Aspen Highlands Bowl: A hike you won’t forget

Posted By: The Ski Channel on May 10, 2011 5:02 pm


Has the approaching summer air making you homesick for snow?  At times like these, when most mountains are transitioning into their summer activities schedules, I just want to hold onto that winter feeling.  That good ole winter feeling of intense 40 mile per hour winds at an elevation of 12,392 feet. Where a hike so intense and terrain so masterful, it makes you feel warm inside.

One of the most well known hikes is that up to the Highlands Bowl at Aspen, CO. The Highlands Bowl is considered the crown jewel of the Aspen, with expert only terrain only accessible on foot or with the help of a snowcat which can assist part of the way. The Bowl is a hike up from Aspen Highlands and the recommended amount of time to get to the top is about 1 hour. Are you feeling warm yet?

One skier who has been free heal skiing Highlands Bowl for 25 years is legendary musician John Oates of the famed group, Hall & Oates. Besides being 50% of the most successful music duo in history, Oates is one of the planets best telemark skiers.  He is also someone who is extremely familiar with Highlands Bowl.  ”Highlands Bowl is a link to the early days of Aspen’s legendary skiing tradition,” said Oates. “Like the pioneers of the early days of our sport, you still have to ‘earn your turns’ by climbing and the rewards are abundant.” I am a big fan of Hall & Oates but John Oates really just went up about 50 points in my book.

Some more recommendations on hiking the Highland Bowl is to do it in the morning, and best to not do it on your first day at Aspen.  It’s better to get adjusted to the altitude, especially if you are not used to it.  If you are and are feeling sassy enough, then hey don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Once you make it to the top (about 1 hour or for those in really good shape maybe 1/2 hour), take some pictures, enjoy the the view, and then depending on your ability, it should take you either a few minutes or hours to get down the mountain. I know, that sounds very broad however it’s all

contingent on if you ski “American style” (rush down) or “European style” (take your time).  Highlands Bowl is some amazing true feeling of backcountry skiing.

Take a very special tour of the Highlands Bowl with the video below. The video description reads, “Worth every step of the hike.”