The skiing and snowboarding in the expansive Highland Bowl is well worth the schlep as anyone who has made the trudge from the top of Loge Peak toward the top of Highland Peak can tell.
Double black diamond big-mountain riding doesn't come any better - unless you have handy access to a helicopter.
People mostly do it for fun, but Saturday, Feb. 28, the Aspen Highlands ski patrol ups the ante with its annual Inferno race.
The race starts at 10 a.m. at the ski patrol monument near the top of the Deep Temerity lift. Participants race uphill (from an elevation of around 11,600 feet above sea level) to the top of Highland Peak (elevation 12,392 feet). From there racers plummet down the middle of the Bowl to the finish at the end of Bear Hollow Road at the base of the Deep Temerity lift. All told, the Inferno consists of 850 of climbing and 2,512 feet of downhill.
There will be five competition categories - male and female competitive, male and female recreational, and juniors (ages 12-17) - and a variety of cash prizes will be available for the winners.
The $30 entry fee for the Inferno 9 event gets you a T-shirt, access to the post-race awards party, the Highlands patrol headquarters, and an opportunity to win a raffle prize.
Register at the Aspen Highlands guest services desk, but be quick about it: The Inferno race is limited to 125 competitors.