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.
Today, everyone is up and at em’ early. By 8 a.m., they’re all ready to roll.
Mom and Dad have opted to check out Aspen Highlands, but first, they’re going to drop off their youngest, Jon, at Buttermilk’s Hideout* for the day, so he can experience Aspen Snowmass’ second state-of-the-art children’s facility. Dad has been looking forward to conquering the famed, hike-to Highland Bowl all week, and Mom is anticipating a great lunch at the on-mountain, fine-dining and popular après-ski establishment, Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro.
*Children in the Bears program, ages three to five, do not need a reservation and can be dropped off at either Snowmass’ Treehouse or Buttermilk’s Hideout. Children in daycare or the Cubs program require a reservation and must be taken on the specified day to the specified location.
Grandma and Grandpa drop off Ramsey at the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center at Snowmass Base Village, where he meets his instructor and group.
Mom and Dad drop off Jon at the Hideout, which is a short walk from the bus stop. This stunning kiddo haven is a one-stop shop for making skiing a fun, easy process. The Hideout features ski school check-in, lift-ticket sales, equipment rentals, a kitchen for preparing meals and snacks and variety of interactive indoor forts, climbing ropes and much more!
Per recommendations from Mom’s ski instructor (from Day 1), they decide to warm up on the spacious Thunderbowl trail. Afterwards, they head up Exhibition Lift and then hop on Cloud Nine chair and cruise a couple groomers together.
Grandma and Grandpa have arrived in downtown Aspen on the complimentary inter-resort shuttle and are about to sit down to a wonderful brunch at Peach’s Corner Cafe (121 S. Galena St.). They’ve scored a patio seat looking out to Aspen Mountain, and the sun is shining.
Photo: Peach’s Corner Cafe
Dad embarks on his uphill journey to the 11,678-foot summit of Highland Bowl. He’s able to hop on the complimentary snowcat, which brings skiers and riders about one-third of the way up. From the cat drop off, he secures his skis to his back using a “bowl strap,” which he picked up at the ski patrol cabin, located at the top of Loge and Deep Temerity lifts. The hike takes Dad about 40 minutes, during which he stops a couple times to catch his breath and take in the sights. Finally, at the top of the Bowl, he whips out his smartphone to take several brag-worthy photos.
Then, he decides to ski right down the middle of the Bowl, known as Ozone run, where he enjoys steep, chalky runs.
Photo: Aspen Snowmass
Dad meets Mom at Cloud Nine Bistro for their reservation. They’re seated on the sunny, outdoor deck, which looks directly out to the 14,000–plus-foot Pyramid Peak. In the midst of a perfect day and stunning back drop, they decide to splurge and order a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. While they sip the delicious bubbly, their raclette of meat, cheese, veggies and bread arrives. Mom wonders if it could get any better.
Photo: Aspen Snowmass
Grandma and Grandpa meet their Aspen Historical Society tour guide at the Hotel Jerome lobby, for a walk-through of this unique mining-era hotel. On the tour, they learn that Hotel Jerome was built in 1889 and was the first hotel west of the Mississippi with electricity. Their tour guide also discloses a couple of Hotel Jerome’s more famous ghost stories.
Mom and Dad hop back on the bus to Buttermilk for Jon’s pick up. When they find the excited child, they’re regaled with a story of how Max the Moose skied with him! Jon is hesitant to leave the Hideout and all its interactive features and hide-and-seek-friendly nooks and crannies. He’s finally convinced at the mention of pool-time back at The Crestwood.
After grabbing a quick Aspen crud (a prohibitionist-era milkshake and whisky concoction) at the Library lounge in the Jerome, Grandma and Grandpa hop back on the bus at Rubey Park in time to pick up Ramsey at the Treehouse.
By now, everyone is in their bathing suits back at The Crestwood hot tub and pool, relaxing and playing.
The clan is showered and ready for an evening out on the town. Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa’s scouting, they’ve decided to go ice skating at the Hyatt rink. After the family glides around the outdoor rink, complete with festive lights and music, they decide to grab a kid- (and adult-) appeasing meal at CP Burger. They boys order the kids’ cheeseburger and hot dog, and the adults opt for items off the gourmet burger menu, including a couple orders of sweet potato and truffle fries. For dessert, the kids enjoy shakes, while the adults order a couple “spiked shakes.”
To help digest, the Snows walk around the pedestrian malls of Cooper and Hyman Avenues, and soon come across the Wagner Park playground, which is crawling with happy little ones. While the boys climb on the features and make new friends, the adults take in the spectacular Christmas lights that blanket every tree in sight.
Mom and Grandpa (the shoppers in the family) pop into a couple shops and art galleries. They really enjoy perusing through the renowned Western shop, Kemo Sabe. So much so, in fact, that Grandpa ends up purchasing a cowboy hat to commemorate the trip.
Photo: Aspen Snowmass
It’s getting late and the boys are exhausted, so the crew hops back on the bus at Rubey Park, Snowmass-bound.
Lights out for the boys. A movie and a couple glasses of wine (thanks to The Crestwood’s grocery delivery service) for the adults.
Director of SEO + Content
Originally from the icy trails of New Jersey, I moved West to pursue powder and a career in writing and editing. Now living in Aspen, Colo. and working for Ski.com as Director of SEO + Content, I've been able to combine a litany of skills, passions and interests. You'll find me skiing at Aspen Mountain or Aspen Highlands in the winter and mountain biking at Snowmass in the summer.