WITHOUT THE BAGGAGE
Ski trips and packing light don’t usually go hand in hand, but in Snowmass, Colorado, a traveler-friendly rental program means you can avoid the baggage grind and get right to the good stuff.
1 Start at Four Mountain Sports (packages from $64; aspensnowmass.com), where knowledgeable staff will fit you for skis, boots and boards, and offer free overnight storage and transfer service.
Online outfitter Kit Lender (packages from $98; kitlender.com) can supply everything else you need, from goggles to pants. Book in advance, and perfectly packed boxes, complete with a prepaid return envelope, will arrive at your hotel ahead of check-in. Alternatively, local company Suit Yourself (packages from $50; suityourselfaspen.com) offers complementary dropoff and pick-up service.
2 After your first full day on the slopes, soothe aching muscles with one of the Viceroy Hotel Spa’s ( viceroyhotelsandresorts.com) Ute Indian- or Nordic-inspired rituals. Also available are 30-minute “ski-in, ski-out” treatments for those who want to kick off their boots and warm up mid-run (from $95).
3 A naturalist-guided snowshoe tour with Aspen Center for Environmental Studies ( aspennature.org, from $65) is an enjoyable afternoon break from hurtling yourself down the mountain. If you’re lucky, you might catch a glimpse of a snowshoe hare or great horned owl. ACES also offers “Hire a Guide” programs for those who prefer to design their own adventure ($50 per hour, per guide).
4 This area of Colorado boasts a wealth of culture that far eclipses its size. Take in some contemporary art at Aspen Art Museum (free admission; aspen artmuseum.org), where past exhibits have included works from Julian Schnabel and Gabriel Orozco. If you leave inspired to create your own, Anderson Ranch Arts Center ( andersonranch .org) offers workshops in painting, ceramics, photography, printmaking and furniture design
5 Ski towns take their après options seriously, and Snowmass is no different. Chef Richard Sandoval’s passion for tequila is evident at Venga Venga ( richardsandoval.com /vengavenga), where he stocks more than 100 varieties. A bit higher up at Gwyn’s High Alpine ( gwynshighalpine.com) the motto is “fine dining at 10,500 feet.” It’s perched at the top of the Alpine Springs lift, and you couldn’t ask for a better view to accompany your hot toddy.
6 Cap off your trip with reservations for a “snowcat dinner” at Lynn Britt Cabin (from $85; aspensnowmass.com). Get cozy under a pile of blankets as you’re whisked up the mountain by a wintery all-terrain vehicle after the lifts close, for an intimate four-course dinner in a rustic cabin. You’ll be treated to live acoustic music that will undoubtedly include at least one John Denver song.
– Kristina Juodenas
A box of ski gear from
On December 15, the ski area celebrates its 50th
anniversary. Festivities throughout the weekend will include a day of $6.50 lift tickets (the price they were when the resort opened in 1967), and
retro-themed ski parties.
WHAT’S WITH THE FOUR MOUNTAINS?
The Aspen/Snowmass resort is made up of four mountains, each with its own distinct personality. BUTTERMILK / summit elevation 9,900 ft. 44 trails
5% expert terrain + Location of the X Games each January
ASPEN MOUNTAIN / summit elevation 11,212 ft. 76 trails
26% expert terrain + Snowmass’s original ski area
ASPEN HIGHLANDS / summit elevation 11,675 ft. 122 trails
36% expert terrain
+ Site of the popular Highland Bowl
SNOWMASS / summit elevation 12,510 ft. 96 trails
30% expert terrain
+ 3 terrain parks
All lodging in Snowmass is ski-in, ski-out. The Westin Snowmass (peak season from $220 per night; westin snowmass.com) offers an inviting fireplace, rooms with slopeside views, a ski valet service and a hot tub.