Buttermilk

When Buttermilk gets ready for its annual close-up I feel like a proud momma. The camera angles swoop and broadcast our baby mountain’s pretty profile while crowds get whipped to a frenzy and rock stars of all creeds perform come evening time.

I love the ’Milk. And I call her the ’Milk. And she’s definitely a she.

She’s responsible for the size-small pants I wear since I hike her almost daily, enjoying the gentle, free, fairground-style download ride afterwards. There’s the jaw-dropping chairlift view over Tiehack toward Pyramid Peak, and she entices with exotic food like Vietnamese rolls or the steaming Mongolian bowl at the Cliff House. There’s good ol’ southern BBQ at Home Team, and you can even build your own Bloody Mary from the bar at Bumps and take in the larger-than-life Superpipe outside.

If Aspen mountain is the brash-talking, hard-driving sports car of a mountain, categorized by its polished shiny red Gondy buckets and Aspen Mountain Club swagger, then Buttermilk is its fluttery-eyelash snow-bunny counterpart. Sexy and coy, but smart and with boundaries! Friendly, giving and forgiving with no ego and just a touch of innocence that is so becoming when you are just that stunningly pretty. Even Buttermilk’s avi patrol dog Zara is serene, gorgeous, svelte and very blonde.

So what’s the gear review really about? Well, during X Games, while Panda Peak is bulldozed into a snowmobile track and beginner operations switch to the top of the mountain, I’ll bet you didn’t know that SkiCo has slashed the price of a private lesson in half, for almost three full weeks, offering a full 9 a.m.-3 p.m. day of instruction with a pro for only $435. They call it “Buttermilk Deluxe,” and this promotion has to be the best priced piece of “gear” to take up the hill with you.

Open to all ages and abilities, you can ski, snowboard or telemark with up to five people. Sharing between even just two friends makes it uncomplicated and affordable. It’s a reasonable alternative to rigid locals clinic dates, which sometimes get skipped. Go when it’s good for you, for a day’s undivided attention, to work on something specific for you. Call the day before to ensure the availability of the right pro. Direct visiting friends toward this package and they’ll be blown away skiing at the venue with the aerial-thrills view of the games added to such great instructor value.

The ’Milk has pockets of every terrain; great glades and groomers and short bumps to school on. Since there’s many great kiddo instructors here, you could call it productive babysitting and send the groms, freeing you up for the day, too. The promotion this year runs thru Feb. 1.

I’d also like to take this moment to remind premiere pass holders to go search “premiere pass benefits” and refresh yourselves on all the discounts available, too many to mention here. Stuff like 50 percent off Mountain Collective tickets and 20 percent off ski tuning. The one I use most frequently is 25 percent off on-mountain dining before noon or after 2 p.m. If you download the AspenSnowmass app and tap “loyalty rewards,’ there’s a $10 food and beverage credit waiting! It’s not quite enough for a Mongolian bowl lunch after 2 p.m., but it’s a chunk of change toward it.