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Aspen Highlands

If Aspen Mountain is a Cadill ac Escalade, then Highlands is a Toyota Tacoma: genuine, badass and, yes, expensive, but not on account of frills like plush leather seats. Highlands is a skier’s hill, with blood-rushing steeps (nearly 50-degree, no-fall zones in hike-to Highland Bowl), yee-haw trees (Boomerang Woods and Steeplechase) and eye-watering groomers (Gunbarrel and Golden Horn) so deliciously pitched, readers wonder why no one’s skiing them. And then there’s the laid-back vibe. Where else can you get a free hot dog, grilled by lifties, as you swing through the empty chair maze on a spring afternoon? That’s not to say Highlands lacks sophistication— it’s just the friendly, worn-in kind. Cloud 9 Bistro, for example, is one of the coziest dining spots this side of the Alps. Readers complain about a lack of, well, everything, at the base. (There’s a reason we don’t call it a “village.”) But hey, if it’s shopping you want, drive that Cadillac over to Aspen. —Kimberly Beekman

What’s New» The midmountain Merry Go Round restaurant has received a much-needed remodeling—in Highlands’ ducttape- chic style.

Must Do » Hike the Bowl. It’s 45 minutes for mortals, and the views are divine.

On-Hill Lunch » Warm your hands around a mug of glühwein and share a platter of sizzling raclette at Cloud 9 Bistro.

New Five-Resort $349 Pass

Come Hither: Alta, Aspen, Jackson and Squaw/Alpine team up.

The new motto for resorts this season just might be All for One, One for All, as four of the biggest names in the sport have banded together to offer a unique, unified ski pass. The new Mountain Collective pass, working with Liftopia, offers eight days of skiing at Alta, Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows for $349. 

2015 Top Ski Towns: Aspen, Colorado

Ski bums of all ages may be working three jobs to pay their way in this pricey resort town, but on a powder morning, you’ll find them in the Aspen gondola line.

Aspen. It’s one of the most riffed-on ski towns out there. From Aspen Extreme to Dumb and Dumber, Us Weekly to The New York Times, the widespread image of Aspen is a glitzy celebrity playground, where the billionaires pushed out the millionaires and where no regular Joe could possibly afford to live.

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