Photo: Aspen Snowmass
Snowmass’ convenient layout, state-of-the-art facilities and children’s programs and ample kid-friendly activities and attractions make it one of the world’s best destinations for a winter family getaway. Enter to win a 4-night, 3-day family ski trip→
he lodging is super convenient to ski school, and it has the most ski in and out or slopeside accommodations in Colorado. There’s a wide variety of lodging from affordable hotels to luxury condos.
says Leslie Shor, Ski.com Mountain Travel Expert
With the help of Leslie, we compiled an itinerary to help you capitalize on the best family experiences in Snowmass.
Mountain Travel Expert Since 1994
Day 1: Check in to your accommodations and grab a bite in Snowmass Mall
Whether you’ve opted for lodging in Snowmass Mall/Upper Village or Snowmass Base Village, you’re just a quick click-in and schuss to the nearest lift. Snowmass has a lot of excellent options for families, but if you’re looking for kid-appeasing amenities, like a slopeside pool, home-away-from-home space and kitchens (perfect for large families traveling together), and convenience to Snowmass’ best shopping and the Ice Age Discovery Center, put Timberline Condominiums top of mind.
Your youngsters will love après-ski pool time and so will you, as you relax in the hot tub.
When it’s time to grab some nosh, hop in the complimentary Timberline shuttle or enjoy the short walk to the Snowmass Mall for some lip-smacking ribs or brisket at Slow Groovin’ BBQ.
Day 2: Check the kids into ski school or childcare and explore Snowmass
Kids love skiing at Snowmass thanks to the gentle beginner areas, like the base area Fanny Hill run and mid-mountain Elk Camp, ski school characters and incredible services. The Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center is a 25,000-square-foot, forest-themed facility located in Snowmass Base Village, which that provides the perfect basecamp for all the fun, i.e. hot chocolate breaks, lunch, playtime, arts and crafts, ski and snowboard rentals and childcare.
Children under the age of six meet at the Treehouse in the morning and then are placed in specialized ski or snowboard group lessons based on their age and ability level. For infants (8 weeks and older) and non-skiing children under four, the Treehouse provides Colorado, state-licensed child care with a licensed registered nurse on staff.
Once you’re sans bambinos, make your way up the mountain. Leslie recommends parents go to…
The Big Burn, of course. Wide, groomed, blue runs and some fun tree skiing as well. And, of course, Up for Pizza restaurant at the top is a fav with the kids [if they’re in tow].
Day 3: Experience Elk Camp: a high-alpine hub for family fun
On your second day on the slopes, opt for a half day or pick up the kids a little early, so you can enjoy some family time on the mountain. Offering snow tubing, snow biking, ice skating, dining and the all-new Breathtaker coaster, which will open December 2017, Elk Camp has something for everyone in your brood. Elk Camp is accessed via the Elk Camp Gondola from the Base Village. It’s also easy to ski to via the family-friendly blue run, Turkey Trot.
You can ski in the morning, have lunch at Elk Camp restaurant, and run the mountain coaster in the afternoon.
If you happen to be at Snowmass on a Friday, don’t miss Ullr Nights, which is held at Elk Camp from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and features all of the aforementioned activities, plus a big bonfire and s’mores.
Day 4: Discover tree trails, followed by dog sledding
Whether your kids are skiing with you or in ski school, they’re going to revel in the opportunity to experience Snowmass’ famed tree trails in the Lizard Lodge/Dawdler area. Here, the little ones can play in a wooden fort, ski under tunnels and bridges and search snow-covered aspen groves for hidden characters and educational signage. While you’re on that side of the mountain, youngsters can test out their speed skills at the Children’s Race Arena.
If you’re looking for a unique, après-ski family experience, look no further than Snowmass’ Krabloonik, which offers dog-sled tours.
Enjoy an exciting sled ride through the woods plus a great lunch [or dinner] upstairs in the original cabin. They also offer twilight rides after skiing.
Day 5: Play in the park and visit the Ice Age Discovery Center
Year in and year out, Snowmass’ terrain parks are consistently ranked in the top of their field by Transworld Snowboarding Magazine, and that includes options for youngsters and beginner park skiers or riders. Offering more than 100 features across three parks, including a 22-foot Zaugg-cut Superpipe, Snowmass will more than please any jibster teens. The little ones one love playing around in the Lowdown Park, situated on Lower Blue Grouse Trail, which features extra small to medium table jumps and a beginner halfpipe.
After you’ve had your fill of gravity-defying thrills, make your way down to the Snowmass Mall for an interactive afternoon at the world-renowned Ice Age Discovery Center. In 2010, Snowmass was put on the international paleontology map. During the excavation of Ziegler Reservoir, construction workers unearthed what would turn out to be nearly 6,000 Ice Age fossils, including mammoths, mastodons, giant ground sloths, giant bison, deer, camel, horses and more. The Ice Age Discovery Center is where you and your brood can learn more about the dig, see some of the fossils and meet paleontologists from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
When dinner time rolls around, make sure you have something a little special planned to celebrate your last evening in Snowmass.
Il Poggio bar – great pizza!
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.