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Snowmass

Worlds away from Aspen in cost and character, but only 9 miles away by location – Snowmass lives up to its name with LOTS of the white stuff, when it comes to both pistes and powder.

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At a glance: • One of Colorado’s biggest ski areas • Biggest vertical in USA • Good snow record

Great for: • Ski in/out accommodation • Intermediates • Families

Worlds away from Aspen in cost and character, but only 9 miles away by location – Snowmass lives up to its name with LOTS of the white stuff, when it comes to both pistes and powder.

Snowmass Resort

Snowmass Village was purpose built as an extension of the Aspen empire in the sixties. It’s now one of four ski areas in the group - Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk being the others – all covered by one lift pass. This is the biggest of them all with 3332 acres / 243km of terrain, which puts Snowmass among Colorado’s mega resorts – to boot, nowhere else in the USA as a lift served vertical to match this one.

Admittedly, the base area isn’t as historic, classy or characterful as Aspen proper (which is nine miles away), but if you wanted those things you’d be staying in Aspen anyway. It’s the skiing you come to Snowmass for, and the fact that you can ski straight out and back to it from 95% of the lodgings is a major draw. Surrounded by some of the most spectacular summits in Colorado, the Village is a huddle of hotels and condos with shops and restaurants around Base Village and the Snowmass Mall.

Though visitors to the Aspen area tend to spend most of their stay skiing Snowmass, the other ski areas are definitely worth devoting a day to – free shuttles run around the village and resorts to make getting around easy.

Aspen county is the nearest airport, with connections from Chicago, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles among other American airports. It’s possible to drive from Denver too – the ride takes about four hours and goes right past the legendary ski resorts of Breckenridge and Vail, if you fancy taking a detour…

Stats & FAQ

Location: Colorado, USA

Established: 1967

Open: November – April

Downhill: 151 miles /243km

View our detailed Snowmass snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Snowmass snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Aspen–Pitkin County Airport (ASE)6.4 miles, 15 mins
Denver International Airport (DEN)220 miles, 4 hours
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 5%

  • 48%

  • 47%

Top Altitude:12,510ft / 3813m
Bottom Altitude:8104ft / 2473m
Resort Altitude:2087m
Longest run:5.3 miles / 8.5km
Slope Orientation:
Vertical Drop:11,835ft / 3607m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:No
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • cm
  • Base
  • cm
  • Forecast
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Web Cam

Snowmass web cams
Downhill Runs:151 miles /243km
Beginner slopes:5%
Intermediate:48%
Advanced slopes:47%
Lift Pass Price: $834 (adult 6 day)
Nearby resorts: Aspen, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Snowmass

There’s enough to fill a week’s skiing or snowboarding in Snowmass alone, but if you’re in the area it’s well worth exploring the other three ski areas too.

One of the coolest things about the slopes here is the Shrines hidden on the trees between them. The tradition started in the seventies, when memorials for the likes of Elvis and Marylyn Monroe popped up, and these days there are dozens of them hidden across all four mountains (there’s even one dedicated to the deceased grace of golf…). They aren’t marked on any of the maps, but finding them for yourself is part of the fun of it as you explore the ski areas.

If you’re learning, the ski school here is excellent. They’ll soon see you working your way down the Fanny Hill run under the Village Express and the gentle, tree-lined Funnel Bypass from the Elk Camp Gondola. Once you’re confident on Lunchline and the runs branching off it, find more greens at Buttermilk or stay in Snowmass and progress onto blue Cascade which links onto Creekside.

Nearly half of the runs here are suited to intermediates, with oodles flowing down from the Big Burn, Alpine Springs and Elk Camp chairs. Reachable via an easy hike from Elk Camp, Long Shot is the longest run at over five miles long – with markers a quarter, half and three quarters of the way down in case you need to stop for a breather.

Experts have some cracking terrain in this neck of the woods: hike over to the Burnt Mountain Glades and ski the lift-accessed runs from High Alpine and the Cirque (Gowdy’s and AMF are the area’s steepest, at 40°). For moguls, don’t miss the Powderhorn, Wildcat and Fast Draw runs from the Village Express lift. If you want to increase the difficulty, get the shuttle to Aspen Highlands for the scariest terrain in the region – the Highland Bowl here is a bucket list area for powder lovers worldwide. There are some incredible glades, powder fields and double diamonds over on Aspen Mountain too.

In the freestyle department, Snowmass has a hundred or so features across the Lowdown, Makaha and Snowmass parks. The first two can be found on the Lower Blue Grouse run and have a mix of beginner and intermediate obstacles. Snowmass Park (behind the Coney Glade chair) is expert terrain, with a 22-foot halfpipe and M and L size jibs, rails, boxes, wall rides and more. Cross country skiers, meanwhile, have 60 miles of trails.

Snowmass Apres Ski

Though Aspen certainly wins in quantity and celebrity-ready quality, Snowmass still does a stellar job at feeding and watering its visitors. The Lynn Britt Cabin is après ski central, with parties led by resident and guest DJ’s, cocktails, competitions, giveaways and a nice sun terrace. Gwyn’s High Alpine restaurant has had a 6-million-dollar facelift, with market-themed food stations, a beer garden and café. Keep your eyes peeled for the Sled Mobile, which moves around the resort making delicious sarnies and tacos. Ullrhof is a favourite for burgers, hotdogs, fries and milkshakes, and for pizza on the mountainside there’s Up 4 (which also serves amazing cookies).

The list of activities here goes on (and on, and on). Look out for the weekly ‘Ullr nights’ party at Elk Camp where you can try tubing, skating and snowbiking, or simply sit around a bonfire enjoying hot chocolate, S’mores and live music.

The Above it All company run hot air balloon rides and Krabloonik’s huskies pull sleds along on amazing tours of the valley. Snowtubing is available at Meadows and Elk Camp, and guided snowmobile tours to the Maroon Bells are also popular. If you’re a fan of fishing, try Flyfishing for trout in the Frying Pan river (apparently they're easier to catch in the winter...).

The Recreation Center has bowling, climbing, gym facilities and yoga classes and you can explore the galleries and join a workshop in the old ranch buildings of Anderson’s Art Center. Learn about mammoths in the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center, and local wildlife in the Center for Environmental Studies.

One must do is getting the bus down to Aspen for a wander around its posh shops, glamorous bars and art galleries.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Snowmass

When is the best time to ski Snowmass?

Does Snowmass do what it says on the tin with masses of the white stuff? More often than not, with top heights of 3813m, and an annual average snowfall over 7.5m in the form of glorious Colorado powder. The ski area has snowmaking on 256 acres of terrain if a top up is ever needed.

One of our favourite events here in Mardi Gras, when there’s usually an uphill, fancy dress race to Gwyn’s restaurant, a party at Elk Camp and stilt walkers, performers and a big parade at Snowmass Mall – all followed by fireworks on Fanny Hill.

Peak Dates

There’s tons going on for Christmas in Snowmass most years. Previous seasons have seen the Snowmass Mall and Base Village transformed into the North Pole, where little ones can have photos with Santa and carollers fill the air with festive music. Children can post letters to Santa at the Mall and the big tree at the chapel is usually beautifully lit. Moonlit walks often appear on the to do list, with locals celebrating at the Snowmass Chapel on Christmas Eve.

If celebrating the New Year in Snowmass by skiing one of Colorado’s biggest and best areas isn’t enough, see if the tourist office is still planning a traditional festival of light torchlight parade and fireworks.

The ski in/out nature of the resort and excellent offerings for families make Half Term in Snowmass a winner – whether it’s your first week on the snow or you’ve been skiing or snowboarding for donkey’s years.

Some of our favourite things about Easter in Snowmass are the service at the Snowmass Chapel and Easter brunch in the local restaurants – traditions we hope to continue for years to come. The lift company often do extended openings after daylight saving time, ensuring you get a full day on the snow.

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Families in Snowmass

This place really knows how to treat families. Look out for V.I.K. (Very Important Kid) mark, which represents activities and events for little ones on and off the mountains. On previous years we’ve seen sing alongs, S’mores, crafts, cookie decorating and magic shows – with much more besides. Over 20 restaurants here have special children’s menus (look out for the V.I.K. stickers in their windows) to make sure everyone enjoys their meals together.

We love that nearly all lodgings here have doorstep skiing, which makes a week with the brood so much easier. If yours are ready for ski school, the Cubs on skis program caters for tots who aren’t potty trained, while the Bears course runs for potty trained children who are happy spending more time on the slopes. Including childcare, tuition, food and drink there are half and full day options available. This isn’t your lot, with more schooling options for 5-12 year olds. Unlike the Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk areas, Snowmass also has specific courses for teenagers who’ll have a blast discovering the ski area with other teens.

GroupsGroup Holidays Snowmass

The Aspen area’s biggest set of slopes is always a good idea for mixed ability groups, who will find a range of terrain for each level. Last time we checked, discounted lift tickets were available for groups of 20 or more, and there were also offers available on ski school, rentals, and meals in restaurants like Ullrhof, Two Creeks Cafe, Up 4 Pizza, Elk Camp and Sam's Smokehouse.

More Snowmass Holiday Resources


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