If you are one of the fortunate few to have ever experienced a true powder day, you’re probably having flashbacks to memories of bottomless turns, white rooms, and face shots. With a little preparation and planning, an epic powder day is anyone’s for the taking. Follow this plan of attack to get the most out of your powder day at Snowmass.
Prior Preparation Prevents Pitiful Powder Days.
Use these 3 steps to make sure something simple doesn’t hold you back.
1. Watch the Weather – The guys over at aspenweather.net have their fingers on the pulse of how weather plays out in Snowmass. Watch the forecast daily to make sure you’re prepared for when the snow hits.
2. Get Your Skis or Board Waxed – Sticking to the snow while your friends and family are flying around whooping and hollering really kills the vibe. Drop your gear off at any one of the several ski shops in Snowmass and an overnight gear tech will have you ready to go in the morning. For deals and discounts at participating ski shops, check out our gear specials page for the latest offers.
3. Transportation – If you’re fortunate enough to be staying slopeside (which is likely in Snowmass, where 95% of lodging is ski-in/ski out) walk out your front door and start making fresh tracks. Staying elsewhere in the Village, or down the road in Aspen? Definitely take advantage of Town of Snowmass Village’s free bus service to get you to the slopes if you are staying on the bus line. If you must drive, know that slopeside parking is best at the Base Village Parking Garage($) or Two Creeks($). Free parking is available at the Rodeo Lot on Brush Creek Road and the Intercept Lot on Highway 82, with free shuttle service to the Snowmass Mall.
You’ve managed to get to the mountain early. You’ve picked up your gear with a fresh coat of wax. There are piles of untouched snow coating every surface. By this point you should be excited and ready to go!
1. Get on the lift – If you are at Two Creeks, jump on the chair and transfer to Elk Camp or Alpine Springs. If you are at the base you have two options, Elk Camp Gondola or Village Express. As Aspen Sojourner uncovered, “Patrol moves from west to east (i.e., from Garrett Gulch to the Cirque to Hanging Valley) doing control work, so roughly follow their timing into freshly opened terrain to reap the biggest rewards.”
a. Elk Camp Gondola – fastest access to Elk Camp Chair, Alpine Springs, High Alpine. This area provides the best access to the expert terrain of the Wall.
b. Village Express – fastest access to Sam’s Knob, Campground, The Big Burn and The Cirque. This area is the local’s favorite because it’s easy to do laps on long, steep runs like Wildcat and find untouched powder all day long in the trees on the Burn and Alpine Springs.
2. Stick to an Area – Moving from lift to lift could mean traversing if it’s not done with some strategy. Try sticking to an area or specific chair lift. This allows you to session laps and get to know how to best enjoy a specific part of the mountain.
3. Pace the Day – It’s easy to get caught up in all the bottomless turns, but an 8:30am lift load will make the hardest charging skiers a little tired after a few hours. You’ll have to stop at some point, so why not break early? Avoid the lunch lines and get back out quick to keep slaying powder while everyone else is taking a long lunch.
4. FOOTIE FERDA BOYS! (and Ferda Girls!) – Photos or it didn’t happen! Be mindful of your phone. You could lose it in the snow. Or worse, miss out on the experience if you obsess over getting the shot. Stick to only 2 or 3 photos. Try for an action shot, a landscape (if it’s clear), and maybe a Snapchat or Instagram Story or two. It’s a delicate balance between sharing the experience and actually experiencing the moment.
1. Post that footie! – Don’t waste your precious powder turns posting to social media. That’s for when the legs are tired and you need a break. Get those photos up at the end of the day. Tag your friends. Tag @snowmass, and bring your #game.
2. Après Is Essential – There are countless ways to après. Hot tubs, massages, hot cocoa…but the go-to standard is a beverage (or two) at some of Snowmass’ finest establishments, while you tell tales of endless face shots.
• Venga Venga – for thumping music, tequila shots and a bit of dancing, this is your spot.
• The Ranger Station – for some of New Belgium Brewing’s finest beers with a cozy, slopeside ambiance.
• Base Camp Bar & Grill – grab a cold one and check out the second floor deck for a great view
• Zane’s – if you want to buy your liftie a shot for that powder stash tip, this is where you’ll find her.
Unless you live in the mountains, powder days are a matter of luck and timing. The buzz of excitement from fresh snow is enough to get anyone to forget a few steps and compromise their day. Prior preparation, thoughtful enjoyment and sincere celebration will ensure your Snowmass powder day is an experience to be shared and remembered for years to come.
Written by Jon Delk