Exploring the Aspen Snowmass Mountain is a load of fun, especially when you go skiing down the routes just off the trail map.
The powder flew into the air as I did a gnarly little toe turn on my 151 Burton Snowboard.
Charging down the Black Diamond slope, the snow felt good as it sprayed onto my face, giving me a bit of a chill that was more than welcoming on this warm winter morning.
My skirt gave out a bit, allowing some of the snow to bombard my chest but even that felt great and gave me a rush as I happened to overdress and was a little warm for todays run. Sure, this was only my fifth time out on a board…in my entire life. But I’ve had plenty of experience in extreme sports.
Exploring the Aspen Snowmass Mountain Ski Resort
That and a combination of some experience surfing while I was out touring the islands of Hawaii gave me a bit of an edge over most new snowboarders…but again, I was still what the locals call a newb.
After a long and completely satisfying run to the bottom of Sam’s Knob (the name of the Black Diamond slope I decided to take on), I jumped on the gondola and made my way to the peak of Snowmass Mountain. It was a perfect day to be out on the slopes.
It was warm, but not too warm. Although a bit choppy, I was still enjoying myself. This new hobby of snowboarding quickly rivaled my surfing addiction, but surfing was still my favorite…or at least until we got some more snow…only then would I truly compare.
As I got to the top of Snowmass, I unstrapped and walked around taking in the view. Strapping back onto my board, I then traversed over to another gondola that took you to an even higher elevation.
It looked extremely beautiful and figured if I was at 11,000 feet why not go ahead and make it up to 12,000. After all that was the highest I could get and it would offer some amazing footage on my camera. The view was completely amazing and almost brought a tear to my eye…almost. The only thing that would rival it was the view from the air if I was paragliding from the mountain top.
When I finally summited the peak of Snowmass, I noticed a small building off to the left of the mountain. To my surprise it was actually a small pizza joint. Who knew you could get gourmet pizza at 12,000 feet! haha Feeling a bit parched and hungry after a long day of boarding, I decided to step inside and get a bite to eat.
To my surprise it was actually quite delicious! Although a bit pricey (What do you expect? You’re sitting at 12,000 feet above Aspen; everything has to be brought in by Snowcat…including the water.), it was very good. You received large chunks of toppings that tasted fresh! With a combination of the food and a killer staff, it was a nice little set up that rivaled no other!
After scarfing down my food, I stepped outside to take a look at the world class view of the breathtaking Rocky Mountain view here in Aspen. You could literally see for miles and I couldn’t help but remind myself of the hang gliding classes they offered in town. From what I heard, you literally just ski off the top of the mountain…something like that seems to be right down my alley!
Leaving that thought for another day, I took a few more pics and ran into an old man who was waiting for his wife to get off the phone. Chatting nonchalantly with him about his wife and having few laughs, he agreed to take a picture of me here at the peak. Nice huh? You’ve got to trust me when I say that these pictures do no justice to the beauty and tranquility from way up here. The only way to experience this is to be here yourself!
After stopping for a few more pictures, I said my farewells to the old man, waved at the wife, strapped on my board and began to traverse down the mountainside until I got to the edge where there was a big area roped off and said “Caution”. Taking out my camera once more, I began to get immersed in my surroundings.
Just as I was finishing up and started to put my camera away, I heard the familiar sound of a skier heading down the mountainside on this quiet blue run. I quickly took a few snapshots of him as he flew by and couldn’t help but think to myself that I want to go that fast one day!
Finishing up with the camera, I put it away and started snowboarding smoothly down the mountain, practicing my heel and toe turns. As I got a little more comfortable I began to pick up speed until I noticed a few open trails off to my left. Coming to an abrupt halt, I traversed over to the entrance of the trees of the trees and slowly began to get immersed in the beauty of Aspens nature.
Cutting around the trees at a very comfortable pace, I eventually made it to another opening and stopped to take one more set of pictures. It was starting to get dark out and I noticed that I was one of the few still out on the mountain. Capturing this cool pic (above) and taking advantage of the tranquility, I stashed my camera and made my way towards the base of the mountain.
I had one small wipeout, the first since my second day boarding, that actually injured my wrist but it was all worth it. I’ll be better here in another week and back on the slopes to enjoy the beauty of the Rocky Mountains! 🙂
Ronald Robbins is the Founder of Active Planet Travels adventure travel blog and Clicta Digital, a digital marketing agency based out of Denver, Colorado. He has found most of his professional interests in being an adventure travel blogger, photographer & bizarre food enthusiast.