Host of ESPN's Winter X Games, Buttermilk Mountain Is Not Just For Beginners

BY By Christine Benedetti and Lisa Blake | November 20, 2019 | Lifestyle

Buttermilk Mountain is a terrain for every level of skier.

ButtermilkSkiing.jpgKids are all smiles when learning to ski at Buttermilk.

Buttermilk Mountain has several identities. In one form, it’s a beginner mountain where new skiers or snowboarders first strap on equipment and learn to make their way downhill. It’s also a place where dreams are made for young athletes flying high in the ESPN Winter X Games, a staple event that returns every January. And, it’s one of the most popular areas for uphillers; Tiehack and Buttermilk both see hundreds of people ascending their slopes daily.

Don’t silo Buttermilk Mountain, as its terrain is full of surprises. Those who worry it’s too easy to ski will be delighted by the Tiehack arm, where a quick lift accesses 1,683 vert feet of skiing and no lift lines. While the X Games superpipe may be intimidating, there’s a terrain park to entertain all levels. And people wanting to test out uphilling can build confidence on the moderate climbs. Plus, the rewards for earning your turns here are sweet: The Cliffhouse atop Buttermilk serves a killer breakfast on Fridays and Mongolian barbecue daily for lunch. Or ski back down to the base and fill up on Home Team BBQ, a restaurant that’s a destination unto itself.

bikeKatie.jpgKatie Ertl, Senior Vice President of Mountain Operations.

Katie Ertl has called Aspen home for most of her 51 years—her parents moved here from Cleveland in 1972, when she was just 4. Ertl remembers working with Bob Beattie and her twin sister, Megan, to produce ski tips for Chevy Ski World in the early ’90s, racing in the 24 Hours of Aspen and taking the bus home from after-school ski training to Aspen Village. The impassioned skier and former TV and movie personality—she was one of the stunt doubles for Bryce Kellogg in the celebrated ski film Aspen Extreme—is now the senior vice president of mountain operations for SkiCo. She has taught hundreds—maybe thousands—of visitors how to ski over the years and still averages 90 days on skis each winter. Find her hiking Highland Bowl, grabbing a beer at the Red Onion, or dinner at Pine Creek Cookhouse, and, in summer, hiking to Crested Butte over West Maroon.

Powder-day plan? Head to Tiehack for a people-free experience.
Favorite run? Sterners
Fastest run? Savio’s
Favorite eats? Cliffhouse for Mongolian barbecue
Best bet for après? Bumps for a beer or Home Team BBQ
Buttermilk, in three words: Under our noses
Who skis here? Those who like the comfort of home, of knowing that they can experience adventure and choose the level of risk they feel appropriate for the day.
Buttermilk insider tips? Come early and enjoy the mountain without any crowds. Fort Frog is a site to see and play in. It brings the joy of skiing and riding to folks of any level. It is family.

Photography Courtesy Of: Photo by Frank Shine Courtesy of Aspen Skiing Company