about Aspen Mountain:
For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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