Buttermilk Lifts & 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 (8)
    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 190 hectares (470 acres) 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. Gone is the old Tiehack double chair! The new Tiehack lift has dropped the ride time from 18 minutes down to under 7 minutes. Yee har!

The other lifts sit at the main base area and include a little double chair and 4 ski school lifts.

Lift Tickets

The lift passes are valid at any of the four Aspen Snowmass ski resorts, and the RFID lift tickets attract a refundable deposit. So the Buttermilk lift tickets cost the same as the other resorts. They don’t provide a discount or a beginners’ only ticket. They do however offer a first-timer package that incorporates a lesson and equipment rental, but these are amongst the most expensive beginner packages in the country.

Snow

Buttermilk doesn’t receive the same amount of snow as its Aspen Snowmass counterparts. The base area is about 100 metres lower and the top is 400 to 800 metres lower than the other Aspen ski resorts, so it’s not surprising that the quality and quantity of snow is a little inferior.

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

For the Beginner

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 magic carpets and small lifts. 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 they will have more options at Snowmass or 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 nick 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 or Telluride.

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 an X games slopestyle course. Beginner features can be found in the Ski and Snowboard School Park over on West Buttermilk, or there’s a baby Panda pipe at the base area.