Overview of Snowmass, Colorado
Written by Greg and Heather Burke
Aspen Colorado is a top ski resorts in the world, for many reasons, four ski mountains, a great Colorado ski town, legendary après ski, on mountain ski hotels, gorgeous scenery and great ski events. Of Aspen Skiing Company's four ski resorts, with 5,500 acres combined, Snowmass is the largest, bigger than Aspen Mountain (Ajax), Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk which are separate but all included on one lift ticket. It's a 10-mile drive to Snowmass from downtown Aspen.
Snowmass is by far the biggest of Aspen's skiing with 3,362 acres (the second largest in Colorado behind Vail) of wide open terrain on Mount Baldy - perfectly sloped from the Big Burn on the summit with spectacular views, see our Aspen Snowmass photos, of Aspen's Maroon Bells to gorgeous aspen tree glades, steeps, and groomers. Aspen Snowmass also has a beautiful base village, with skier services, top ski in ski out hotels like the Viceroy, and plenty of fun things to do after the lifts stops - dog sledding, snowshoeing, après ski bars, shopping in the pedestrian Snowmass Village or hitting the spa.
A great way to start your ski day at Snowmass is to sign up for First Tracks, and ride the Village Express at 8:15 with a ski guide before the mountain opens officially. The best place to head first thing is Big Burn, this terrain is among the best skiing in the US, wide open and gently pitched with a sensational view of the Maroon Bells. The lack of trees is due to a forest fire -hence the Big Burn name.
Other great trails served by the Big Burn high-speed quad are Whispering Jesse and Dallas Freeway. The Sheer Bliss area has equally engaging terrain, especially its namesake trail and Garrett's Gulch if you like trees and a natural halfpipe feel. The High Alpine quad serves above tree line adventurous runs and gritty glades in Hanging Valley. The Cirque at 12,510' has a steep headwall, served by a surface lift, it's not always open due to its steep and severe nature.
Sam's Knob offers some fun groomers, some steeps, bumps and the super long Slot which take you to western-most Campground - an earthy ungroomed expert playground of terrain served by a methodical, relaxing double chair. Powderhorn is a fantastic long run here, be warned you might cross paths with a dog sled team during your otherwise peaceful descent. On the eastern flank of Snowmass, Elk Camp has beautifully groomed gentle terrain, popular with families and ski school. From the top of Elk Camp you can make a short hike to Burnt Mountain and ski Long Shot, a wonderfully long, 5.3 mile wild side country ski run all the way to the base of Two Creeks.
For families, Snowmass has a state of the art Children's Tree House Adventure Center in the heart of Snowmass Village where their ski and snowboard camps and fun activities emanate. Snowmass really caters to kids, as evidenced by the many kid friendly trails, race arena for small fries and progressive parks on the lower mountain.
For a memorable on mountain lunch, ski into Gwyn's High Alpine for table service at this traditional family run restaurant.
Après ski at Snowmass, Venga Venga is a casual fun Mexican bar with a big deck right on the slopes at Snowmass Mall. Enjoy happy hour prices, a seat at the outdoor bar or fire pit tables and watch the skiers go by, or head inside to hear the live music. Ricard's is more sophisticated après ski in Snowmass Village,
Staying at Snowmass, on the mountain versus in town in Aspen, there are several beautiful lodges in Snowmass Village, including Stonebridge Inn and a Westin - formerly the Silver Tree. We recommend the swanky Viceroy Hotel, which is grand, gorgeous inside, with beautiful rooms and suites, a Spa, a fantastic outdoor pool with hot tubs and fire pits, a great restaurants Eight K (denoting the elevation) and its own chairlift to transport you to Snowmass Village ski lifts from the Viceroy which is slight below the village.. The Viceroy ski valet takes your gear as you ski in at the end of the day, such service, and has them waiting by the slopes each morning.
During your Snowmass ski vacation, consider skiing Ajax - Aspen Mountain and Aspen Highlands - all part of the same Aspen lift ticket, there’s a shuttle system for the 20-minute drive. Or extend your stay and lodge in downtown Aspen for serious après ski, spendy shopping and more skiing.
great mountain! 20 minutes to Aspen are fabulous restaurants and galleries....used to be great night life....hope it comes back
Snowmass has it all. It is great for a boys ski vacation, and it is great when I take my wife and daughter skiing as well. I enjoy the long cruising blues, and the challenging blacks. I don't find mysief getting bored when I ski with my family on the lesser blues and greens either. Snowmass is also beautiful. The scenery from atop Elks Camp is my favorite of anywhere I have skied. A friend of mine has a place there, but I manage to get there once a year even if I don't go out with him. I find it that appealing. Second place goes to Steamboat, everything else pales after that.