Your Perfect Day

Where to Find Powder Stashes on All Four Mountains

Whether it's first chair or early afternoon, here's how to maximize the goods when the snow gods deliver.

By Tess Strokes November 20, 2018 Published in the Holiday 2018 issue of Aspen Sojourner

TJ David's perfect day

Image: Jesse Hoffman

Floating effortlessly through deep powder is one thing. Linking multiple turns in said snow without crossing a track is quite another. That’s why a powder day takes—what was that word George W. Bush used?—“strategery.” Follow our recommendations for fresh turns, both early morning and midafternoon.

Aspen Mountain
Get off the gondola and you’ll likely hear someone shout “Face to Six!” before pushing off in a hurry. The call-out means to ski the face of Bell Mountain and traverse Spar Gulch to Chair Six (a.k.a. the F.I.S. Lift). Follow their lead. Then, from the top of the lift, choose your line down the Mine Dumps (the runs from Bear Paw to Bonny Bell) to Spar Gulch and hightail it back to the gondola. In the afternoon, head for lesser-skied terrain off Lift 1A, like Corkscrew Gully.

Aspen Highlands
Before ski patrol opens Highland Bowl, lap the Deep Temerity chair, which accesses line after line of steep pitches. When the bowl opens, prepare for an aggressive boot-pack pace up the ridge. Many are lured in early by low-hanging fruit like Ballroom, but these south-facing shots sometimes hide a crust layer. On a bluebird day, it’s hard to beat the maximum vertical of Ozone. Later on, look for stashes on lower mountain runs like Golden Horn Woods and the P-Chutes.

For fast fall-line laps first thing, take the Elk Camp lift to long runs like Sandy Park, Gunner’s View, and Bull Run, which weave in and out of the trees with a consistent pitch. Then head to Hanging Valley or the Cirque, where steep chutes, cliffs, and hidden glades hold pockets of powder into the afternoon. Midday, descend into the Two Creeks area, where you might find a meandering gladed run without a track, or Campground, which harbors steep runs on the resort’s far edge.

Start on the steeper Tiehack side—you’ll feel a relaxation that’s hard to channel while sprinting up Highland Bowl or trying to beat your friends down Bell Mountain. Runs like Sterner and Racer’s Edge can serve up perfect powder-on-top-of-groomed. Also look for the goods between runs like Javelin and Tiehack Trail, and Friedl’s and Savio. When the fresh shots begin to dwindle, try West Buttermilk for Little Teaser, a hidden black-diamond pitch.


Pro View: Local ski star TJ David’s tips for powder prep

“Choose a mid-fat ski at least 105 millimeters wide for float but not so wide that it’d be an overwhelming change from your on-piste skis. Consider a ski with taper in the tip and tail, and a flatter camber underfoot.”

“I start with a breathable next-to-skin layer, then a medium-weight fleece, followed by a waterproof shell.”

“I wait until the snow starts falling to really get excited about a powder day, rather than banking on forecasts.”


The Ski

Black Crows redesigned its high-performance Corvus (107 underfoot) so it’s nimbler in pow and smoother on hard pack. $850, Ute Mountaineer

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