SNOW­MASS, COLORADO

WITH­OUT THE BAG­GAGE

Lonely Planet Magazine (US) - - Easy Trips -

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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

(from $1,145).

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

Kit Lender

Nifty 50

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

S TAY

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.

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