Aspen Snowmass: The Quartet Of Ski Resorts At The Heart Of Rocky Mountain Colorado

From serene to extreme, Aspen mountain has it all. While in the summers, Aspen Snowmass showcases vast wildflowers enveloped in the endless green and luscious slopes of the mountains, the winter boasts a view greater than tree mountains combined.

The burly steeps are an open invitation to skiers from far and wide. The never-ending bumps and jumps are what make it the epitome of ski resorts.

Overview Of Aspen Snowmass

Located at the heart of Colorado, Aspen Snowmass is known for its beautiful winter powder cover and wide terrain, which is great for skiers of all skill sets, from leisurely slopes to all-encompassing and challenging cliffs, Snowmass has it all.

Aspen Snowmass has a multitude of lifts, and it includes over 90 trails that span 150 miles meaning there is something that’s perfect for everyone. There are three terrain parks and pipes perfect for snowboarders and freestylers (or just newbies).

There are tens of easily accessible dining and ski-in, ski-out lodging options meaning you don’t have to waste any time on your way to or from the actual mountain making the whole experience much easier, safer, and convenient.

Snowmass also offers a ton of activities like ski school programs, concerts, snowcat dinner rides, family-friendly dining, races and so much more! Snowmass is hands down a destination that offers an unparalleled experience and guarantees a good time.

Also in Colorado lies, the legendary Vail Ski Resort, for which we have written a detailed guideline as well.

Picture of a skier, doing skiing in Aspen Snowmass under the lifts
Best Time For SnowTerrain OverviewTotal Lifts 40ElevationImportant Dates
Nov 24’’336 RunsGondolas & Trams 312510’ Summit2023/11/23 Project opening
Dec 66’’5.3miles Longest runHigh Speed Sixes 14406’ Vertical Drop2023/04/21 Project closing
Jan 56’’5517 ac skiable terrainHigh Speed Quads 158104’ Base148 Projected days open
Feb 59’’658 ac snowmakingQuad Chairs 4 150 days open last year
Mar 69’’ Triple Chairs 3 76 years open
April 33’’ Double Chairs 5 300’’ Average Snowfall
May 0.3’’ Surface Lifts 9  

Aspen Snowmass Location

Aspen Snowmass is situated in Snowmass Village close to Aspen Colorado (hence the name). It is one of the most popular ski destinations in the US and is managed by the Aspen ski company, which makes up a major part of the Aspen Snowmass complex.

It officially began operations in December 1967. While there are four mountains in total in the region, Snowmass stands as the tallest and covers a whopping 3,362 acres!

The town of aspen is shown in the picture at night time. The lights and snow at the time of dawn create magic.

There are four mountains in total that come under Aspen Snowmass ski resorts: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass.

Aspen Mountain is relatively tricky to conquer, and 58% of its trails are categorized for intermediate to expert-level skiers, so it’s not the most beginner-friendly mountain.

On the flip side, Buttermilk, like the adorable name, is highly beginner friendly. It ranks lower in overall difficulty, but 36% of trails are said to be above intermediate ski level.

Aspen Highlands Ski Resorts is one of the hardest ski areas in the state! It ranks in the 10% of the toughest ski resorts in North America, and 53% of its trails are for expert-level skiers!

Aspen Snowmass is less difficult in comparison to Aspen Highlands but 47% of its trails are still rated for intermediate or expert skiers!

Two of the great ski escapes in the east of the USA are Killington and Okemo for which we have written a detailed comparison article.

Or for an added ski experience do plan to go to Copper Mountain or Keystone in Colorado.

Aspen Snowmass Map

Aspen Snowmass Lifts

There are 20 well-planned lifts for ease of skiers. These Lifts would take you to all the vintage points for an ultimate skiing experience.

  • Total lifts : 20
  • Eight Passenger Gondola : 1
  • High Speed Six Passenger Lift : 2
  • Six passenger Pulse Gondola : 1
  • High Speed Quads : 7
  • Quads : 2
  • Ski/ Snowboard School Lifts : 4 (including Surface Lifts)
  • Double chair Lifts : 1
  • Platter Pulls : 2
Aspen snowmass lift is shown which people take for going up the mountain for skiing downwards
LiftsVertical ClimbRide Time
Sam’s Knob
Village Express2173 ft9.6 min
Sky Cab160 ft1.1 min
Scooper231 ft2.5 min
Coney Glade1224 ft5 min
Sam’s Knob1200 ft4 min
Campground
Campground1427 ft8.5 min
Big Burn
Big Burn1993 ft8 min
Sheer Bliss2212 ft9.2 min
Cirque806 ft5 min
High Alpine
Alpine Springs1529 ft8 min
High Alpine1338 ft9.6 min
Elk Camp
Assay hill210 ft6 min
Magic carpet55 ft3.7 min
Elk Camp (Quad)1554 ft6.9 min
Elk Camp Gondola1368 ft8.7 min
Meadows125 ft4.3 min
Two Creeks
Two Creeks1711 ft8.9 min
Click here for the latest Lifts timings and status

How To Get To Aspen Snowmass

-Flights To Aspen Snowmass

Aspen Pitkin county airport (ASE) is at a convenient location of just 10 minutes far from downtown Aspen which makes it one of the most easily accessible airports in the whole ski county.

Direct Flights To Aspen Pitkin County Airport

The airport provides nonstop flights to Aspen from the 10 major airlines of the USA including but not limited to United, Delta, and American Airlines. This makes traveling to Aspen super easy.

The airport sees about 280 flights weekly during the winter season owing to the impressive size of the mountain.

The trip is hassle free thanks to the premium location. After a quick drive, you’ll see that you’ve reached your lodging and are ready to embark on an incredible adventure.

Private Trip to Aspen Snowmass

When flying private, Atlantic aviation is the one for the job. They offer a valet service, a small conference hall, and a café above many other amenities. Do take the Double shuttle from the apron till the rental car service.

-Driving To Aspen

Taking the scenic route can be a wonder in itself.

The drive from Denver to Aspen is absolutely breathtaking and is only 200 miles away. With normal climatic conditions, the drive takes about 3-4 hours.

In order to get to Aspen, you would have to travel west on Interstate 70 for about 150 miles and then turn onto Colorado Highway 82, heading east for the rest of the journey.

The drive is pretty straight forward, but it is always safe to check for the weather before heading out on a long trip.

Coming Into Aspen Town

Highway 82 serves as the sole entry and exit route of Aspen, which is why there’s heavy traffic and congestion during peak times and ski season! Regardless of whether you choose to use a ride-share service, a bus, or drive by yourself, you’ll find yourself stuck in traffic at some point.

If you’re planning on driving yourself then it is highly advisable that you rent a vehicle or drive one that is equipped with all 4-wheel drive as Interstate 70 necessitates this or the use of snow chain in the winter months. It’s important to remember that this shall not only keep you safe but also save you from hefty penalties and fines.

Where To Stay Once You’ve Reached

Booking.com

While there are several lodging options to choose from that offer absolutely wonderful amenities, some of them are as follows for the sake of comparison.

AccommodationAmenities OfferedStarting Price (one adult, one night)Pet FriendlyOther Features
The Little Nell– Spa and wellness center – Outdoor pool – Fine dining restaurantUS$1,065  YesSki-in/ski-out access- Complimentary shuttle service – On-site fitness center
Limelight Hotel Aspen– Rooftop terrace and hot tub – Complimentary breakfast – Fitness centerUS$389YesComplimentary shuttle service -Family-friendly amenities -Live music and entertainment
Viceroy Snowmass– Ski valet service -Outdoor heated pool and hot tubs -Spa and wellness centerUS$325YesFull-service concierge – On-site dining options – Kids’ club and activities
The Westin Snowmass Resort– Fitness center – Outdoor pool and hot tubs – On-site restaurantUS$319YesSki-in/ski-out access Pet-friendly amenities -Complimentary Wi-Fi -Business center

*Prices as of May 2023*

Skiable Terrain By Difficulty

BeginnerIntermediateExpert
53% Terrains (1782 acres)21% Terrains (706 acres)26% Terrains (854 acres)
Easiest trailsGradual 25% gradiant or lessGood for beginnersPopular for crowded runsSlopes between 25-40%Good for beginner to intermediateHardest slopesSteep gradients over 40%Not beginner friendly

The Best Trails At Aspen Snowmass

Big Burn: It is famous for its long and wide open slopes that are perfect for intermediate skiers.

Long Shot: This offers a mix of groomed runs and mogul fields that cater to mostly advanced or expert skiers.

Bell Mountain: This is a trail with several steep sections, moguls and glades that offer an exciting experience.

Highland Bowl: The trail offers steep chutes and expansive powder fields.

West Buttermilk: The trail is super beginner friendly. It offers gentle slopes and terrain parks.

3 Day Itinerary – Aspen Snowmass

DayMorningAfternoonEvening
Day 1Breakfast. Skiing and snowboarding on Snowmass      Explore Snowmass Village then proceed to lunchEnjoy dinner at a local restaurant or resort dining area
Day 2Breakfast. Skiing and snowboarding on SnowmassSnowshoeing or cross-country skiing           Explore the local area followed by dinner
Day 3Breakfast. Skiing and snowboarding on SnowmassCheck out Snowmass ice age discovery centreRelax and unwind or enjoy a cozy dinner

7 Day Itinerary to Aspen Snowmass

DayMorningAfternoonEvening
Day 1Breakfast. Skiing and snowboarding on Snowmass      Explore Snowmass Village and have lunch  Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant
Day 2Breakfast. Skiing and snowboarding on Snowmass      Snowshoeing or ice skatingExperience après-ski at a mountain lodge or bar
Day 3Visit Snowmass Mall after breakfastDog sledding or snowmobile tour            
Day 4Breakfast. Skiing and snowboarding on Snowmass      Visit the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery CenterRelax and enjoy a warm cup of cocoa after dinner
Day 5Breakfast. Skiing and snowboarding on Snowmass      Ice skating at the Snowmass Ice Rink           Attend a live performance at the Snowmass Base Village
Day 6Breakfast. Skiing and snowboarding on Snowmass. Grab drinks at Base Camp for an apres-ski atmosphere   Take a scenic snowcat ride  Enjoy dinner at a slope-side restaurant
Day 7Breakfast. Skiing and snowboarding on Snowmass      Explore Snowmass Village and shop for souvenirsFarewell dinner at a fine dining restaurant

Terrain Parks At Aspen Snowmass

Lowdown Park

  • Is located along the village express life, which is on the lower blue grouse trail
  • Made for beginners or low intermediate riders
  • Has a beginner halfpipe
  • Perfect for learning the basics of skiing

Makaha Park

  • Situated in the same vicinity as the lowdown park
  • Made for low intermediate to intermediate riders
  • Has about 25 features like triple like of jumps and about 15 jibs
  • Great for progressive learning and trying new tricks

Snowmass Park

  • It is located under the Cooney Glade lift
  • Made for advanced and expert riders looking for a challenge
  • Offers 22-foot Snowmass superpipe cut with Zaugg machine nightly
  • About 50 features like flat boxes, rails, combos, bonks, wallrides, staircases and new jibs every season

Snowmass Halfpipes

  • Opens in early January
  • Exhilarating riding pipe
  • Offers major learning opportunity
  • Fun for mid to advanced skiers

Perks Of Getting Ikon Pass

Although Ikon Pass can be used for purchasing discounted tickets for friends and family. However, someone else can not use your Ikon Pass.

  • Offers access to multiple resorts globally
  • Includes unlimited skiing and adventure
  • Eligibility for discounted lift tickets for yourself, friends and family
  • Explore wide variety of terrains on a budget
  • Additional perks like dining discounts, rentals etc.

Skiing Gear You Need To Conquer Snowmass

When you think of conquering Snowmass, having the right skiing gear is absolutely imperative. The ski gear you choose can have a huge impact on how comfortable you are throughout your journey.

What you’ll need

  1. A well fitted helmet. This is a must to keep your head safe and protected from any potential impact.
  2. High-quality ski goggles are also a must-have on a trip to Snowmass. They shield your eyes from the wind and snow.
  3. In order to stay warm and cozy, invest in insulated and waterproof garments.
  4. Thermal socks and properly fitted ski boots offer both comfort and control.
  5. To finish off the essentials, get yourself a pair of sturdy well-maintained skis or snowboard with sharp edges and proper binding.

The right gear will give you ease and confidence when at Snowmass. This way, you not only stay safe, but have a great time and make unforgettable memories while you’re at it!

Lessons To Choose From

At Aspen Snowmass, the ski instructors and professionals aren’t just there for lessons. They’re more like guides that help you refine your abilities while also tapping into the endless potential you have to offer.  You’ll be helped to hone your skill and offer a secure space for you to learn.

Private Lessons And Guided Experience:

You can enjoy private lessons and guided skiing with a private ski coach that shall give you personalized lessons that are perfect for your needs and expectations.

Adult Group Lessons:

Whether you’ve just graduated or just completed 10 years at your job, they have an adult group lesson that’s just right for you. Skill development includes skills like all mountain skiing, carving groomers and bump technique, etc.

Child And Teen Lessons:

Depending on the level of the child or teen, all four mountains are available for child and teen group lessons. From terrain park tricks to mastering glades and steeps, the lessons will give your child not only learn a new skill but excel at it!

Dining at Aspen Snomass

Variety is the spice of life, and boy, does Alpen Snowmass pack a punch! Whether you’re into some spicy stir try, warm Italian pasta or some bougie wine, Alpen Snowmass has a restaurant fit for you! Some of the best restaurants to dine at, along with what they’re well known for, are as follows:

Alpen Room

Specialty: Chicken schnitzel

Sam’s

Specialty: Rigatoni Bolognese

High Alpine

Specialty: soups and salads

Elk Camp Restaurant

Specialty: Rotisserie chicken

Shopping Options In The Vicinity

Downtown Aspen: Offers a variety of high-end boutiques, art galleries and specialty shops.

Snowmass Village: Has a collection of boutiques, ski gear, accessories, souvenirs, etc.

Aspen Highlands Village: Fun clothing, ski gear and equipment rentals are only some of the amazing things you’ll find here.

The Best Time To Go Skiing

While the ski season starts from Thanksgiving all the way to the start of April, the months of December to the end of March offer consistent snow and provide the best conditions to hit the slopes of Snowmass.

Peak Season:

Peak season starts late December to early April. The best conditions are guaranteed, and you get to make the most out of the bustling environment of the ski resorts. Peak time is perfect for anyone wanting a full experience, the resort is filled to the brim with tourists and all the trails are open for use.

Early Season:

If you’re the type of person to actively avoid crowds, then maybe consider going a bit early. Visiting Snowmass in early December ensures you don’t keep bumping into others every now and again but bear in mind not all amenities would be open depending on the weather at the time

Late Season:

Late March to early April is considered a late season. This is when Snowmass sees longer days and milder weather. The snow might not be at its best, but this is the best time to get deals and special offers.

Additional Tips For Planning A Trip To Aspen Snowmass

Do Your Research And Book Early

Whether you want to make a trip during peak hours or off season it is always advisable to do thorough research regarding your trip and book accommodations accordingly. This includes but is not limited to lift tickets and equipment rentals. This will help guarantee that you’re first in line for any potential early bird discounts.

Check Weather And Snow Conditions

Make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecasts for the upcoming days and snow conditions leading up to the time of your trip, especially if you plan on making a road trip. This is the way you will be able to anticipate and foresee what to expect on your trip with regard to the slopes and plan in alignment with that.

Consider Weekdays And Nonpeak Time

Opting for a weekday or non-peak time not only helps avoid large crowds but is also one of the most cost-effective options. During activities, the lines would be shorter, and the potential to get better deals is much higher.

Pack Right

Ensure that you dress in layers to stay warm and comfortable when skiing. If you pack thermal base layers and waterproof jackets and pants, you’re sure to be the most comfortable throughout your trip.

Take Lessons

There’s no shame in needing help, learning a new skill or renewing an old one. Taking lessons and guided ski trips can make a fun experience even more fun and exhilarating. Many Ski resorts at Snowmass offer lessons for multiple levels with guides that offer great tips and trips on becoming a pro in no time!

Stay Mindful

Remember that ski resorts are built on a pretty high altitude. Bodies need time to adapt and adjust to a change so drastic. High altitudes affect some differently than others, so remember to be careful and mindful of how you feel and how much activity you can take on in a day. Make sure to stay warm and hydrated throughout your trip.

Go Beyond The Snow

Skiing and snowboarding are the major attractions when going to Snowmass in the winter times but there’s so much more to it! Explore the amenities the lodges have to offer, check out local stores and try different activities like snowmobiling and ice skating. There are endless possibilities.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Aspen Snowmass stands as an amazing quartet of ski resorts with its unparalleled magnificence and endless skiing opportunities.

This is what makes Aspen Snowmass one of the best destinations for ski resort enthusiasts from far and wide. It isn’t just all about skiing; there’s so much more one can do.

From having the most picturesque backdrop for fun snaps to activities like snowmobiling, snowshoeing, ice skating and exploring the winter trails, Snowmass has got it all. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a seasoned skier or a newbie, Snowmass has something wonderful and unique for everyone!

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