Kim Reichhelm's Favorite Steep and Deep Runs in Aspen
Named one of the "Most Influential Skiers of All Time" by Skiing magazine, Kim Reichhelm is a legend in the ski industry. After growing up in New England, she moved to Colorado and was a member of the US Ski Team, then a professional ski racer, and then a two-time World Extreme Skiing Champion. Reichhelm, who calls both Baja, Mexico, and Aspen home, began hosting ski clinics and trips around the world through her Ski With Kim business. She has two clinics in Aspen this season: the Women's Ski Adventure (January 14–17, 2019) and Coed Steep Skiing Camp (March 18–22, 2019).
Not only does Reichhelm love to ski, she loves ski towns, too, citing Aspen for its unique hometown vibe and impressive customer service. "I ski all over the world, and nowhere else holds a candle to SkiCo's passion for skiing and how the company treats its employees and its skiers," she says.
Her favorite local powder day is doing bucket laps on Aspen Mountain in the morning, while keeping an eye out for the opening of Highland Bowl. "Storm days at Aspen are the best," she enthuses. "What I love about Ajax is that it skis like a much bigger mountain than it appears. If you aren’t adventurous, you're missing out. Once Ajax is tracked up, I hop the bus to Aspen Highlands for a bowl lap at the end of the day. "
Reichhelm, who seeks the most amount of slope pitch for her time, shared with us her favorite steep runs on Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands. Before hitting them, be sure to get moving on other terrain first, she recommends. "I ski groomers to warm up or if I’m with clients. For the most part though, I’m always looking for the little nooks and crannies that are more technical." There's no reason to rush, she adds; a lot of the steepest lines don’t get skied by many people, so you'll have time to get your legs ready for the adventure.
The G Zones
"You have to earn these turns with a hike to the top of Highland Bowl. With so many options, there are always powder stashes in the Gs. It's also some of the steepest terrain we have."
"They're on the skier's far left of Kristi. Most people don’t go over there, but if you hike up a bit and get on the ridge and then drop in, there are some fun rock pillow drops on the far left. Look for the big boulders. Because of my big-mountain skiing experience, and because I came to Aspen via Crested Butte, I look for lines that have consequences. It definitely needs snow, though!"
"Another one of my very favorite places to ski is the the far rope line of Niagara, right before it gets to Bell Mountain lift. It's really technical, and there are always rocks and obstacles. You have to look ahead and pay attention to navigate your way through the rocks. It’s also really, really steep."
"My favorite run on the mountain. It's really steep off the top and not always skiable because there's a rock band. I poke around early in the season so I know what's there as we get more snow. Once you pass the rocks, after your fourth turn, there’s a huge pile of snow below the steep section. When I have a good visual of how I’m going to ski the line, I know I'll make two turns, get light, and from that point on it’s nectar."
"Kim's Thigh Burner"
"Take Zaugg Dump to Spar Gulch, then before upper Little Nell, cut left and ski Franklin Dump or FIS Slalom Hill. I’ll traverse a long distance just to get 10 turns of steeper terrain."