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Help with our plans for Aspen/Snowmass trip 2012 please!!

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hi There, We are 2 intermediate ski couples from England who are planning a trip out to Aspen/Snowmass Jan/Feb 2012 for 10/11 days, avoiding the X Games at the end of Jan.

We have all skied various areas of the U.S, and now want to experience what Aspen has to offer, in the way of both skiing and partying!

Our questions are: Do we visit before the games ie mid Jan or leave it until February. In general how do the snow conditions compare?

Preferably we would like to be positioned in Aspen, but realize that a more economical option would be Snowmass and shuttle in for a night out on the town. We have stayed in both Hotels and Condos in the past, can anyone suggest or recommend any?

Maybe someone has done something similar recently? We would be very interested in any helpful information or experiences!

Many Thanks, Sutts.

post #2 of 20
I don't think there is a reason to expect better conditions either of those times. You do have two long weekends (Martin Luther King day and Presidents Day) that can create a few more people there, but Aspen doesn't get that busy even on those long weekends. I'd pick one and call it good.

Another option for you would be to come to the Epic Ski Academy, which will be sometime in late January if recent history is any guide. It is a 4 day ski course with some of the best instructors in the US. It's held at Snowmass, meaning that's where people stay. It really helped my skiing.

If that's not what you'd like to do, then I'd stay in Aspen. I go to Aspen every year and take my non-skiing spouse. There's enough to keep her interested staying in Aspen. The food is great, lots of shopping, snowshoeing, etc.

I stay at the St. Regis, where I can get a free room due to the amount I travel and stay in Starwood hotel properties. As a result, I can't really suggest a hotel. They all are pretty pricey, although few are in the league of the St. Regis and Little Nell.

You will have a great time in Aspen.

post #3 of 20

In my experience, late February and early March are more reliable than January, and sunnier as well.  The Limelight used to be my favorite for cheap lodging, but I haven't been there since they re-built it into a nice hotel. The cheapest hotel in town is probably the St Moritz. Hotel Aspen is reasonable as well.  Neither are as good a location or as nice as the St Regis.  I prefer to stay in town and ski mostly Aspen Highlands, so the Hotel Aspen works out to a good location for me.  Slopeside at Snowmass means a lot of bus rides to town and to AH for me.




post #4 of 20

Doesn't matter much when you go. In the winter with the closing of Independence pass, it's a bit of a hike to Aspen from Denver and it really keeps the crowds away. I was there about the same time last year. Tthere were about ten people in line for the the gondola when it opened on a powder day, and I was stilling laying down fresh lines at two in the afternoon.


Stay in Aspen. No question. As intermediate skiers, you will really like skiing Snowmass and possibly Buttermilk, but it's only a twenty minute free bus ride from town with a minimal wait.


As for lodging, I'm like Mike and have only stayed at the St.Regis because of the Starwood hookup. It's top notch, but we were seemingly the only family there without a nanny. I like a little more "party" to a hotel and found the St. Regis on the stuffy side for my tastes.

post #5 of 20

February might have slightly more advantageous average temperatures, day light hours, and deeper snowpack than January.  Snowmass is excellent for intermediates seeking ski-in/ski-out lodging.  It is ten miles to Aspen for the renowned bar/resto/shopping district.  Aspen Mountain (aka Ajax) is the closest ski area on the edge of town, but is an advanced mountain with only a few long intermediate routes from the top.  If you stay in the town of Aspen your group will likely rely on the free shuttle bus to ski the massive intermediate terrain at Snowmass on many days.  This will work, but not quite the same easy access as ski-in/ski-out.  Aspen Highlands, the third great nearby ski mountain has more intermediate skiing than Ajax, but not as much as Snowmass.  The fourth local ski area is Buttermilk, known for gentle slopes and terrain parks. 

The trade-off for your group:  if you stay in Aspen, you take the bus to best intermediate skiing.  If you stay at Snowmass you take the bus to best partying.  


If you search here you may get some useful threads with the terms like: Aspen Snowmass lodging  


Some examples:








post #6 of 20

Sutts, if this is your first trip to Aspen/Snowmass, treat yourself to what Aspen has to offer in skiing along with the nightlife of entertainment and dining.  Being an intermediate you will get bored with the blue runs on Aspen after a few days...go to Snowmass which I consider the mecca of blue groomed runs with no crowds to speak of.  I kinda like going in late Feb to March, better and slightly warmer conditions. 

St. Regis in Aspen is very nice along with the Jerome and Lil Nell.  We have stayed at the Innsbrook Inn in Aspen..very nice condos on the main strip with in house transportation anytime and anywhere in Aspen.  If you decide to stay in Snowmass the Timberline condos are ski in/out.  You don't need a rental car in Aspen, the free bus shuttle is the way to go.  If you are staying for 10-11 days take a day or two to ski Aspen Highlands...well worth the 20 minute bus ride.

Enjoy your vacation there...great mountains and town.

post #7 of 20

I'll just agree with a lot of things already posted:


1.  Do try to get a chance to ski Aspen Highlands.

2.  February is a great time, although Presidents weekend is Feb 18 - 20th.  Try to avoid that.  I think I'd recommend arriving very shortly after that.

3.  Snowmass is probably the easier of the two to stay, but don't forget about VRBO, there might be a deal on there: http://www.vrbo.com/vacation-rentals/usa/colorado/northwest/aspen

4.  Glenwood Springs is off the main highway into Aspen.  Try to stop and soak in the hot springs there.

5.  Sometimes there are some very good deals on flights from Denver to Aspen, it's worth checking into.  

6.  Read a Hunter S. Thompson book and then go to the Woody Creek Tavern.


post #8 of 20



February is a little nicer.  


There's really no reason to avoid the X Games, there are no lift lines on the hill.  Traffic can be a little bad around Buttermilk,  there might be some lines getting into some of the clubs and the economy restaurants, but you can walk right in to the high end places.


 I actually go, just for the parties.  Last year I saw the Marley's play in someones living room! 


Stay in town!   The new Limelight is very nice, but there are a ton of nice places. 

post #9 of 20

I'm heading to Aspen in February... so as a follow-up question: staying at the limelight or Aspen hotel, I assume you need to take a shuttle to get to Aspen Highlands or is it at all walkable?

post #10 of 20

You need to take the bus from Aspen to Snowmass, Highlands or Buttermilk. It's only about a ten or so minute ride to the Highlands and a twenty minute ride to Snowmass. Highlands is my favorite with Aspen proper (Ajax) being a very close second.

post #11 of 20

snowmass + highlands = yahoo.gif

post #12 of 20
Originally Posted by jaytierney View Post

I'm heading to Aspen in February... so as a follow-up question: staying at the limelight or Aspen hotel, I assume you need to take a shuttle to get to Aspen Highlands or is it at all walkable?

There are shuttle stops within a block of each.  Limelight has a better location for town or Ajax and IMHO, a much nicer property.   Plus my house is right next door!


post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

Many thanks guys, I am looking into condos at either Aspen or Snowmass.

post #14 of 20

I once spent the first three weeks of March skiing Aspen. It snowed every second night and was sunny every single day except our last day when it snowed during the day. The lifties all had great tans like they were Californians. Aspen--a great resort with something for everyone.

post #15 of 20

Stay in town! 


Before you book anything, run it by here and I'll give you the  pro's and con's.  I used to be in real estate in Aspen and am familiar with almost all the properties.

post #16 of 20

Limelight Lodge is your best bet.

They will shuttle you to and from any mountain you like for free.

Plus they have one of the best, low key apres-scenes around  - certainly the longest.

I think 3-7 each day and live music from Thursday through Mondays.

They even put cookie dough in their pizza oven and serve fresh baked cookies for free

and have great beer wine and pizza specials daily.

Pets are allowed and it's an incredible location right in Aspen.

Very comfy, clean, chic place to stay for a reasonable price.

I heard they also offer first tracks specials where you can get first tracks for free 

or ski ALL DAY with an aspen ski instructor FOR FREE.


post #17 of 20
Originally Posted by fluffygnar View Post

I heard they also offer first tracks specials where you can get first tracks for free 

or ski ALL DAY with an aspen ski instructor FOR FREE.


Actually, anyone can get first tracks for free.  Just sign up with the Concierge at the base of the mountain.




Don't know anything about the instructor deal?  I bet the mitten fetchers want something out of it?

post #18 of 20

Just came from Snowmass. Stayed at Pokolodi..Decent but nothing great. They changed our room from a king to 2 queens, and could not get us in another. They said they thought we wanted 2 queens, when I booked asking specifically for a king. Nice people though.Snow was thin, but we still had a decent time. Rent from Gene Taylors..Not great equipment, but half the price. Eat at

il poggio..Great food. The steak shop behind it was good too. Started the trip off with the baggage handler telling us ski bags were not allowed, but if we took the skis out he would take them, but had to charge us for each set of skis seperately, and the trip went kind of crappy from there.Snow is not good.. rent, so you can tear up their skis instead of yours. We stayed on the main mountain..Big burn lift, and sheer bliss lifts, and had some decent snow, stay away from elk run lift..



post #19 of 20
Thread Starter 

We have now booked. Decided to go "cheap" and will be staying at the Wildwood Lodge (more money for beer and food me thinks!).

Thanks for the recent imput guys, lets hope the conditions improve soon eh!



post #20 of 20



bring so snow with you because we don't have much. In fact the friday ski group is headed to the desert for some mtn biking today!





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