You would be hard-pressed to find any family where marked differences among its members aren’t present. The same goes for families of skiers and snowboarders—everyone has their own preferences when it comes to what they want to experience at a mountain destination, and their own level of comfort when it comes to the type of terrain they enjoy. This is why finding a ski destination that offers a wide variety of high-quality options is a sure-fire way to please every member of your snow-loving clan. That’s where Aspen Snowmass comes in.
By visiting Aspen Snowmass, you can access four unique ski areas on one lift ticket, discover the historic and cultural town of Aspen and explore Snowmass Village, which offers one of the largest collections of ski in ski out lodging in Ski Country. Much like a “one-ski quiver,” a ski designed to perform well in all types of terrain and conditions, Aspen Snowmass is a “one-resort quiver,” a destination that delivers one of the world’s most well-rounded ski vacations.
To demonstrate just how incredibly varied this destination is, we’ve comprised a four-day series of sample itineraries for a fictional family with vastly different vacation interests and skiing ability levels.
But, first, meet the Snow Family:
Expert skier originally from the East Coast. He loves to push the limits and is always on the hunt for powder stashes. Enjoys small-batch beer, good pizza and live music.
Strong intermediate skier. Prefers low-angle powder and blue and black groomers. Appreciates art and considers herself a foodie.
Six-year-old daredevil who loves going fast on his little skis (or otherwise), zooming in out of the trees and playing in the terrain parks.
Three-year-old who is on the first destination ski trip of his life. Adores animals, especially dogs.
Former avid skier, Grandma is the reason the Snow Family skis. Now in her 70s, she’ll alpine ski a couple times a year, but prefers to cross-country ski and take in the mountain-town culture.
Grandpa doesn’t ski and never has, however he isn’t getting any younger and he’s toying with the idea of trying it out. His interests include history and wine.
After enjoying an easy, direct flight from their home city of Chicago to Aspen-Pitkin County Airport (ASE) the evening prior and being promptly picked up by the Crestwood Condominiums’ airport shuttle, the Snows are ready to start their first day of their Aspen Snowmass ski vacation.
The family wakes to the tantalizing smell of bacon and eggs in their two-bedroom condo. Grandpa discovered the unit’s stocked fridge, thanks to the Crestwood’s grocery delivery service the Snows registered up for, and decided to make the whole gang a home-cooked, hearty breakfast.
Crestwood Condominiums have an onsite, ski in ski out retail, rental, tune and storage center, Incline Ski Shop.
Mom and Dad* and the kids are ready for a day on the hill and head out the door.
*Being the savvy ski vacationers they are, Mom and Dad pre-arranged for their equipment rentals so they could enjoy a stress- and schlep-free first morning of their ski vacation. While booking their trip, they added a rental package through Incline Ski Shop to their reservation, which is based out of the Crestwood. That way, they could simply walk down to the onsite, ski in ski out retail, storage and ski concierge center, grab their skis, get their boots on and walk out to the slopes.
**If you’re staying at a property other than the Crestwood, add a Four Mountain Sports equipment rental package to your reservation to take advantage of their convenient inter-mountain transfer and storage program.
Using the Crestwood’s complimentary Snowmass Village shuttle, Dad drops Ramsey and Jon off at the state-of-the-art Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center in Snowmass Base Village, where their instructors, equipment rentals and lift tickets are waiting.
Note: Families staying in downtown Aspen can register their little ones (ages 5 and up) for the Max the Moose shuttle, which leaves from the Silver Queen Gondola Plaza at 8:45 a.m and transports kids to the Hideout at Buttermilk.
Ramsey is placed in the Grizzlies program, designed for children ages five and six, in a class suited to his ability level.
Jon was registered for the Cubs on Skis lesson, which mixes early childhood education and playtime with their first taste of skiing. There’s a perfect blend of indoor and outdoor activities for a little one.
Meanwhile, Mom has clicked into her skis just outside the Crestwood and is headed to meet up with her instructor at the Village Express lift. She set a goal of increasing her confidence in powder this ski season, so she signed up for a half-day private lesson and plans to meet Dad for lunch.
Photo: Aspen Snowmass
The kids are all set up for the day, so Dad heads up the Village Express lift, hoping to test out his powder performance demo skis. After a couple warm-up laps off of the Sheer Bliss lift and a ride on the new High Alpine lift, Dad finds some steep powder stashes in the Hanging Valley zone.
Photo: Aspen Snowmass
After a relaxing morning, Grandma and Grandpa take the Crestwood’s complimentary Snowmass Village shuttle to the Snowmass Base Village bus stop. From there, they hop on the complimentary bus to the Aspen Cross Country Center, located at the Aspen Golf Course. Grandma, a bit more spry and experienced, opts for skate skis, while Grandpa decides on classic skis. After gathering their rentals and clicking in, the pair decide to try out Trail #10, a 2.5-mile beginner trail. On sunny, clear days the views of the ski areas and the 14,000-plus-foot Pyramid Peak are stunning!
Sam’s Smokehouse serves up barbecue and incredible Elk Mountain views. Photo: Aspen Snowmass
Mom and Dad meet at Snowmass’ on-mountain restaurant Sam’s Smokehouse for a filling, finger-lickin’ barbecue lunch, located at the Top of Village Express and Sam’s Knob Lifts.
Ramsey and Jon, in their respective groups, enjoy a healthy, yet, kid-appeasing lunch at the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center.
Grandma and Grandpa are en route on the free Aspen Snowmass shuttle to downtown Aspen. They get off at Rubey Park bus station and walk about one block to Ajax Tavern, located in the Silver Queen Gondola Plaza at the base of Aspen Mountain. They sit on the outdoor patio and order a seasonal salad and the famous Ajax double cheeseburger. Grandma revels in the opportunity to watch the skiers descend the Little Nell run, and Grandpa samples a couple vintages from the restaurant’s impressive wine list. Afterwards, they walk around the charming, brick-bedecked pedestrian mall and stop at the Cooper Mall visitor’s booth, where Grandpa learns about the historical walking tours.
Mom and Dad enjoy a couple runs together on the wide, spacious groomers of the Big Burn and Sheer Bliss lifts. Dad pops off into the trees here and there and even dips off into Garret Gulch to enjoy some powdery mogul turns.
The kids are collected from the Treehouse, and Mom and Dad are regaled with tales of the day. Ramsey had an absolute ball exploring the Scooter run’s tree trails and even skiing through a mining tunnel. Jon told them really liked when he and his new friends got to put on a show with puppet animals.
The foursome take the Sky Cab or “Skittles” gondola up to the Snowmass Mall for some snacks and après-ski drinks at Venga Venga. Grandma and Grandpa arrive shortly after, having taken the free Aspen Snowmass shuttle to the Snowmass Mall stop. The adults enjoy Venga Venga’s unique margarita concoctions, while the boys dig into a cheesy quesadillas.
After enjoying a couple hours of downtime, which included relaxation in the Crestwood’s outdoor hot tubs and some fun in the outdoor, heated pool, the whole gang is ready for the next adventure: Ullr Nights. This family-friendly party, held every Friday throughout the season in the Elk Camp lodge atop Elk Camp Gondola, offers live music and à la carte dining at the Elk Camp restaurant, plus a smorgasbord of activities, including snow tubing, ice skating, snow biking and a bonfire featuring s’mores and hot chocolate.
Photo: Aspen Snowmass
It’s time to retire, so all six of the Snow clan pile into a gondola car, and together, enjoyed moonlit views of the surrounding peaks as they descend down the mountain to the Crestwood.
Lights out! Another big, adventurous day is on tap for tomorrow.
Ready to book your Aspen Snowmass trip? Our 70+ Mountain Travel Experts are standing by for you call at 800-610-8911. You can also get started by filling out a form for a free, custom quote.
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.