Image: Todd Hartley

One of the best things about editing Aspen Sojourner is the breadth of subject matter: we cover arts and culture, restaurants and bars, outdoor recreation, profiles of local notables, fashion, architecture and design, social events, travel, and local issues. But best of all, at least this time of year, we write about skiing. 

With everything else that Aspen offers these days, it can be easy to forget that at heart we are a ski town. Skiing drives the winter economy, and it’s the primary reason the community rebounded from a low of some 700 hardy residents about a hundred years ago to a vibrant home of more than 7,000 locals now.

As part of our mission is to share the best places to go locally, whether you’ve lived here 30 years or are visiting for a week, we asked frequent contributor Catherine Lutz to gather inside intel on where to ski among our four mountains. The recommendations address the type of terrain you seek, what kind of group you may be hitting the slopes with, and even where and when you want to start après. Catherine compiled lots of useful info and discovered a few things, too—for instance, no one knows which local run is actually the steepest. 

As equipment becomes lighter and more reliable, and as skiers continue to seek out new adventure, backcountry ski touring grows in popularity. The Aspen area is in on the trend in a big way. For those just getting started, or for someone dropping in for a couple of days who wants a quick-hit list of tours, we assigned Carbondale resident Manasseh Franklin, the new editor of popular backcountry-oriented website Wild Snow, to compile her top three suggestions. And if you do head out, make sure to be avalanche aware.

If you’re a skier, the weather is likely top of mind. Do you bring out the carving skis for cruising on groomers tomorrow, or will it be time to invoke the powder clause and skip work in the morning? Local forecasters Cory Gates and Ryan Boudreau have developed a dedicated following that hangs on their every prediction through AspenWeather.net. Catherine Lutz recently interviewed them to dig deeper into how they make their forecasts and what they think of climate-change projections. She also learned what it may mean for ski season when a lot of bears frequent town in the fall. Read the story to find out the answer.

Wishing you many powder days for the rest of this winter and spring.

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