A Travellerspoint blog

January 2009

Monument Valley - Home to many John Wayne westerns

Monument Valley provides perhaps the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. The isolated red mesas and buttes surrounded by empty, sandy desert have been filmed and photographed countless times over the years for movies, adverts and holiday brochures. Because of this, the area may seem quite familiar, even on a first visit, but it is soon evident that the natural colors really are as bright and deep as those in all the pictures. The valley is not a valley in the conventional sense, but rather a wide flat, sometimes desolate landscape, interrupted by the crumbling formations rising hundreds of feet into the air, the last remnants of the sandstone layers that once covered the entire region.

One of My favorite stops was always Monument Valley and Goulding's trading post. A stay at the Motel is as relaxing as it gets and I am always ready for a "Navajo Taco "
More http://heading-west.com

Posted by jringo 22:11 Comments (0)

Ski Aspen Colorado, Snowmass - great winter fun

colorado skiing


When people refer to Aspen, they are talking about four distinct, unattached mountains. Aspen Mountain, also known as Ajax, rises above and towers over the village of Aspen. Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, the former formidable and the latter much less so, are within three miles of downtown and can be reached by a free shuttle that connects the peaks. There is a central booking service for transportation, lodging, rentals, lessons and lift tickets for the four mountains (www.stayaspensnowmass.com or 888-649-5982) and a uniform price structure. The average season dates for these mountains runs from late November to mid-April.

Aspen is known for its steep face looking down on the internationally famous little village, and it is one of the few mountains with no beginner’s terrain anywhere in the trail system. It has terrific, almost legendary bump runs like Seibert’s and Hanging Tree, and some long, backcountry style run-outs. It’s easy to go to the top and spend the entire day skiing or riding to the various midmountain lifts without ever thinking of heading back to the base. Even a simple top-to-bottom cruiser will test the leg muscles. But the price is hard to ignore, especially when you get the feeling that few of the other people on the mountain are put off by it. That being said, it’s a lot of mountain, even measured by the dollar.

Tucked away from the relative hustle and bustle of Aspen village, Aspen Highlands is appealing for its vast and varied terrain but also because it is a bit less crowded. A chief draw is the immense Highland Bowl, which is an expert proving ground/rite of passage. It is home to some of the best in-bounds backcountry skiing in the country. One problem: To reach it, you have to make a 45-minute, 700-foot climb to the top through heavy snow.

The gentle slopes of Buttermilk are an ideal place for those learning to ski or ride, but it is not a bunny hill in the classic sense. It’s still a big mountain, and with more than 2,000 feet of vertical drop it gives novices some taste of the great views that can be had from the top of an Aspen peak. It is also rife with terrain park features, which is fitting since it is the home of the annual X Games. Residents also call the place Housewife Hill because many people, apparently many of them women, like to hike up Buttermilk for the exercise.

While Buttermilk Ski Area is best known for wide-open, gently rolling trails that cater to beginners and families, Buttermilk is also famous as the home of ESPN's Winter X Games. On the slopes here you may see Winter X Games champs, Olympians and other brave souls working their way through the giant features of Buttermilk's legendary terrain park: Snow Park Technologies Branded Park including the X Games Superpipe (550 feet long) and the X Games Slopestyle course. New for 2008-2009: a 22-foot Olympic-class Superpipe. There's 5 terrain parks (Teaser, Ski & Snowboard School, Uncle Chuck's, X Park and Jacob's Ladder) plus the Panda Pipe (for beginners). In spite of all the X Games stuff, the unsurpassed grooming and abundance of beginner terrain make Buttermilk the perfect learning mountain for new skiers and snowboarders.

There's more than 14,000 beds for rent within a 10-mile radius of Buttermilk Ski Area. There are 2 restaurants at the mountain: Cliffhouse and Bumps. Four-Mountain Sports at the base of the slopes offers equipment retail and rentals.

Along with Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass, Buttermilk is part of the Aspen/Snowmass Ski Complex owned and operated by the Aspen Skiing Company.

Quick Facts about Buttermilk Ski Area:
Season: Mid December - Early April (Weather permitting)
Hours of operation: 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, MST

Lifts: 9:

  • 2 high speed quads
  • 3 double chairs
  • 2 handle tows
  • 2 ski/snowboard school lifts

Average snowfall: 200 inches
Snowmaking: 108 acres

Base Elevation: 7,870 ft
Summit elevation: 9,900 ft
Vertical Rise: 2,030 ft
Total Ski/Board Terrain: 470 acres

Number of Trails: 44
Trails Classification:
Beginner: 35%
Intermediate: 39%
Advanced: 26%
Expert: 0%
Longest Run: 3 miles


Aspen Highlands is the locals’ favorite, whether for its steep terrain, groomed cruisers or breathtaking views of the Maroon Bells. So, how does a 12,500-foot mountain top itself? If it’s Aspen Highlands, it unveils Deep Temerity — 230-plus acres of new advanced and expert terrain that recently opened along with the Deep Temerity triple chair, which rises 1,700 vertical feet in 7.3 minutes.

In 2008-2009 Aspen Highlands will add up to 18 additional acres of skiing and riding in the Deep Temerity area of the mountain between Hyde Park and Mushroom Chutes called Canopy Cruiser. Thanks to these additions, Aspen Highlands boasts Colorado’s most stunning and challenging big-mountain terrain.

FACT: 1,028 acres with a 3,635-foot vertical drop (plus an additional 800 vertical feet of hike-to-terrain in the Bowl), 125 trails with the longest run of 3.5 miles, all served by five lifts.

The weather has the ability to change within the hour, leaving Your flight cancelled or delayed. Your option ? Wait it out and miss some great skiing / flight home or use our bus shuttle from DIA to Aspen / Snowmass and back.

As the official ground transportation partner of Aspen/Snowmass, Gray Line offers year-round one way and round trip non-stop luxury airport shuttle transportation between Denver International Airport (DIA) and the Aspen Pitkin County Airport (ASE) or your resort in Aspen..

Visit the GRAYLINE counter at either Denver international or Aspen for Your ride. Tell them You read it here

Posted by jringo 22:07 Comments (0)

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