Can one resort be all things to all skiers? Snowmass tries. The largest of Aspen’s four ski areas, renowned for its great beginner and intermediate terrain (long cruisers, flawless grooming), offers more technical aspects too. The Hanging Valley’s wide-open steeps and endless tight glades, for instance, have begun to garner attention. “There is so much variety, it’s hard to get bored,” “terrain options for every level,” and “endless nooks and crannies to explore,” say readers. A top-notch kids’ ski school and signed kids’ adventure trails cater to young skiers—“you couldn’t ask for a better family resort.” Base lifts can get crowded during holidays, but once you’re skiing, it’s easy to find relative solitude, with “plenty of space to break the sound barrier,” in the words of one speed lover. “You can leave the crowd behind with the size of this place,” says another reader. The resort’s slow-to-develop base village has been its Achilles’ heel, but the four-year-old Village at Snowmass is beginning to forge an identity. Lodging, much of it slopeside, is a better value than downtown Aspen’s, and new properties bring a more sophisticated vibe to the resort.
On-hill lunch >> Sam’s Smokehouse turns up the heat with Texas barbecue, house-made sausage, and bread pudding with bourbon-whiskey sauce.
Off-the-path Trail >> The Hanging Valley Wall’s Upper and Lower Ladders hold great snow, offer a slew of long, varied lines, and feel like the backcountry.
What’s new >> A 254-room slopeside Westin and remodeled Wildwood Snowmass open this season. Midmountain, $13 million Elk Camp restaurant features salads, pizza, and a rotisserie. And 230 acres of backcountry glades are accessed by a gate off Burnt Mountain.