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Snowmass

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Trail Map
Trail Map
Snowmass Trail Map.jpg

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Conditions


Average Annual Snowfall: 299" 
"Well protected except Hanging Valley and Big Burn. The hiking required to reach Hanging Valley and Cirque allows powder to last longer than other Aspen areas, but neither are reliable before February."

Transportation
Transportation
AIR TRANSPORTATION

Fly into Denver International Airport or Aspen/ Pitkin County Airport.

Airlines flying into Denver

Google Map from Denver International Airport to Snowmass

United and Frontier Airlines fly into Aspen/Pitkin County Airport

LOCAL TRANSPORTATION

 

Colorado Mountain Express from Denver International Airport

Aspen/Pitkin County Airport GroundTransportation

In-town Bus Service

 

Free shuttle buses run from 8:00 a.m.to  4:30 p.m. between the four ski areas - Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk Mountain and Snowmass. Shuttles run continuously during peak morning and afternoon hours. Evening buses within Aspen are free while Snowmass riders are charged a nominal fee. Call (970) 925-8484 for more information.

 
 

Lodging
Lodging
Ski-in/ski-out lodging is more expensive, but Snowmass is a relatively small village, you are never more than a short walk to the lifts. Large groups and families should consider condo rentals, which feature full-service kitchens.
 
Name Description Maximum Occupancy Price Range

Snowmass Lodging Company

 

Offers luxury condo rentals in five properties. Rates based on two people. $35 for each additional person $217 to $3079

Silvertree Hotel and Conference Center

 

Offers guest rooms and full suites. The property has a gym and a full-service spa. Charges for additional occupants may apply $279.00 to $359.00
Pokolodi Lodge Located 100 yards from the slopes, this affordable lodge offers free continental breakfast. Charges for additional occupants may apply $169 to $200
Snowmass Mountain Chalet This ski-in/ski-out hotel serves free breakfast, and a free hot soup lunch. Charges for additional occupants may apply $220 to $275
       

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Dining

Snowmass has nine, on-mountain restaurants, which include Sneaky's Tavern, Sam's Smokehouse, Up 4 Pizza, Two Creeks Cafe, , Ullrhof, Gwyn's High Alpine and Cafe Suzanne. Lynn Britt Cabin offers lunches and snowcat dinner rides, and Burlingame Cabin offers snowcat dinner rides. The Stew Pot, located near the lifts in Snowmass Village, serves hot stews, soups and salads.  Krabloonik, located in a rustic log house, has an extensive game menu. If martinis are your game, The Artison has a fine selection, as well as  artfully designed seafood and vegetarian entrees. Butch's Lobster Bar is owned by a former Cape Cod lobsterman. The Mountain Dragon satisfies your craving for Chinese food.

 

REAL ESTATE
 
DEALS

 

Vacation Packages

WHAT'S NEW
 
ACTIVITIES

 

Snowshoeing tours round out an extensive ski and ride program at Snowmass. Dog sledding is offered at the  Krabloonik Restaurnat and Kennel 

After a day on the slopes, visit the historic Wheeler Opera House for concerts and lectures.

 
SERVICES

Get your groceries at the Village Market
Snowmass Center - Snowmass Village, CO 81612
Phone: 970-923-4444

Grocery Girls of Aspen will also deliver groceries to your condo.

GOOD, BETTER, BEST

The Good:The Snowmass Noon Groom

The Better: Hand-tuned skis at Sunset ski-tuning
The Best: Family-friendly, unpretentious fun on wide open slopes.
 

 

Snowmass
Description:

Located 12 miles from Aspen and sharing its lift pass, Snowmass offers 90% ski-in lodging and free postcards and stamps to anyone wanting to write home about their experiences on North America's longest half-pipe. In 1997, the installation of a high altitude surface lift to access the powder filled bowls of The Cirque, previously only available with the aid of a snowcat or a hike, gave it the biggest lift-served vertical drop in the country. The poma lift on The Cirque operates 60 to 75 days of the year accessing terrain suited to intermediates and experts. The purpose of the limited access is to prevent over-exploitation of the terrain and a surface lift can operate in windy conditions that could stop a chair. ** Nordic: The Snowmass Club Nordic Center has over 80 km of groomed trails, and access to the trails is free. Equipment rental, lessons, snack bar, and health club are available. For information call 970-923-3148 or 800-525-6200.

Details:
DetailValue
Snow making percent
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Magic carpet4
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Rope tow2
Lifts-Surface Lifts-Poma2
Lifts-Surface Lifts-T bar
Lifts-Surface Lifts-J bar
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Single
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Double
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Triple
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Quad2
Lifts-Chair Lifts-High speed quad7
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Five person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Six person
Lifts-Chair Lifts-Eight person
Lifts-Gondola2
Lifts-Tram
Lifts-Coggle train
Lifts-Funicular
Lifts-Other1 high speed 6
Lifts-Total number of lifts20
Lifts-Total lift capacity
Trails-1-Beginner6%
Trails-2-Intermediate50%
Trails-3-Advanced12%
Trails-4-Expert only32%
Trails-5-Terrain park3
Trails-6-Half pipe2
Trails-Total91
Runs-Steepest run
Runs-Longest run5.3 miles
General-Base elevation8104'
General-Vertical drop4406'
General-OwnerAspen Ski Company
General-Mountain rangeElk Mountains
General-Annual skier visits
General-Back country access
General-Total area in bounds3132 acres
General-Snow making coverage
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC

Posted

Pros: Groomers, Longshot, Views

Cons: Flats, Occasional Lift Lines, a Bit Maze-y

We took a bit of a risk in visiting Aspen towards the end of the season to score cheaper lodging, but were rewarded with fantastic spring weather.  Snowmass, Highlands, and Ajax all hold snow quite well, so despite the lean year and the 55-60 degree afternoons, the conditions were surprisingly good.  Snowmass is so broad-shouldered, that an initial tour of the mountain simply must be divided up into two days, one for the "right side" and one for the "left side".  I was a bit annoyed with the way the local buses dump everyone off at a spot where you have to walk through the village to a crowded staging area about halfway up Fanny Hill to get started; it was not ideal, and if I had any kids in tow, I think it would've been a pain.

 

Snowmass is known predominately for its cruisers, and there was certainly no shortage of easy blues and greens.  Frankly, I thought the reputation for grooming was a bit overstated - don't come here expecting a second Deer Valley.  Big Burn had the best blues, with Elk Camp a close second.  There are also a handful of commonly groomed blacks, such as Slot, Campground, and The Edge (though calling most of Campground a black is a stretch).  There are some decent mogul runs off Sam's Knob and High Alpine, but if you're into bashing bumps, you're much better off over at Ajax or Highlands.  I would suggest avoiding the Campground lift altogether unless it has recently snowed, as the conditions down there were pretty rough after three weeks of sunshine.  Same goes for the even-lower Two Creeks lift on the other side of the resort, which we used only as an exit for Longshot and Burnt Mtn Glades.

 

Speaking of which, if it's open, I strongly recommend taking the short hike up to Burnt Mtn.  After enjoying a great photo op of the Maroon Bells, you get to check out some of the best tree skiing in Aspen.  Even decent intermediates can take the heavily-thinned Longshot & East Branch straight down for about 3,300 vertical feet.  Just make sure you're with a buddy, because there will be very few others up there, and be advised to carry some speed towards the bottom, as the run-out back to the Two Creeks Lift is almost as flat as a board.

 

Unlike the other Aspen resorts, occasional lift lines did exist here, though all but the Cirque poma were under 5 minutes.  I would not bother with the 10-15 minute wait for a poma ride unless you intend to ski the Cirque, or absolutely have to see the plaque honoring John Denver. :p

 

We did not spend much time in the Snowmass base village as we found a very good late-season deal over in town, but from what I saw it was the typical paint-by-numbers, pre-fab job that you'd expect from Vail or Intrawest.  What it lacks in charm, I'm sure it marginally makes up in price compared to staying in Aspen proper during the core weeks of the season.

Posted

Pros: Huge area with diverse terrain. I never waited in a lift line.

Cons: expensive

Snowmass has something for almost anyone, from huge sweeping intermediate terrain in the Big Burn to the steeps and cliffs of the KT Gully, Hanging Valley and the Cirque.  Snowmass offers lots of lifts with low crowd densities and a good skiing layout.  Leave the car in the lot and ski for a week without ever driving again.  You can reach the other mountains of Aspen by convenient and frequent bus routes.

 

Snowmass caters to convention groups and families and is excellent for either.  EpicSki Academy has held camps there in January each year and made use of the terrain, meeting facilities, lodging, restaurants, bars and transportation. 

Posted

Pros: EX terrain between Cirque & Headwall.

Cons: Hard to get to. Poor family access to kids' learning areas & surface lifts. Poor cross-mountain connectivity. New Village development floundering.

Great snow, awesome vistas. It is worth literally dragging yourself up the Cirque T-bar for the panorama, not to mention it’s not everyday you get to 12,500ft with lift service!  Cirque Headwall and the KT Gulley area is excellent EX terrain, especially with a fresh coat of pow.  You can traverse from the Cirque surface list to access gated hiking access to the Headwall, but the better bet is to use the High Alpine chair and start your hike to the immediate skiers left of the top of the lift and save yourself the traverse. I found good snow on Robertos and Hanging Valley Wall during our stay, but found the trees in the gladed areas to be a lot tighter than what I grew up with at North Lake Tahoe.

 

The lift system doesn't move skiers very well across the mountain: lots of traversing if you want to get from one side of resort to another. The new base village was a bit creepy in January 2010: a veritable ghost town at night, albeit a brand, spanking new one. The developers have run out of cash!  Because much of the village is still a construction site, a good 1/3 of the storefront / restaurant spaces were empty. The older Village Mall area was much more lively & inviting.

 

There are a ton of ski-in-ski-out condo options along Fanny Hill and the bottom half of the Village Express, making Snowmass a great fit for families with small children who don’t deal well with walking & shuttles. The ski school did a good job keeping my 4 and 7 year-old engaged and progressing, and the instructors were accessible and provided good feedback.

Less satisfactory was Snowmass' bizarrely inconvenient arrangement of the surface lifts & facilities for beginning skiers.  My 4 year old was beginning her first real season on the snow, and when she wasn't in lessons, she was skiing with me.  I was told our first day that the magic carpet lift at the base of Fanny Hill was for ski-school use only.  When I asked what our other options were, no one seemed to know.  Our instructor referred us to a Tree House Kid's Center staffer, who claimed that the "Sky Cab" gondola was our only option, since the Elk Camp learning area was allegedly also off-limits to non-ski-school participants.  The next day I followed-up again with a Ski School coordinator, who looked appalled, and apologized that we'd been so badly misinformed, and sent us right up to the Elk Camp learning area.  True to her word, the magic carpet lift was open to all ticketholders. Only problem being, the restroom and "lounge" facility at the learning area *was not.* (It was actively policed & restricted for current in-class ski-school patrons only).  To use the restroom with your learning child, you need to take a 10 minute tram ride to the base village, and then walk a good 100yards back to the main lodge. 

Word to Aspen Co.: FAIL!!! 

I've detailed this frustrating facet of our stay by way of illustrating the rather staggering cluelessness and lack of organization behind the scenes at Snowmass across the board.  Whether calling concierges for dining & transit info, the Aspen central number for info on Ajax & the Highlands, etc. we quickly realized that most of the people we were talking with either hadn't worked there long enough to have a clue, or just couldn't be bothered to find out, and thus just made things up as they went along.

Once we learned to circumvent Aspen Co. altogether, and call restaurants, shops, shuttles, etc. directly, things went swimmingly.

 

There was more than enough quality dining options to keep our family of spoiled eaters happy for our 10 day stay.  Those without kids would no doubt do well to catch a free shuttle over to Aspen, but we preferred to skip the commute, and there were more than enough 18-plus-Zagat-point locations in Snowmass to empty your wallet, so there's no pressing need to head over Aspen for a proper fleecing.

 

Bottom line: quality terrain, and, elevation is great for holding snow, but I won’t be coming back soon: If I’m back in CO any time soon, I’ll try out something new like Telluride  or opt for the better accessibility of Vail, rather than being forced to chose between the limited arrival times & departure delays at Aspen versus the 1:40 commute in from EagleAirport to Snowmass.

Posted

Pros: lots of intermediate terrain, few crowds

Cons: expensive

We went to Snowmass just after Christmas and stayed thru 1/1/2011.  We chose Snowmass because of its intermediate terrain. We were concerned about Christmas break crowds, but when we talked to people at Snowmass they assured us lift lines would be manageable.  They were -  we rarely waited more than 5 minutes in line.  They were booked to capacity and had waiting lists for instructors (so if you want a lesson book in advance) but even with these "crowds" the mountain never seemed crowded. The mountain and lifts are very easy to navigate - there are very few catwalks and getting to the runs you want to be on is quick. My husband and I are intermediate skiiers and our 3 teens are happiest on expert terrain.  Snowmass was perfect for us.  We were able to enjoy long blue cruisers as a family and the kids had plenty of thrills available to them with the expert runs.  Snowmass also has excellent gladed skiing - the "sneakys glades" and "powerline glades" should not be missed.  The blue terrain at Snowmass is manageable for any intermediate skiier - compared to the blue slopes at Telluride, Snowmass  is much easier.  I would say a easier black at Snowmass is comparable to a harder blue at Telluride.  Snowmass reminds me of a Steamboat.  One big difference - price.  Snowmass is very expensive.  Your lift ticket covers 4 resorts - Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass.  You pay for this even if you don't use it.  Our lodging was some of the most expensive we have encountered (more than Steamboat, Beaver Creek, Big Sky, Telluride).  During holidays they do not have 1/2 day lessons available, so if you want a lesson it is all day which is pricey too.  That being said, our kids went on a lesson in order to get to some very difficult terrain and came back with rave reviews.  Everyone we met at Snowmass - lift operators, instructors, retail employees, etc were all very pleasant - even during the most busy time of the year for them.  Everyone had a smile on their face and was very helpful.  Our family would definitely recommend Snowmass and will plan to return. 

Posted

Pros: Variety

Snowmass is a large ski area with a top elevation of 12510',4460' vertical, 21 lifts and 3010 acres. The area has a wide variety of terrain with a lot of long cruising groomed runs, a few small bowls and chutes in The Cirque and some good tree skiing in the Hanging Valley. This is a well developed destination area with many slopeside condos and restaurants. The Cirque T-Bar claims to be the highest in North America. From the top there are spectacular views of some 14000' peaks.