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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.

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.”

Go Eat: Grind, Glenwood Springs

Grass-fed beef and locally sourced ingredients? Vacation dining goes healthy (well, healthier).

When Chris Heinz and Mike Mercatoris opened Grind in 2011, their mission was simple: “We wanted to get a little healthier and be a little more sustainable in a way that was still accessible,” says Heinz, a South Dakota native. At their restaurant (named for in-house meat grinding, not for filing edges or riding rails), Heinz brings a chef’s eye to the kitchen and an appreciation of quality to the table.

Aspen Invests Big in Colo. Alternative Energy Plant

Aspen Invests Big in Colo. Alternative Energy Plant
Aspen Methane Mine
Methane emissions could power four resorts.

Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) is footing 90 per cent of the bill to construct a power plant that will turn methane emissions into electricity from Elk Creek Coal Mine in Somerest, Colo.  Once constructed, the plant will produce 25 million kW of electricity per year, about the same amount needed to power ASC’s four resorts.

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