Backcountry Skiing at Snowmass Aspen

Post by blogger | December 27, 2005      

One of my favorite mellow tours in the Aspen area goes from Snowmass Resort over to Buttermilk ski area via Burnt Mountain. It’s a short trip, but requires a bit of navigation as you move through overgrown spruce forest and some remarkably convoluted terrain. Eventually you reach the Sugar Bowls in the backcountry near Buttermilk, then follow the ridge to the top of Buttermilk. We did the tour yesterday. I still haven’t found the best way to get from Burnt Mountain to the Sugar Bowls (best=most turns), but I’m working on it. Will publish a map and GPS log of the route when we get it wired.

Christmas brought us a few pair of top-line Zeal Optics PPX goggles with photochromatic lens. These things are incredible. The lens changes from dark to nearly clear depending on light levels. You can wear them at night while using a headlamp or driving a snowmobile — and still get the dark lens you need for those scorcher spring days when helios rules. What’s the view from inside a Zeal goggle? Photo below tells the tale, it was shot with a Zeal PPX over the camera lens.

Sugar Bowls - in the backcountry near Buttermilk ski area
Backcountry skiing at the Sugar Bowls, this low angled terrain can be yield fun turns on a moonlit night during corn season, but with deep powder it’s best put to use as a scenic byway.
Backcountry skiing sugar snack.
Sugar at the Sugar Bowls – dad looks on with envy as kid snacks on almond toffee.


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3 Responses to “Backcountry Skiing at Snowmass Aspen”

  1. Mark Worley December 28th, 2005 2:17 am

    Photochromatic and polarized? With a really wide latitude of dark to light? Awesome. Some have tried and not done so well with the shade change of the lens.


  2. George Privon December 28th, 2005 2:30 am


    I’m looking for a google to take on a climb of Mt Logan this coming summer. This looks like it might be the best option due to the photochromatic lenses. Do you concur?


  3. Lou December 28th, 2005 4:33 am

    They seem to work well, but I’d say they need more testing before I’d take them to the arctic. We’ll know by the end of winter. Zeal has a really good upgrade deal if you want to try some out. Check their website.

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