Between last chair and dinner, options abound
Here’s a local tip:
Après ski doesn’t have to involve alcohol. Just think, if you skied 4-5 days a week, as many ski town residents do, you’d grow tired of raising a pint after every ski day. When the lifts close, there are so many more options than finding the nearest watering hole. Sooth and stretch sore muscles with a yoga class or massage, burn off extra energy by skinning up the mountain for a beautiful sunset or try something new like snowshoeing or dog sledding. You’ll arrive at dinner feeling rejuvenated, rather than run-down.
To stretch those hamstrings, quads, hips and all the other zones skiers and snowboarder particularly stress, get to a yoga mat, stat. The Snowmass Recreation Center, the Snowmass Club, and Daly Om Yoga all offer weekly classes in Snowmass. After skiing or snowboarding United States’ longest vertical, your body will appreciate the stretch and your mind will appreciate the transition time.
If you’ve been cruising groomers with a partner who’s still learning or kids who needed multiple hot chocolate breaks, you might finish the ski day craving a cardio blast. Of course, skinning up Snowmass can also serve as a mellow activity for those seeking some solitude. If you’re new to the concept of skiing uphill, “skins” affixed to the bases of your skis or splitboard, along with alpine touring bindings that release your heel, allow skiers to walk uphill. This popular activity sweeping ski resorts around the world allows participants access to skiing before, during or after ski areas close, fitness and some of the pleasures of ski touring without the dangers of skiing in the backcountry. Snowmass’ most popular uphill route ascends around 2,000 vertical feet to the top of Sam’s Knob and takes most people between 45-90 minutes (if it’s your first time, skin from the Snowmass Mall to the mid-station of Village Express). With the most flexible uphill policy in the area (skin anytime, almost anywhere), beginner routes, Dynafit gear rentals and plenty of local support, it’s easy for a Snowmass visitor to experience how fun going up can be.
It’s not every day, you can take a dog sled ride through the pristine backcountry. But in Snowmass, Krabloonik offers three daily dog sled rides (11 am, 1 pm, & 4 pm). Each sled, which can carry two adults and a small child, is pulled by 8-10 Alaskan Husky sled dogs and guided by an experienced musher.
Another activity to try, snowshoeing slows the pace to truly explore the beauty and vastness of Snowmass on foot. Rent gear from one of many sports retailers and venture out on Snowmass trails on your own, or join a guided tour led by an Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) naturalist.
The most indulgent apres-ski activity might just be the ticket. After all, you are on vacation. Designed by Jean Michel-Gathy, the 7,000-square-foot Spa at Viceroy Snowmass offers a selection of holistic wellness experiences, from Ute Indian-inspired therapies to contemporary beauty rituals. The spa sanctuary provides six luxurious treatment rooms—including a hydrotherapy Vichy showers room and a couple’s suite. A meditative relaxation lounge accesses an infinity pool and a soothing waterfall. The Westin Snowmass Resort also boasts a signature spa that includes tailored massages, custom organic facials, and high-altitude relief treatments, as does the Snowmass Club.
So, the next time the bar beckons after a day of skiing or snowboarding at Snowmass, consider the other options that might make apres your favorite time of day.
A former editor at Powder, Tess Strokes moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2010 and contributes to publications like The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic, Freeskier, and Backcountry.