While it’s difficult to cram all the fun that Snowmass offers into a weekend, if you only have a weekend here, we can help walk you through how to get the most out of your trip. Before we get started, there are a few things to take care of ahead of your departure that will ensure a smooth start:
- Ask your concierge/host if you’re able to check-in early
- Pre-purchase your lift tickets (for ways to save, click here)
- Book your rentals in advance
If you’re driving, an early start makes all the difference. If you’re flying, have your transportation stop briefly at the Snowmass Center on Brush Creek Road and grab groceries from Clark’s Market.
How early you are able to make it to Snowmass will determine how much skiing you can fit in the first day. First stop is the lift ticket office—it is always best to get to there early to pick yours up. Once you’re ready to ski, make your way to the Big Burn to warm up on some of the mountain’s best long cruisers. Check out the high-speed High Alpine Chair and tackle some bumps and glades. Then, ski Green Cabin, the longest groomed run on the mountain that will return you to the base.
Grab dinner and some live music at the New Belgium Ranger Station at the end of the Snowmass Village Mall, where the elevated pub food pairs with local New Belgium draft brews. Hit the hay early to catch first chair tomorrow or sign up for the First Tracks program that gets you an untouched run or two before everyone else.
While everyone is sleeping in, wake up early and head to Fuel on the Snowmass Village Mall for a breakfast burrito and a caffeinated drink. Enjoy a couple hours of solitude and fresh corduroy (or powder if you’re lucky!) before the mountain wakes up. If you hit the snooze button, don’t worry, with more skiable acreage than Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk combined and an average of two skiers per acre, there’s plenty to go around. Plus, there’s always the Noon Groom—one perfectly groomed run that remains closed until noon.
Pro tip: grab lunch early or late and ski through the lunch hour for another chance at empty slopes. A Snowmass favorite is Gwyn’s High Alpine, an iconic mid-mountain lodge that last year received a $5.9 million-dollar remodel.
If your experience allows, head to the mountain’s most exciting terrain—the steep pitches of Hanging Valley and its bowl, the Cirque (12,510 feet above sea level). You’ll find steep chutes, cliffs and pockets of powder hiding in the trees days after of storm.
Cheers your challenging afternoon with an après session around the 24-foot fire pit at Base Camp Bar & Grill, located just off the slopes in Base Village. The second story terrace boasts the best views of Snowmass Ski Area.
To maximize your last day of the weekend, pick an area of the mountain and stick to it. Traversing the mountain back and forth takes time—especially within the 2nd largest resort in Colorado! When you’re aiming to ski as long as possible and maybe drive back home in one day, efficiency is key.
Hop on the Elk Camp Gondola and grab your morning coffee and a grab-and-go breakfast at Elk Camp Restaurant. Right behind the lodge, Elk Camp lift is ideal for fast fall-line laps. Long runs like Sandy Park, Gunner’s View, Bear Bottom, Grey Wolf and Bull Run weave in and out of the trees with a consistent pitch, and the view from the top of 11,325-foot Elk Camp lift are arguably the best in Snowmass. With top-notch skiing and tons of fun, we hope your legs are tired and you’re worn out.
Come see us again soon!
A former SKI Magazine editor, Tess Strokes moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in 2010, contributing to publications like The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic, Freeskier, and Backcountry.