Colorado is a very popular tourist destination renowned for its sprawling ski resorts, frequent snow, and high mountains. The state is home to several ski slopes that run for several miles, but it’s also a great place to find some steep runs too. The steepest ski slope in Colorado can only be found by hiking for close to an hour before dropping into the run.
At least, it’s one of the steepest runs aside from Rambo in the Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and it’s one of the least accessible inbounds runs that you’ll find in the state. We’ll show you where this ski slope is located, what resort is nearby, and what you need to go through to get there!
Where Is the Steepest Ski Slope in Colorado?
One of the steepest ski slopes in Colorado is the Highland Bowl at Aspen Highlands. This slope has several trails, but the steepest pitch can be found on the Be One, Triple Threat, and Hot Y’s trails. The Be One features a pitch of 45°, the Triple Threat also reaches a pitch of 45°, and the Hot Y’s has a pitch of 48°. Skiers can drop in many different parts of the bowl.
The steepest part of this ski slope is just a little less severe than the famous Rambo slope at Crested Butte at 53°, but the Highland bowl is unique. After all, it’s not served by a chairlift. People that want to go to this slope need to earn it by hiking for between 30 and 60 minutes. That’s getting ahead of things, though.
The Highland Bowl is located within the Aspen Highlands resort. This resort is located in Pitkin County, and it’s a very popular destination for skiers. This area receives 300 inches of snow per year and has 118 total runs available. Practically none of the runs are designated as beginner runs, so this place is a good place for serious skiers looking to challenge themselves and advance their skills.
Aspen Highland is one of four resorts that operate in the Aspen area. About 1.5 million people visit Aspen per year. While some of them are keen on staying on the easy slopes at Buttermilk, others want more of a challenge. That’s why they seek out the steeper, more intriguing slopes like those found at the Highland Bowl.
Where Is the Highland Bowl Located on a Map?
The Highland Bowl is located 5.4 miles away from the Aspen Highland Ski Resort. It can be reached following a 13-minute drive, a 37-minute bicycle ride, or a 108-minute hike.
How to Get to the Steepest Ski Slope in Colorado
Reaching the Highland Bowl is no small feat. No chair lift will take you to the top. Instead, you need to plan a path to this steep ski slope, and that begins with preparing for the journey. With hazards abounding, it’s important to take stock of your equipment before you begin.
Get Your Gear in Order
Before you need to start hiking to the top of the Highland Bowl, you need to have the right gear. You can’t scale the mountain in your skis, so you’re going to be walking in your ski boots, preferably in walk mode to give you more comfort and flexibility.
Since the hike is an hour at most, the majority of people shouldn’t be too uncomfortable in their ski shoes. Since you’re going up high on a mountain, it’s important to wear enough layers to ward off frostbite. The wind can whip and the sun can also beat down on you. That means skiers need sunglasses, sunscreen, and a neck covering to protect themselves. Also, bring water. It’s a long walk.
Begin the Ascent
The ascent up the mountain should begin by taking the Exhibition Lift and then the Loge Peak Lift. This will drop you off at a ski patrol building, warming hut, and bathroom. It’s not a bad idea to use them.
While you’re at Loge Peak, you should once again take stock of your items and make sure that you’re ready to hike. It’s not a bad idea to check in with the ski patrol and buy any last-minute items you need.
Once you are ready to leave the area, proceed to the sign that shows you the entryway to the Highland Bowl. Nearby, you can get a ride on a snowcat if it is operating and running that day. They tend to run every hour or so according to the resort’s website. The snowcat will only save you about 15 minutes on the total hike time, though.
Aside from that, you need to get ready to hike by making sure you have secured your gear and are comfortable enough to start moving. Lastly, make sure you know where you’re going. Several runs are available on the steepest ski slope in Colorado. You might want to go down the toughest run or one that gives you a great view near the summit. You may even want to change your plans after you see the condition of the snow on your way up, depending on the time of year. Either way, it’s a good idea to hike with a purpose.
Reaching the Summit
Hike at a pace that you find comfortable. The chances are high that other people will be on the trail with you. If they’re hiking fast enough to overtake you, just step out of line for a moment, get your bearings, and keep moving. You’ll quickly pick up the etiquette of the hike.
It’s not a bad idea to stop to catch your breath and take in the sights while hiking, either. Some people get to the summit before skiing down while others go beyond the summit or even go down earlier. It’s your choice and every run is a little different.
Ski down the slope, enjoy the ride, and you’ll find yourself alone at the bottom of the Deep Temerity Lift. This will take you back up the mountain to Loge Peak. While you can always go again from there, most people probably don’t hike to the summit multiple times in a day.
Once that’s all finished, you can bask in your accomplishment and feel satisfied that you went down a very steep slope that you had to hike to. The Highland Bowl is a lot of fun, and it’s a bit of a rite of passage for a Colorado skier to make it to the summit and down the run.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Tabor Chichakly/Shutterstock.com
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