A Bit from Outside

Post by WildSnow.com blogger | December 11, 2008      

Okay Scott, you’re right, I should report from outside the office now and then. Yesterday I headed up to Aspen to work on my new Green Machine boots. For fit testing I climbed part way up Highlands ski area, which is opening on Saturday.

Highlands groom.

Highlands groom.

The snowpack up there is thin, but they’ve done their usual job of making some excellent groom that Saturday’s earlybirds will no doubt enjoy. I don’t have any definite beta on Highland Bowl, but we’re expecting more snow this weekend so I’d expect some of the bowl to open fairly soon.

For those of you from outside this area, the interesting thing about Aspen Highlands is it provides access to an amazing amount of steep backcountry terrain on a gigantic ridge that snakes south from the ski area summit for about 10 miles to the crest of the Elk Mountains. Problem is the Colorado snowpack, so “Highland Ridge” is sometimes better left alone till later in the season, or even springtime. But it’s there, and will blow you away when you see what you can get from it.

Another interesting thing happening at Highlands is what appears to be a rebirth of the base area mall with some core business action such as a boot fitter, coffee/bakery, and the storefront presence of Aspen Expeditions alpine guides, who are permitted to guide slackcountry and true backcountry off Highland Ridge.

In all, an interesting scene we’ll be reporting on more as winter progresses.

 Dynafit Freeride

Portion of Highlands ridge as viewed from west. Click image to enlarge (wait for large file to open).


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3 Responses to “A Bit from Outside”

  1. Dan December 11th, 2008 3:35 pm


    You mentioned that mid-winter these runs are usually unstable. Is there a resource for monitoring the avalanche danger in the slackcountry runs off of Highland? Will be there in early Feb. and was wondering if I should even bother bringing my backcountry gear.

  2. scott December 11th, 2008 4:20 pm

    LOL, I thought my comments might get a rise out of yesterday. Thanks for the outside photos. Even the corduroy is an improvement over the brick wall I’m stairing at now.

    I skied willy’s last weekend on my traditional tree hunting expedition. Not much snow as you likely already know but still some good if very tentative turns. Tips up an all.

    I”d say 20″setting up as a nice base. No TG yet at least where I was.

  3. Lou December 11th, 2008 4:25 pm

    Scott, yeah, the plus side as at least below timberline it’s been warm enough to retard some of the TG development. But these clear nights, oh boy…

    Dan, best resource is the Roaring Fork avy information. Click the “avy” link in our top nav bar and use the resources chart. Don’t want to publish the URL here in case it changes. And of course doing your own field eval. Another thing to consider is when you look back there, and there are not any tracks, that indicates something. I ski that stuff mostly during spring snowpack, but it’s possible to do in winter if you play the game well.

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