Skiing expert Tom Hazard recently took time out of his busy schedule to answer a few of our burning questions. As he’s worked in the ski industry for many years and spent most of his life in Colorado, we knew exactly what we wanted to find out…
Tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.
I’m the Adult Programs Manager for the Ski and Snowboard School of Aspen in Snowmass. This role means that I’m lucky enough to spend my winter months on the slopes with amazing ski professionals who have a strong passion for sharing their expertise with guests.
How did you first get into skiing?
When I was five, we were transferred to Germany whilst my dad worked in the Army. We took a family trip to Garmisch-Partenkirchen and although I was deemed too young to ski, it left a big impression. We returned to Colorado when Dad retired and I have been on the snow every winter since 1972.
And at what point did you realise you wanted to make a career out of skiing?
I took a year off from college in 1979 to ski full time. I learned quickly that a career in ski racing wasn’t to be. Instructing and coaching was an easy transition as I learned that sharing my passion for the sport was much more rewarding than just skiing.
Where have you skied around the world?
Mostly in Colorado, Utah and Mt Hood.
Why is Aspen such a special ski destination? What sets it apart from others?
Aspen is steeped in traditions and colourful influences that come from its mining heritage, the 10th mountain division soldiers, and the earlier skiers and instructors from Europe. Combine all this together and you have an amazing eclectic mix of culture and athletics.
Do you have a favourite ski run in Aspen?
The G Zones in Highlands Bowl are perfect on a powder day. Whispering Jesse on the Big Burn Snowmass is also great on a bluebird groomer day.
Where would you go for the perfect après ski scene?
Ajax Tavern at the base of the Aspen Gondola. The Truffle fries are a culinary experience that must be on everyone’s bucket list.
Do you have a favourite local’s hangout you can let us in on?
I have to say, The Lounge at the Limelight Hotel is amazing for locals and guests alike. The live music, warm fireplace, pizza and beer are sure to warm your soul after a day on the slopes.
Aspen has a great winter events calendar. What’s your favourite of the season?
Nature Valley Aspen Winternational. It’s amazing to see the grace and speed of these gals; they rip down the front side of Aspen Mountain pulling G forces that usually require wheels or wings to produce.