ASPEN RESORT GUIDE
Aspen Expert Itinerary
Gent's Ridge, Shadow Mountain, Ruthie's, Bell Mountain, Ajax Express
From Gondola Plaza -- Ruthie's -- Bell Mountain East -- Lunch at Bonnie's -- F.I.S. Downhill -- Bell Mountain West -- Gentleman's Ridge -- Gondola -- Return to Gondola Plaza
1. 9-9:45am – Ruthie's in the Morning
Aspen is composed of three ridges that have east and west facing slopes. Generally, ski the east facing slopes in the mornings when they are in the sun. Save the western aspects for the afternoon.
Start from Shadow Mountain or "1A" as the locals know it. It’s a two-seater and there's almost no lift line. Head to the top of Ruthies on the west ridge. Shadow Mountain lets off at the bottom of Ruthies lift. One of our favorites from the top of Ruthie's is the short, steep, and spicy F.I.S Trail. There’s a roller in the middle, best to check your speed or you’ll go flying. Catch the F.I.S lift at the bottom to head back to the top of the west ridge.
2. 9:45-10:15am – Aspen Glade Intro
Once you’re warmed up, exit F.I.S. right and follow International along a ridge through Aspen groves.
Drop into any of the runs on the right. Try Short Snort or Perry's Prowl — the further down the ridge you go, the less tracked out it's likely to be. If you follow the ridge all the way down to Cone 2 or Rayburn's, you’ll find some of the burlier terrain on the mountain: steep glades and cliffs perfect for a powder day.
Whichever run you take, you’ll end up in Spar Gulch. Widen your turns and look out for side hits on the right side of the run. Carry speed at the end of Spar Gulch, so you don’t have to skate through the flats of Kleenex Corner. Kleenex Corner drops onto Upper Little Nell and the bottom of Bell Mountain is visible on the right.
To return to the ridge for another lap, ski past the bottom of Bell Mountain lift and turn left onto Schuss Gully and hop on Shadow Mountain. Exit right and make your way to Ruthie's to return to International.
3. 10:15am - 12pm – East Slopes First - Walsh's, Hyrup's, Kristi
GENT'S RIDGE is an east facing ridge off of the summit offering high elevation bowl skiing with a view of The Continental Divide and Independence Pass. It’s composed of three steep, open bowls that get deep during powder days. Their eastern aspect allows them hold snow longer and their position off of the summit deters skiers because they takes longer to reach. The bowls are divided by groves of trees. Ski the fall lines for a classic, steep skiing experience or follow the ridge for a more playful wave-like run.
Access is a bit tricky because these bowls are hidden by a tight grove of evergreens. From Silver Queen Gondola, curl around onto 1&2 Leaf. Keep your eyes peeled for the gate in those evergreens on the right side of the 1&2 Leaf. Take the gate, and head through the trees. You’ll pop out on top of two steep bowls. Stay high and right for Walsch’s; go left for Hyrup’s; head down the ridge for Kristi. Kristi is our favorite of the three, it's the steepest and the cornice at the top and the ridge along the right side provide opportunities for air. Carry speed at the end of all three bowls because they all end up at Lud’s Lane, a runout that goes back to Northstar, which runs you back to the bottom of Gent’s Ridge. Repeat, until satisfied.
4. 12 - 1pm – Lunch @ Bonnie's
Head to Bonnie's for lunch. To get there, exit Gent’s Ridge right and go under the Ajax Express until you see a cat track, Cutoff. Follow Cutoff to Buckhorn to Midway Road, then a right where you'll see the deck of Bonnie's at the bottom on the left. Everything here is homemade and don't miss the apple strudel.
5. 1-1:30pm – After Lunch Espresso
Get the blood back in your legs with a run on the F.I.S. World Cup Downhill course. Sounds intimidating, but you don’t have to straight line the whole thing! From Bonnie's follow Spar Gulch to F.I.S and right onto Ruthie's Run. About two thirds of the way down, catch Summer Road, a cat track that cuts across Ruthie's Run to the left. Summer Road spits out onto Aztec, steep and in the shade. Burst off Aztec onto Spring Pitch. Bank left onto Summer Road and fly off to the right onto Straw Pile, a wide groomer. Straw Pile merges with W 5th Ave. After a roundhouse left, you’ll be back at the bottom of the mountain. There won’t be anyone to cheer you on, so get on Shadow Mountain and catch your breath.
From Shadow Mountain it's time to make your way back to BELL MOUNTAIN.
6. 1:30-3:15pm – West Slopes in the Afternoon
As the sun dips west and the shadows lengthen, head to the west slopes of BELL MOUNTAIN.
Exit Bell Mountain and curl around the lift to the right onto the ridge. Drop into the Face of Bell, perfectly gladed and moguled. When the moguls end, you’re back in Spar Gulch and you can make your way to the bottom of Bell Mountain lift.
Head up Bell Mountain again and exit right for Ridge of Bell. Feel free to take a few laps here making your way further and further down the ridge.
When you’re finished with BELL MOUNTAIN, it’s time to check out the rest of GENT'S RIDGE. Exit Bell to the left onto Lazy Boy and go right at the base of the Gent’s Ridge lift into the trees and onto Gentleman’s Ridge. Gentleman’s Ridge accesses steep glades. The further you go down the ridge the tighter the trees. All runs end in Copper Bowl or Spar Gulch and return to Bell Mountain.
7. 3:15 – Last Dance
When you’ve had your fill, ski down to the Silver Queen Gondola. Take the Gondola and consider starting your après early with a drink on the Sundeck. Then take a final top to bottom run, 3,267 vertical feet to the base and a night in the town of Aspen.
Congratulations you've experienced some of Aspen's toughest terrain. Check out our après guide for more great après/dining options.