Spring in Ski Country means longer days, warmer sunshine, plenty of outdoor events and concerts and a high probability that it could snow at any point in between those glorious, bask-worthy days. Basically, it’s the best time to go on a ski vacation and a big reason why March is a popular month for ski travelers.
Few ski resorts can compete with the scenery, variety of terrain across its four areas and stacked list of events and concerts that Aspen Snowmass offers, making it one of our favorite spring skiing destinations.
“One day you can have the best powder day of the year, and the next you’re working on your sun tan and enjoying spring skiing.” —Danielle Leffler, Aspen-based Mountain Vacation Specialist
With the help of Mountain Vacation Specialist Danielle, we compiled a five-day sample itinerary to help you capitalize on the best spring skiing experiences in Aspen Snowmass.
Mountain Vacation Specialist Since 2006
Day 1: Fly into Aspen-Pitkin County Airport and get settled into your accommodations
If your budget allows, fly right into Aspen for hassle-free traveling. Then you don’t have to worry about arranging for a shuttle or renting a car, which you really don’t need thanks to a robust, complimentary inter-resort bus system.
Aspen-Pitkin County Airport is a 15-minute drive from Snowmass and a 10-minute drive from downtown Aspen. For complimentary shuttle service to and from the accommodations, ski in ski out access, reasonable rates and a laundry list of amenities and services, we recommend the Stonebridge Inn in Snowmass Village. Families will especially appreciate the Stonebridge Inn for its pool and hot tub, onsite restaurant, onsite rental shop and easy access to the slopes and ski school meeting places, including the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center.
“Stonebridge offers a great location and great value. It’s just steps to the slopes and has lots of amenities, including the remodeled pool and fitness area,” says Danielle.
If you’ve opted for the Stonebridge Inn, settle into one of the 93 spacious guest rooms or suites. Save yourself from waiting in line at the rental shop the next morning by picking up your equipment at Stonebridge’s onsite shop, Incline Ski & Board Shop, that evening, which is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Ask Danielle or your Mountain Vacation Specialist to make advanced reservations for your ski or snowboard equipment.
When it’s time for dinner, grab a quick, casual bite in the Snowmass Mall.
- For tasty tacos and other Mexican fare, head to Venga Venga.
- For sandwiches and burgers, you’ll want to try out Big Hoss Grill.
- For soups, stews, salads and sandwiches, give The Stew Pot a go.
- For wings, pub food and the locals’ favorite Mexican food, stop in at Zane’s Tavern.
Day 2: Rev up your ski legs on Snowmass and enjoy an on-mountain picnic
Not only is starting off at Snowmass convenient if you’re staying at the Stonebridge, but thanks to its vast terrain options and its world-class groomers, it’s the perfect resort to ease into the four days of skiing or snowboarding ahead. With your equipment already in tow, get an early start to your first day. Before you hop on the lift, stop at Village Market on the Snowmass Mall and grab some of your favorite lunch items for a DIY alpine spread.
Rouse your ski muscles on any of the groomers off of Elk Camp, Sam’s Knob or Big Burn chairlifts. When hunger strikes, head to one of Snowmass’ three on-mountain picnic areas. One you’ll find on upper Whispering Jesse in between the Big Burn and Sheer Bliss chairlifts, and the other two are situated off of the Elk Camp chairlift in the glades along and below Sandy Park. Whichever picnic area you choose, you’ll be treated to gorgeous Elk Mountain views, fresh mountain air and warm spring sun—weather dependent.
Events and competitions abound at Aspen Snowmass during March. On Fridays at 2 p.m., throughout the month, you can catch top skiers and snowboarders perform their best rail tricks at Snowmass’ Bud Light Street Rail Fridays. If your vacation falls on March 18, don’t miss Kick Aspen Big Air at the base of Aspen Mountain’s Little Nell run. Here, 40 invited skiers and snowboarders battle it out on a massive jump for a piece of the $7,000 prize purse.
Day 3: Carve up soft snow on Aspen Highlands and enjoy a sun-drenched patio lunch at Cloud Nine
Whether it has snowed overnight or a flake hasn’t fallen in weeks, Aspen Highlands always has pockets of soft snow to discover. After you’ve geared up and fueled up, take the complimentary skier’s bus to Aspen Highlands.
In the morning, stick to eastern-facing slopes, which will soften up first. These include Hayden, Meadow and Kandahar off of the Loge chairlift. Lower on the mountain, Golden Horn and Thunderbowl make for awesome early turns. Just be aware that alpine races are sometimes in progress.
Typically, the famed Highland Bowl opens up around 10 a.m., sometimes much later if there’s fresh snow. If you’re an advanced to expert skier or rider and hoping to schuss down the bowl earlier in the day, drop in anywhere between Ballroom and B-Fore. Not only does this zone require a shorter hike, but the morning sun has been softening up this area for hours already. If you’re looking for chalky, steep goodness, you can’t beat a run right down the middle of the bowl on Ozone or Full Curl.
Be sure to make advanced reservations for Aspen Snowmass’ most popular on-mountain dining establishment: Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro. Danielle or your Mountain Vacation Specialist can take care of this for you. Located just below the top of the Cloud Nine chairlift and offering breathtaking views of the 14,000-foot Pyramid Peak, Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro is best enjoyed in March and April, when sunshine is plentiful and the afternoon sunlight is extended. While you soak in the warm sun on the open-air deck, enjoy Alpine classics like fondue or raclette or opt for lavish oyster plates. Around 2 p.m. an après-ski party typically gets going, complete with champagne-fueled table dancing.
Thanks to its southwestern orientation, skier’s left side of the resort—Olympic Bowl—always has soft, slushy snow on sunny afternoons.
If you didn’t get the opportunity to make it to Cloud Nine or you just want to tie one more on, head to the Highlands Alehouse’s sunny patio, located in the base area, for awesome pizza and more than a dozen beers on tap.
Day 4: Take in Buttermilk’s views and experience an outdoor activity in the afternoon
If you have youngsters along for the trip, you’re going want to spend some time at Buttermilk. If you’ve enrolled your little ones in ski school, they’ve probably been cruising around Buttermilk the last couple days. In the morning, plan on carving up Buttermilk’s picture-perfect groomers. Tiehack’s runs, skier’s right side of the mountain, are the most exhilarating and offer gorgeous views of the surrounding valley. Meet up with your kids at The Cliffhouse lodge for a delicious stir-fry lunch, and take advantage of the spectacular family photo opportunities with Pyramid Peak in the background.
Learn more about the new children’s ski school facilities at Buttermilk>>>
Outside the lodge, set aside a moment to sit in the adirondack chairs and take in the UV rays and the one-of-a-kind landscape in front of you.
In the afternoon, capitalize on the spring weather and partake in one of Aspen’s many outdoor activities. Here are some of our favorites:
- Krabloonik dog sledding at Snowmass.
- Cross-country skiing on 60 miles of trails between Aspen and Basalt.
- Aspen Center for Environmental Studies naturalist-guided snowshoe tour along Castle Creek.
- Snowmobiling to the Maroon Bells from T-Lazy 7 Ranch.
- Ullr Nights at Elk Camp on Snowmass.
“Ullr Nights is held at Elk Camp every Friday throughout the season and continues through March,” says Danielle. “It’s a great way to entertain the whole family with all kinds of activities, like tubing, ice skating and s’mores by the fire.”
After your full, busy day, make your dinner plans easy—if you’re staying at the Stonebridge Inn—and opt for a meal at the onsite Artisan Restaurant and Bar. Offering a locally sourced, seasonal dinner menu, bar menu and an outstanding wine list, Artisan enjoys high acclaim year in and year out.
“Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Artisan, Doc Eason cannot be missed with his nightly magic shows,” says Danielle.
Day 5: Experience Aspen Mountain by day and an outdoor concert by night
You’re never short on soft snow in the spring on Aspen Mountain, either. Following the sun throughout the day or knowing the recent snow conditions will help you find the soft stuff. If a snowstorm has recently blown in, especially a westerly snowstorm, you’ll want to head to anything that faces east, which includes Kristi’s and Walsh’s, Back of Bell Mountain and the Dumps (essentially Bear Paw through Rayburns on the trail map). If it hasn’t snowed in a bit, head to Bingo Glades (if it’s open), Nose or Ridge of Bell Mountain, Silver Queen or Corkscrew Gully.
If you’re on the hunt for spring corn snow, the Dumps are always a go-to early in the day, since they face east. Additionally, you’ll find slarvy slush in the afternoon on Gentleman’s Ridge, Face of Bell and Ruthies.
If you’re cruising around Aspen Mountain on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, keep your eyes peeled for The Oasis, the world’s only pop-up champagne and caviar bar.
“Serving Veuve Clicquot, The Oasis debuts each spring and provides a champagne experience like no other,” says Danielle. “The bar is transported via a snowcat to different hidden spots on the mountain. Guests can follow the clues on social media to find the bubblies.”
If you’re visiting Aspen Snowmass in March, it’s likely that you’ll be able to catch one of the anticipated, free Bud Light Hi Fi Concerts. On March 19, Nahko & Medicine for the People performs, and on March 25 and 26 two other unannounced performances come to Aspen Snowmass. If you’re planning on seeing one of the concerts in downtown Aspen, be sure to stop in at the historic Red Onion bar for a pre- or post-concert beverage. At the Snowmass concert, enjoy a Colorado-made craft beer at the Ranger Station in the Mall.
Now that you have some insight on how to take advantage of the best springtime experiences in Aspen Snowmass, book your trip today! Danielle and our 65+ Mountain Vacation Specialists can help you customize and book your flights, rental cars, lodging and more. They’re standing by at 800-610-8911. You can also get started by filling out a form for a free custom quote.
Latest posts by Leah Boucher (see all)
- Top hot springs in Colorado ski country - February 16, 2017
- Comparing B.C.’s Okanagan resorts to top U.S. resorts - February 15, 2017
- Jackson Hole reports snowiest Feb. on record - February 14, 2017