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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. 

Epic and Mountain Collective Passes Add to their Rosters

Eldora joins Vail’s Epic pass while Mountain Collective adds Mammoth, Snowbird, and Whistler Blackcomb.

Big boy Vail Resorts adds Boulder, Colorado’s local hill, Eldora Mountain Resort, to its 2013-14 season Epic Pass buffet.  A mere 20 or so miles from Boulder and about an hour drive from Denver, Eldora is a classic feeder mountain: it’s packed with young kids learning how to ski and is a quick drive from multiple metro areas, allowing skiers to avoid the often jammed Colorado I-70 ski corridor. As bumper stickers in Eldora’s parking lot say, “Friends don’t let friends drive I-70.”

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