“Yeah, a lot of people ski Aspen Mountain and live to tell the tale.”
But are they bad as me?
I was born and raised in Kansas, literally, the flattest place possible. As a fearless child, I rollerbladed down my three front steps on a DIY ramp and crashed immediately, gaining scars that still exist today. I’m scared of heights. I like summertime.
I’m not someone who simply skis down Aspen Mountain and lives. But I did. Here’s my newbie story.
How it Started
Earlier this month, I was lucky enough to travel to Aspen to experience the mountains, food, and culture. It was wonderful, up until my crew suggested we ski on Aspen Moutain the following morning. The crowd I was with: An East coast skier, two 10-year vets, a fellow midwesterner that could ski, and a Hawaiian who pulled a Jonny Tsunami during his college days.
I didn’t want to disappoint my new friends so I reluctantly said yes, warning them of the inevitable trainwreck they were about to witness.
The morning of – Okay, I’m bundled up, caffeinated, and ready to go. Once on the gondola, I see how massive Ajax is. We climb. And climb. I see skiers below flying down the mountain. Ahh.
At the top of the mountain, there are stunning views of Highland Bowl, Pyramid Peak, and the tip-top of Maroon Bells. If it was in my cards to fall off a mountain that day, I would have stunning final thoughts. We head down Copper and my support system assures me it will be just fine. Again, they have no idea.
I’m doing well until we reach the first steep hill on Copper. Wipeout.
Get up and try again. Another wipeout.
I call out “Just leave me!” and continue to lay on the ground.
Jonny Tsunami skis uphill to my rescue and helps me stand and point my skis eastward. I follow him and secretly celebrate while regaining my composure.
We catch up to the other skiers in our group and slowly make our way down Copper. I follow East-Coast girl/ Limelight-lover’s tracks which honestly helps immensely. We arrive at Gent’s Ridge lift without another wipeout and I’m stoked. We make our way back up to the sundeck and I head straight to the restaurant for a hot chocolate.
I did a run on Ajax, and I did it very okay. Win!
In the afternoon, I made my way over to Buttermilk Moutain, a place more suited for beginners. I went down Homestead run, the easiest green available and had a wonderful time leaning forward and trying to switch my weight. When the clock hit 3 pm, I knew that I was done and needed some apres-ski to fix me right again.
I met my black-diamond friends at Justice Snows and slammed a mimosa and garlicky mushroom flatbread (get it if you go).
All in all, a great day. After all, I survived.
If you’re a beginner skier in Aspen, my advice is to take a lesson and dive right in. While you might not want to start on Aspen Mountain, you’ll be able to work up to it. And once you do, ski down, head on over to Ajax Tavern and order up some truffle fries. You earned them.