The four mountains that make up Aspen Snowmass are the gold standard for American skiing. Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass each have their own character, which is why most skiers visit a different mountain each day of their visit. The Dumps on Aspen Mountain or the glades beneath Snowmass’s High Alpine Lift are a must when it’s snowing, while the breathtaking descent of Highlands Bowl or the empty, perfect groomers of Tiehack beg for attention when the sky is blue.
If the renown nightlife stretches on too long, at least one mountain will have a daily noon groomer on the weekends, keeping the corduroy fresh for those who hit the snooze button too many times. The world-class ski school can get the kids carving at Buttermilk or Snowmass while Mom and Dad can enjoy the decadent pleasures of top-to-bottom gondola laps or the infamous 2:30 p.m. seating at Cloud 9 Bistro, all before a perfect family rendezvous for dinner in town.
Aspen is just far enough from the ever-growing Colorado Front Range that it remains noticeably quieter than every ski resort on I-70, even during peak holidays. First-time visitors who expect a snobby culture are always delighted to find welcoming, nearly European hospitality throughout the upper Roaring Fork Valley, and while not cheap, the skiing and lodging prices are at (and even below) some of its rival Colorado resorts. Add in Ikon and Mountain Collective options, unbeatable events including Wintersköl and the Winter X Games, plus an ever-expanding list of premier dining, lodging, and culture outlets, and there’s no place in the U.S. that can come close to this iconic destination. Put it on the top of your list for places to visit this season, and we bet it’ll stay there for every season to come.
No. 3 in the West: Aspen Snowmass, Colo.
Aspen Snowmass Mountain Stats
Aspen Snowmass Pass Info
Aspen Snowmass is on the Ikon Pass and the Mountain Collective. Ikon Pass holders get 7 at the resort. There’s no access included on the Ikon Base Pass, but pass holders can add 5 days at the resort for $200. Mountain Collective pass holders get 2 days at the resort and 50 percent off additional tickets.
From lodging and and dining to off-slope activities and local tips, here are the SKI editors’ picks for what to do in Aspen Snowmass, Colo.
There’s a good amount of upgrades and news happening across the four mountains this winter, but the biggest is the base area transformation at Buttermilk. There’s a new 9,000-square-foot skier services lodge with restaurant, bar, patio, rental shop, ski school, and other vital services. The building is fully electric-powered.
On the events side, World Cup racing returns to Aspen Mountain after a five-year hiatus. The Audi FIS Ski World Cup will take place on March 3-5, 2023 with two downhills and a super G.
Finally, a new bus service, Roaring Fork Express, will offer daily scheduled shuttles between the resort and Denver International Airport as well as charter service for groups.
Utilize the towns down valley to cut costs. Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs offer a number of reasonably priced but excellent accommodations and restaurants, plus they are all connected to Aspen via the efficient and fast VelociRFTA-BRT lines.
Sam’s, at the top of Snowmass’ Village Express, offers upscale Italian cuisine that’s so good, you might think you’re skiing in Cortina.
On a powder day, skip hiking the entire Highlands Bowl and drop in on Flip’s Leap or Hyde Park. Snow will be freshest on cold mornings and is commonly overlooked by summit-hungry skiers.
Buttermilk holds its own with kids and parents looking to improve, plus the summit has the best lift-served views of the jagged Pyramid Peak.
WinterSköl (begins Jan. 12, 2023) features ice sculptures around Aspen, fireworks, and a canine fashion show with dogs who could compete at Westminster.