Location: Aspen, CO
Resorts: 42 out of 50
I ended up going to Snowmass twice. On Monday, it was so windy and cloudy that I never even saw The Cirque, the marquee terrain of Snowmass. When I woke up Wednesday to a few inches of snow and clear skies, I gave Snowmass another shot. Glad I did as it was another beautiful Colorado day.
With over 3,000 skiable acres, Snowmass is the “big one” of Aspen. Now put your hand over the lower part of the map. This is the real Snowmass. The part you are covering up is mostly blue and green runs to get people back to their condos. You’re going to find the best stuff off the upper peaks. While waiting for The Cirque to open, I rode the High Alpine Lift to the Hanging Valley. There’s a tangled mess of tree runs and steeps back here with a few rock shots if you’re feeling up for some air.
There’s a longish poma that takes you all the way to the top, although I should have skipped it and followed the hikers over to the lower chutes. After not being open for five days, ski school hogged the lift resulting in a thirty minute wait for us common folk. At the top, I went straight past the crowded headwall to the East Wall and grabbed soft turns for as long as I wanted. A few more runs and I was beat.
Like most Colorado ski towns, Aspen has a killer recreation center. With a hefty price tag of $17 (wtf?) per adult I thought I would have to find another place to shower. Then I uncovered the Aspen Rec Secret: The last hour of the day is only $5.50. Score! Shower, hot tub, lazy river, steam shower, hot tub, sauna, hot tub, shower, and I’m ready for bed.
The Cheat Sheet:
40 Carriage Way
Aspen, CO 81612
Aspen Recreation Center
130 North Galena Street
Aspen, CO 81612
|Snowfall||300 in (762 cm)|
|Top Elevation||12,510 ft (3,813 m)|
|Bottom Elevation||8,104 ft (2,470 m)|
|Vertical Drop||4,406 ft (1,343 m)|
|Area Size||21 lifts | 91 trails | 3,132 acres (1,268 ha) acres|