Spring in ski country means parking lot beers and grills, warm sunshine, goggle tans, corn snow and some of the best après parties. Basically, it’s the best time to go on a ski vacation and a big reason why March is one of the most popular months for ski travelers.
If you want to know one of the places where the experts head, it’s Aspen Snowmass, Colorado. And the reasons are ten-fold. Not only is Colorado known for “Miracle March” with the possibility of epic snow, but there are a plethora of events to keep you entertained. From the Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series and the Ullrhof Games to Spring Jam and KickAspen Night Skiing, Aspen Snowmass offers a packed spring calendar for all ages.
HOW TO GET THERE AND WHAT TO DO
The pro move is to fly right into Aspen for hassle-free traveling. Aspen Snowmass has a robust complimentary inter-resort bus system that allows you to seamlessly transition between the resorts, even without a car.
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, free buffet breakfast that is a step above any buffet breakfast you have ever had before, and a laundry list of amenities, we recommend the Limelight Hotel in Snowmass Village.
Once you have been whisked away by shuttle to the Limelight Hotel, settle in. Pick up your gear from ASPENX or Four Mountain Sports gear rental. These two rental spots will cart your gear between the four mountains in Aspen Snowmass, meaning you never have to worry about schlepping your gear on the shuttle.
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.
FIRST DAY ON THE MOUNTAIN
Not only is staying in Snowmass convenient, 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 on 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.
ASPEN HIGHLANDS AND CHAMPAGNE SHOWERS
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 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. Your Mountain Travel Expert 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.
Thanks to its southwestern orientation, the 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.
LONG SUNNY DAYS AT BUTTERMILK
If you have youngsters along for the trip, you’re going to 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 of 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.
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.
ASPEN MOUNTAIN AND FIVE STAR APRÈS
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 cruisy 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.
THE PERFECT TRIP
A spring ski vacation in Aspen Snowmass is a celebration of the season, blending amazing, vast terrain and uncrowded slopes with moments of relaxation and indulgence. It’s a time to take in the beauty of the mountains, soak up the warm sun, and attend après-ski parties like there’s no tomorrow. So, whether you’re a seasoned skier or a first-time visitor, Aspen Snowmass promises an unforgettable spring skiing experience that will make you want to return year after year.
SKI.COM PRESENTS THE SKI INTO SPRING GIVEAWAY
Spring is better in the mountains.We have teamed up with Limelight Hotels and Strafe Outerwear to bring you the chance to win an incredible package. Enter to win a 4-night 3-day spring skiing getaway to Aspen Snowmass.
- Accommodation: Enjoy a cozy and comfortable stay for 4 nights at the Limelight Snowmass, nestled amidst the breathtaking scenery of Snowmass Village, Colorado. With its modern aesthetic, convenient location and wonderful amenities, the Limelight Snowmass offers the perfect retreat after a day on the slopes.
- Lift Tickets: Hit the slopes easily with 3 days of lift tickets for two people. Experience the world-class trails of Snowmass, known for its expansive terrain and stunning views.
- Strafe Kits: Prepare for your skiing adventure with two full kits from Strafe, including a stylish jacket, pants, and fleece layer. Winners can choose their preferred styles, colors, and sizes in person at the Strafe showroom located in Aspen Highlands or the Snowmass Mall upon arrival.
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