This winter season, the Aspen Skiing Company is opening up 153 aces of terrain on Aspen Mountain. Learn everything you need to know about this exciting expansion below!
Debuting in the 2023–2024 winter season, the new terrain Hero's pod and high-speed quad will add 153 acres of cold-snow goodness to the upper, eastern aspects of Aspen Mountain. This will be the mountain’s first significant addition since the opening of the Silver Queen Gondola in December of 1985.
Hero’s will increase Aspen Mountain’s lift-served terrain by more than 20 percent. The mix includes nineteen chutes (double black), three gladed areas (blue), and four cut trails (black) all making up the area’s two zones, Hero’s Chutes #1 and Hero’s Chutes #2.
The project also extends some favorite existing runs, including Walsh’s and Kristi, lengthening the vertical drop to 1,220 feet and eliminating the hike out at the bottom. And while expert skiers have the most to celebrate, the project also adds nice helping of intermediate glades and groomed runs.
You can expect views that travel up Independence Pass and down to the valley floor, where the Roaring Fork River carves a meandering line through the snow-blanketed North Star Nature Preserve.
The installation will pay homage to the area’s people, patrol, history, mining roots, and exceptional terrain—as well as to honor all of those who played an instrumental role in the exploration and opening of Aspen Mountain’s new terrain. The expansion honors many of the heroes of the resort who had significant ties to this terrain. There are runs dedicated to the first female ski instructor Elli Iselin, to 10th Mountain soldier Percy Rideout, and to pivotal ski patrol members like Eric Kinsman and Cory Brettmann. Tim Howe, who originally coined the name Pandora’s Box, will be recognized with a glade named after him as well. In addition, Jim Crown’s family has chosen other trail names that honor his life, loves, and amusements.
Leaving forests alone isn’t always the best thing for them. According to the U.S. Forest Service’s 2012 Forest Health Environmental Assessment (EA) for the area that includes Hero's, “Without intervention, stand resilience and overall forest health is likely to continue deteriorating.” The 2017 Forest Service EA produced for the Aspen Mountain Master Plan goes even further, stating that the Hero’s glading and timbering options will reduce risk of forest fires; increase penetration of sunlight to benefit new growth on the forest floor; result in a healthy forest with a diversity of trees; and not endanger any wildlife—no critical habitat is affected. In terms of energy use, the construction of the lift and removal of trees will bring vehicle trips. That’s unavoidable. But once the lift is running, it will be powered by Holy Cross Energy. Aspen Snowmass has worked hard to help Holy Cross move toward renewable energy sources for its power. And it’s working: By 2030, Holy Cross—and all of our Aspen Mountain lifts—will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy.
Read and learn more about the new terrain here.