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Aspen / Snowmass advice please

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone,

I'm from Scotland and am planning on going to Aspen / Snowmass for the first time this coming Winter. I'm hoping you can help me to decide what to do by answering some questions that I have.

1) Are there any weeks that I should avoid because the resorts are going to be very busy?

2) Is it better to fly in to Aspen airport or fly to Denver and get a coach transfer?

3) I'm not sure whether I want to stay in Aspen or Snowmass. Snowmass has lots of ski in/out slopeside accommodation but Aspen is meant to be a nicer, more atmospheric place to stay. Is it easy in Aspen to get to the slopes from wherever you are staying in the town, or is there lots of annoying walking with skis to be done?

4) I want to go for 2 weeks. Is it worth considering 7 days staying in Aspen then 7 days staying in Snowmass or are they well enough connected that it isn't worth the trouble of changing hotels after a week?

5) Does anyone have any recommendations of good, mid-range (i.e. not 4/5 star but not basic either) accomodation in Aspen or Snowmass?

Any help you could give would be much appreciated.

Cheers,

Ricky P.
post #2 of 15
Welcome.
Aspen/Snowmass is probably my favorite of the ~60 ski areas I've visited in North America, so I'm with you on your basic choice.
Want to avoid Christmas week and President's Week Feb 14-21. Best combo IMHO of sunny weather and good snow is early March. Flying into Aspen saves a (sometimes challenging) five hour drive. FYI it is more cost efficient for most visitors to rent a car if landing in Denver and drive themselves from there. Where you stay depends on your preference for skiing vs. nightlife. Staying slopeside at Snowmass is best if you ski from bell to bell and like intermediate terrain. The town of Aspen has terrific bar/restaurant/shopping scene, but the local ski area (Ajax) is limited in some respects and best for advanced or expert skiers. There is good and free bus service between the two, which are 10 miles apart. Where ever you stay, be sure to also ski Aspen Highlands, a third and very scenic ski area half way between the other two. If I were in the area for two weeks I'd stay in Snowmass and use the bus for visiting the others, but I'm more of a morning (ski) person, than a night (pub crawling) person.
post #3 of 15
1) Are there any weeks that I should avoid because the resorts are going to be very busy? -

No, not really. Snowmass used to get a little crowded, but they've put in a bunch of new lifts and lines are rare.

2) Is it better to fly in to Aspen airport or fly to Denver and get a coach transfer? -

I always prefer to fly right into Aspen, but it can be expensive at times. You don't need a car in Aspen. Sometimes I will fly into Denver. Rent a car one way and drop in Aspen, then do the same for the return. The coach service takes a long time and is almost as expensive as flying.

3) I'm not sure whether I want to stay in Aspen or Snowmass. Snowmass has lots of ski in/out slopeside accommodation but Aspen is meant to be a nicer, more atmospheric place to stay. Is it easy in Aspen to get to the slopes from wherever you are staying in the town, or is there lots of annoying walking with skis to be done? -

Unless you have a bunch of kids, stay in Aspen.

4) I want to go for 2 weeks. Is it worth considering 7 days staying in Aspen then 7 days staying in Snowmass or are they well enough connected that it isn't worth the trouble of changing hotels after a week?-

No, just stay in town, the bus service is excellent.

5) Does anyone have any recommendations of good, mid-range (i.e. not 4/5 star but not basic either) accomodation in Aspen or Snowmass? -

The Limelight is brand new, great location and fairly moderately priced.
post #4 of 15
I just planned my first trip to Aspen. I too was looking for mid-range, not luxury but not basic accomodation either. Based on lots of online research/reviews I picked the Annabelle Inn. I wouldn't normally consider $340/night midrange except in NYC but that was definitely on the low end for Aspen. So obviously I haven't stayed there yet but thought it would be worth sharing what I'd found. The Limelight looks really nice too, but rooms during our visit start at $455.

The Mountain Chalet looked much more basic but it also seemed pretty cool, got very good reviews and was very reasonably priced (for Aspen), but they required a week minimum (too long for us).
post #5 of 15
I like Aspen way better than Snowmass. Snowmass is too much of resort for me. The last time I was there, I had to drag my girlfriend out of a jewelery store before I even got my boots on.
The hotels on Main Street are all in a good location, and sometimes you can get reasonable deals. The St. Moritz is the cheapest place, but you will end up walking a bit more. The Limelight is in a good location, but it's probably way expensive since it's been rebuilt.
Eagle is much closer than Denver, and has more flights than Aspen.

BK
post #6 of 15
The Annabelle Inn should be pretty nice. It's the old Christmas Inn. There are a ton of these older lodges that get remodeled every couple of years. If they get dumpy and people stop coming, they get converted to condo's pretty quick. A lot of these old lodges have a lot of charm. The Mountain Chalet has a very strong following.

EGE is a good option if there's a direct. But I would never connect thru Denver to EGE. The risk reward is too great, you may as well drive the whole way.
post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much for your help so far guys. As far as I know there aren't any direct flights from anywhere in the UK to Eagle so I think my options are either to fly to Denver and make my way to Aspen from there or fly to Chicago and fly on to Aspen. It's a long journey from Edinburgh to Aspen but I think it's going to be worth it!
post #8 of 15
I would not stay in one resort for two weeks if you are coming all that way. If it is a large group then all the logistics might be hard. But if it is just your small group, why not fly into Denver and at least stop at one other area. I'm no Colorado expert but have skied there a few times. Why not stop in Summit County and you can "see and ski" there for 3 days. Ski Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone or two of those three. Then head west to Vail and ski there for 2 days. Beaver Creek, near Vail, is a luxurious resort that would be super cool for you to ski/see. Certainly Vail is at least worth a day or two skiing during your two week trip. Aspen is about two hours from Vail.

Then head further west and end up at Aspen and ski there for 4-5 days. On your travel days, check out in the am, and head west and ski the afternoon. Colorado is a huge state with beautiful scenery, why be stuck in one place more than a week for such a trip?

Presidents Day is crowded, but you could arrive that Thursday after and be fine. I would try to get trip in before March 10th for chances at the best weather(cold!), but resorts are fully open with good snow until end of March. I'm heading to Aspen myself for my first trip there in December.
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
I would not stay in one resort for two weeks if you are coming all that way.
Forget this advice. Two weeks in Aspen sounds fantastic to me. There's more than enough variety where the skiing is concerned and, Aspen is Aspen - a great place for an extended stay. Have fun.
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by SnowbirdDevotee View Post
...why not fly into Denver and at least stop at one other area. I'm no Colorado expert but have skied there a few times. Why not stop in Summit County and you can "see and ski" there for 3 days. Ski Breckenridge, Copper Mountain and Keystone or two of those three. Then head west to Vail and ski there for 2 days. Beaver Creek, near Vail, is a luxurious resort that would be super cool for you to ski/see.
You can do that, and you'll have a great time in Summit County, but you will need to rent a car, and after the fourth day, you'll kick yourself for not going straight to Aspen. That said, if you looking for trees and steeps, A-Basin is worth stopping at if you are driving from Denver. The others, not so much.

BK
post #11 of 15
Have you ever skied in the US before? Its different from Yurup (where I assume you've taken most of your ski holidays) and certainly very different from Scotland (unless you ski in Minnesota). Here are some things you should know:

Language:

Hire = Rent
Sticks = Poles
Coach = Bus
Holiday = Vacation
Left = Right (when driving)
Roundabout = Rotary or Roundabout - either way you are unlikely to see any
Randy = Horny
Pissed = Drunk (Here pissed means pissed off, not drunk)
Wee = small

I'll be there the week leading up to President's week (Feb 7-14) and I'm staying a few days in Aspen and a few in Snowmass, but I won my trip and didn't have any say in where I'm staying - Aspen Square Hotel and The Crestwood condos.

I haven't been to Aspen since I was 5 so I can't speak to the differences between Aspen and Snowmass. I'm sure looking forward to the trip.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for your help guys. I have a couple more questions that I hope you can help with.

How often do flights to/from Aspen airport get cancelled? I could cope with a bit of a delay on the way in, but I would need my flight out to leave on time in order to catch my flight home from the US to the UK, and if I missed it I might have to wait a day for the next one which wouldn't be much fun on the way home.

Also, I've read about there being lots of construction work in Snowmass recently. Is it still going on and does it spoil being in Snowmass at all?

Cheers,

Ricky P
post #13 of 15
I would guess about 10% get canceled, with United being the worst. Quite a few United flights are delayed leaving Aspen. Sometimes for no apparent reason other than the flights might not be full.
So far I have had pretty good luck on Frontier and Delta.

For departure I always allow at least an hour connection in Denver and I would probably allow two for international.

Most of the construction seems to be done in Snowmass. But I still wouldn't stay there!
post #14 of 15
I would also watch the weather of the departure day like a hawk.

If a storm is about to come in, try to get a seat on an earlier flight so you lessen the chance of being stuck there and miss your flight.
post #15 of 15
Used the Annabelle Inn 2 years ago. We had a problem with the water in our room not a real big problem but this was March & Peak rates.
Complained a few times over the 10 days , never got fixed but because we didnt have woman with us we just let it be.

On check-out the owner gave us 30% discount !!
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