Buttermilk Ski Area Terrain


Buttermilk Ski Area Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

  • Vertical (ft)
    7,870– 9,900 (2,030)
  • Average Snow Fall
    200 inches 
  • Lifts (5)
    3 fast quads
    1 double
  • Ski Season
    early Dec - early April
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs – 44
    Longest run – 3mi
    Beginner - 35%
    Intermediate - 39%
    Advanced 26%

Buttermilk Ski Area Terrain

Buttermilk is a small ski resort with only 44 trails across 470 acres (190 hectares) of terrain. One upside of the limited terrain is that it’s easy to keep track of the whole family!

The Buttermilk ski area is divided into 3 zones. Each has their own high speed lift and base area. Main Buttermilk is the primary base where the ski school and first-timer areas are located. The Summit Express lift services the bulk of the terrain which includes a meandering green trail, blue trails, and the big Buttermilk Park. West Buttermilk is serviced by an express lift of the same name, with green and blue trails, and the smaller terrain park. Tiehack is serviced by the Tiehack Express lift. The blue runs here are a little steeper, and Tiehack also has some easy black runs and glades.

Buttermilk Lifts

The three main chair lifts are all high speed and service the whole resort. There is also a little double chair and a magic carpet at the main base.

Lift Tickets

Buttermilk lift tickets cost the same as at the other Aspen Snowmass ski resorts and unfortunately there is no discounted beginners’ only ticket. There is a beginners’ package but it’s up there amongst the most expensive beginner packages in the country.

Like the other Aspen ski resorts, Buttermilk ski area is accessible on the Ikon Pass.

Buttermilk Snow

Buttermilk doesn’t receive the same amount of snow as its Aspen Snowmass counterparts. The base area is a fraction lower and the top is 1,300 to 2,600 feet lower than the other Aspen ski resorts, and the slope aspects aren’t as northerly, so it’s not surprising that the quality and quantity of snow at Buttermilk is a little inferior.

Buttermilk Ski Area relies heavily on snowmaking, particularly for the superpipe and huge jumps, and 27% of the area can be covered in manmade snow.

Skiing Buttermilk - Beginners

The terrain at Buttermilk is ideal for beginners because there is no frightening looking terrain nearby, and very few scary looking expert riders hooning past. The progressions between complete novice and intermediate abilities are also nicely staged. Buttermilk would score full marks from us for the beginner terrain if there was just more of it.

First timers and little kids have ski lessons at the base in a dedicated area with a magic carpet and small lift. Beginners can then progress onto the fast quad chairs and sail down the West Buttermilk green trails to the mid-loading station, or try the snaking Homestead Road.

The next steps are the blue trails off West Buttermilk or the Summit Express, as these are very wide and mellow.

Intermediate Buttermilk Ski Terrain

Of the Aspen Snowmass ski resorts, Buttermilk caters the best for timid intermediates. Buttermilk also has some steep groomed trails for more confident intermediates, but there are more options at Snowmass and Aspen Mountain. The three trails off West Buttermilk are very gentle, as are the blue runs down the main face. The runs tend to get steeper towards the skiers’ right, in the area serviced by the Tiehack chair. The black runs here are really just rated as “most difficult” relative to the rest of Buttermilk, and at other ski resorts they’d be blue runs. One very short pitch of the Racer’s Edge might be aptly rated as double blue.

Some zones of the Tiehack area may have small moguls which are ideal for intermediates.

Advanced Skiing Buttermilk

The black runs off the Tiehack lift are plenty of fun and are sure to get the eyes watering. These runs are largely devoid of traffic so you can put the after-burners on, and there are minimal pesky signs or patrollers to tell you to slow down.

This zone has small off-piste areas where it’s possible to wander off the groomer and into the well spaced trees. The tree skiing doesn’t last for long before you have to pop back onto the groomed trail to go in search of another powder stash. Unlike Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands, the powder in these off-piste areas lasts much longer than a nano-second and it doesn’t tend to develop massive bumps. Best of all, the freshies and docile terrain are fantastic for the self-esteem!

Expert Ski and Snowboard Terrain

If you’re looking for gnarly steeps, Buttermilk won’t satisfy your craving. You’ll need to head to Aspen Highlands or Snowmass, or better still, Crested Butte, Telluride or Silverton Mountain.

Buttermilk Terrain Parks & Pipes

The main Buttermilk Park runs the full length of the Summit Express chair lift, along a couple of black runs. The phenomenal terrain park has more than 100 mega features, including the X slopestyle and superpipe. The X Park zone of this area has BIG features and is used for the Winter X Games and the Aspen Snowmass Open, but a big downside is that it’s usually closed from just after New Year’s for a month, to allow prep time for the events.

Beginner features can be found in the Ski and Snowboard School Park over on West Buttermilk.