On the heels of opening the industry-leading Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center in Snowmass, Aspen Snowmass has brought to life yet another state-of-the-art children’s facility. When Buttermilk opened for the season in mid-December 2015, so did the new 7,500-square-foot Hideout Children’s Center. Located at the base of Buttermilk, the Hideout replaces the Powder Pandas Ski & Snowboard School building and fosters playtime, learning and mountain adventure for children ages two to 12.
If you’re looking to get your little one on snow for the first time this season make sure their first experience is the best you can give them. This month, nominate them to learn to ski at Aspen Snowmass and you and your child could win a grand prize trip, including three days of lessons at the Hideout.
“Kids tend to dictate where you go on family vacations,” says Aspen Snowmass’ Ski & Snowboard School Director of Children’s Programs Sue Way, “We know that when the kids are happy the parents are going to want to return.”
The Hideout, like the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center, was designed with this in mind. The functions and flow of the building from arrival to departure are meant to work in simple and direct ways, making the experience easy and enjoyable for the children, parents and resort operations. When the children aren’t out on the snow, the indoor play features provide areas to climb, explore and develop their coordination skills in ways that will delight and entertain them. The building’s interior and exterior design is modeled around children’s commonly shared notions of hideouts, lookouts and forts, according to Aspen Snowmass Vice President of Planning and Development David Corbin.
The new Hideout is enhancing Aspen Snowmass family ski vacations for kids and parents alike, here are some of the top reasons why:
One-stop location for everything kids need
Following in the footsteps of Snowmass’ widely acclaimed Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center, the Hideout serves as headquarters for kids’ ski and snowboard school, lift ticketing and equipment rentals.
Situated curbside, the Hideout was designed to be convenient to get to and from. Parents can park in the five-minute drop-off area right across from the Hideout and check their kids in and get them situated before heading off to ski at one of Aspen Snowmass’ four resorts. Note: during X Games the drop-off area is inaccessible. The free skier’s bus also drops off right in front of the Hideout, which makes it affordable and easy to get the kids to their lessons in the morning.
Parents who opt to take advantage of Aspen Snowmass’ Max the Moose shuttle can enjoy even more time on the slopes and less time getting the kids to and from the Hideout. The shuttle picks up children ages five and older at 8:45 a.m. from the Aspen Mountain Gondola plaza and makes one stop at the Limelight Hotel before heading to the Hideout. After parents have registered their child on the first day, the child can ride with the Max the Moose and their instructors by themselves.
The Hideout also provides rental equipment storage so parents don’t have to schlep the gear around and children can stay happy and comfortable in their own shoes or winter boots to and from their lessons. When it’s time to refuel, the Hideout also serves up healthy, kid-appeasing meals and snacks.
Fun indoor play features and activities that keep kids interested
There are some variables that make learning to ski a good or bad experience for children. The little ones just learning to ski—ages two to five— typically aren’t ready for a full day on the slopes because they are prone to get cold or tired. It’s important that kids have the option to rest, warm-up and refuel when learning and the Hideout’s indoor layout and play areas provide the perfect sanctuary.
The Hideout’s indoor facilities and supervisors ensure that kids retain their interest in learning to ski or snowboard, so everything happens in a fun and safe environment.. The indoor play features include jungle gyms and bridges made from ropes, a lookout tower and cozy nooks where kids can hide and play with the new friends they’ve made.
“The Hideout is intended to feel as though it’s a product of the children’s imagination and creation, so that they feel at home and safe, yet stimulated to play inside and on-snow,” says Corbin.
It’s not only about fun at the Hideout; the play features have an educational element which teaches children about Aspen’s namesake trees (aspens) and native Colorado wildlife, inspiring them to love the mountains from an early age.
Convenience to learning areas
One of the most difficult things for young children when learning how to ski or snowboard is maneuvering in their boots and snow gear. The children’s learning area is situated steps from the Hideout’s back door. This eliminates possible mishaps and melt downs that can occur when children have to walk any serious distance in their boots.
Featuring an easy-to-load magic carpet, the children’s learning area is set up to keep the kids smiling and having fun while they learn to ski or snowboard. Instructors lead the children through colorful, themed obstacle courses and make learning how to turn and stop a game.
Start planning your Aspen Snowmass family ski vacation now! Our Mountain Travel Experts can help you customize and book your lodging, lift tickets, ski school lessons, flights, ground transportation and more. Call or request a quote today!
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com managing the website and blog content, I couldn't be happier. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.