Want the blizzards to stop coming? Not if you are an avid snowboarder or skier, you don’t! Record snowfalls mean that the slopes at Aspen, Aspen Glen and Snowmass Mountains will remain powder plus zones well into the spring season. There is still time to book your romantic respite, girl’s getaway or family festivities to Colorado and catch some of best skiing and snowboarding the area has seen in years.
Recently back from a week skiing at both resorts, this Telluride lover is now a convert to the Aspen region. What won me over? Here are just a few reasons why I recommend a ski vacation to these mountains:
Aspen Airport: It’s 15 minutes from the airport to any of the hotels in downtown Aspen. Although the airport has a reputation for closing at the drop of a hat, we found it completely awesome to land and be able to be on the slopes in an hour. Second choice is Denver Airport with plenty of non-stop flights at reasonable prices.
Little Nell is a chic boutique slope side property with the most amazing private ski valet at the base of the mountain – perfect for romance. It is home to the amazing restaurant Element 47 where the food is Michelin-star worthy and the sommelier is one of the best we have experienced in fine dining. Car service between the two hotels is complimentary (included in a resort fee) and guests of both hotels will want to visit the other for sure.
The Limelight Hotel is the more practical and relaxed of the two. It has the best après ski atmosphere at The Lounge where both locals and international guests enjoy the live music and hand tossed pizza by the fire. Romance blooms at the Limelight where rooms have fireplaces and private balconies. The humongous breakfast buffet rivals the best in Europe. Guests at both locations will love the perk of signing up to be the “first track” skiers on the mountain. We took advantage of this exclusive opportunity and were treated to a private tour of the mountain with the General Manager of Limelight who gave us the local inside scoop on where to find the hidden memorials to famous people. Literally my skis were the first tracks on several popular runs – so cool!
Staying at the Viceroy Hotel in Snowmass was like having the best of both worlds. We had a two bedroom, two bathroom condo right on the slopes overlooking a fantastic view of the mountain. It had a full kitchen, dining area and living room to boot with laundry in the unit. While I was there for a girl’s getaway, it would also be perfect for families or couples traveling together. There are fine dining, casual dining and room service options to pick from, but with the state of the art kitchens in most units, cooking in and enjoying the view is also a super idea.
Aspen Mountain slopes are an intermediate to expert skiers paradise. Steep, but groomed trails are perfect for those who want to be in all the action of downtown where you can ski in and ski out with ease.
Aspen Glen Mountain is superb for all levels of competitors. With expert trails, but also beginner and intermediate runs to choose from, this area is popular with the locals. The Glen is also home to the most infamous lunch option in all of Colorado.
Cloud 9 is a petit restaurant half way up the mountain, which serves hot delicious culinary delights and has a great wine list too boot. Caution, you are about to enter a dangerous ski zone. After the last lunch service, tables are pushed aside and eager partiers begin the dance party. Rumor has it Robert DiNero was completely legless one afternoon post Cloud 9 and needed a little help getting down the mountain.
Snowmass Mountain has the most options for novice skiers, intermediate level and black diamond lovers alike. I enjoyed every trail I skied and found they have the most options of wide-open trails of any ski resort I have tried thus far in Colorado. The new state of the art Elk Camp restaurant had the best “cafeteria” I have experienced, but it was the priciest as well. A cookie will set you back $4.50+ so let the kiddos know they can only have one per meal or better yet, stay at Viceroy and make them a PB&J in your gorgeous kitchen.
Dining in Aspen/Snowmass:
Plenty of options for quick bites and gourmet delights exist in Aspen. There are fewer options in Snowmass, but equally as delicious. Everything from pizza joints and coffee shops to fine dining is within walking distance of the slopes in both locations. We were hosted by and I highly recommend in Snowmass: Ricard Brasserie & Liquor Bar, Eight K, The Nest, Bia Hoi, and Snowmass Kitchen. In addition to restaurants already mentioned, in Aspen we were hosted by Prospects at Hotel Jerome for a memorable lunch where we had the best chicken soup I have ever tasted in their soothing dining room.
There was no time to sample the spas in Aspen, but I had the best massage of my life with Kim at the Westin Snowmass. While the ambiance is not five-star, the treatment was stellar! The Spa at the Viceroy is very relaxing, and uses state of the art techniques. I had a unique hydrating facial where oxygen was literally infused into my skin. No joke, I looked and felt 10 years younger. My skin never felt so full of natural moisture and no moisturizer was needed for weeks.
We used Four Mountain Sports and found them to be nothing short of miraculous. We were in and out without much fuss and they even delivered our skis to the slope valet without extra charge. At the end of the day, simply leave them at the base of the mountain (Aspen, Aspen Glen or Snowmass) and they will be waiting for you in the morning. They will also transport your skis to the other ski area valets free of charge. What could be simpler?
Spring break bargains can be had (For Limelight, March rates start around $395/night and go down to $225 after March 23rd) and late spring skiing can offer some of the best values of the season. With all the snow this year, you will have plenty of snow and sunshine for a trip before the lifts close on April 20th. Spring season at the Viceroy (from March 6-29 two bedrooms are $2,250 a night with the linger longer special of the 5th night free, from March 30-April 20 two bedrooms are $985 a night with the linger longer special of the 3rd night free).
Although my hotel, spa treatments and some dining options were complimentary the opinions in this piece are my own.