Zones: Aspen/Snowmass

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Aspen/Snowmass by night | Photo: Dave Amirault

Long regarded as one of the premier resorts in America, Aspen/Snowmass is more than polar bear fur jackets and swanky fox fur boots. This place is an epicenter for insane riding paired with one of the best après and nightlifes, well, ever. Host to the X Games for the past 10 years as well as the Aspen/Snowmass Open and Colorado Freeride Championships, Aspen/Snowmass can handle it all.

If you've never experienced the vibe that is Aspen, you need to hop on the first flight you can find before the season is over. With spring coming into full effect in Colorado, Aspen is the place to enjoy everything you could possibly think of for spring shred fever. Their spring jam just kicked off and every day offers something fresh to enjoy. If Lloyd and Harry can handle it, so can you.

Where the beer flows like wine (fact)

Aspen/Snowmass is located in Roaring Fork Valley, about a four hour drive southwest of Denver.

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Getting to Aspen is what makes it so great there. Located 220 miles southwest from Denver on I-70, it's about a 90% chance you never run into a lift line. Bonus! But the crew at Aspen/Snowmass has made it real easy to for you to enjoy their unbelievable terrain.

Flying there:
Getting to Aspen/Snowmass is an experience all itself. Whether driving from Denver through the surreal valleys or just taking your private jet into Aspen's airport, it's all fun and games.

Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE)
The most direct route is straight into Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) where you can catch a quick cheap taxi to wherever your final destination is. The fine ladies and gentlemen of Aspen put this handy site into effect this year that makes it super simple to fly right into ASE. Check out FlyAspenSnowmass.com for details.

Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE)
Eagle is just 70 miles away with flights offered on major airlines, permitting one-stop connections from across the globe.

Denver International Airport (DIA)
DIA is located 220 miles from Aspen/Snowmass and over 400 flights are offered into DIA from over 80 cities on 14 different airlines.

Grand Junction – Walker Field (GJT)
Riders can also choose to fly into Grand Junction, a 125 mile drive from Aspen/Snowmass

After flying in to any of these airports you have multiple options from renting a car to jumping on the Colorado Mountain Express (CME) to get to Aspen/Snowmass.

From The Airports:

  • From Denver International Airport (DEN): 220 miles west via I-70 and Colorado 82.
  • From Eagle County Airport (EGE): 70 miles west via I-70 and Colorado 82. 
  • From Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT): 125 miles east via I-70 and Colorado 82.
Terrain

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  Photo: Aspen/Snowmass

Known as "The Power Of Four," Aspen/Snowmass boasts four mountains that cover every type of terrain you can think of. From Buttermilks beginner slopes and renowned X Games course to the steep, deep runs on Snowmass, Highlands and Ajax. If you want it all, this is the place.

Aspen Mountain
Known locally as "Ajax," the mountain that has kept Aspen/Snowmass on the map since 1947 is always a good place to start. With the town of Aspen at its base, Ajax has a new gondola ride that gives you 14 min of pristine views, when it's not dumping. Exploring the mountain is super fun as there are so many fun jibs and tree runs all over the mountain. Must hit: Walsh's, S1

Ajax Facts:
Open November 25 – April 10 (2011)
Base Elevation – 7,945 ft./2,422 m
Summit Elevation – 11,212 ft./3,418 m
Vertical Rise – 3,267/996m
Terrain – 675 acres
Trails – 76
Trail Breakdown – easiest: 0%, more difficult: 48%, most difficult: 26%, expert: 26%
Lifts – 8 including 1 gondola (14-minute ride), 1 high-speed quad, 1 high-speed double, 1 quad, 2 doubles; 2 secondary – 1 quad (Little Nell), 1 double (Bell Mountain)

highlands_bowl.jpgAspen Highlands (left)
A local favorite for over 50 years this is the place to get your hike on. With its legendary "Highlands Bowl," you don't want to miss a powder day here. It's steep, fast and a shitload of fun. Depending on your ability, the hike takes about 20-25 min after a short cat ride (included with ticket purchase), but the view is damn well worth it. Either shoot straight down Ozone (48 degree pitch) or hit any of the G-Zones to skiers right. The trees there are mad fun. If you're not up for the hike, no worries, there are plenty of steep tree runs or trails to ride. Must hit: Check out Boomarang Woods and Olympic Bowl

Highlands Facts:
Open December 11 – April 24 (2011)
Base Elevation – 8,040 ft./2,451 m
Summit Elevation – 11,675 ft./ 3,559 m (Top of highlands bowl 12,392 ft.)
Vertical Rise – 3,635 ft./1,108 m.
Terrain – 1028, acres
Trails – 118
Trail Breakdown – easiest: 18%, more difficult: 30%, most difficult: 16%, expert: 36%
Lifts – 5 lifts with 3 high-speed quads and 2 triples

Buttermilk
Well known for hosting the past 10 Winter X Games, Buttermilk is actually a beginner and family dream come true. Most of its trails are easy and wide-open. But don't be fooled. The world renowned park and pipe that hosts the X Games has been voted as one of the best in the country by multiple magazines. Olympians and amateurs can attest that the 22-foot halfpipe and legendary terrain park do not disappoint. Must hit: X Games halfpipe and terrain park

Buttermilk Facts:
Open from December 11 – April 3 (2011)
Base Elevation – 7,870 ft./2,399 m
Summit Elevation – 9,900 ft./3,018 m
Vertical Rise – 2030 ft./619 m
Terrain – 470 acres
Trails – 44
Trail Breakdown – easiest: 35%, more difficult: 39%, most difficult: 26%, expert: 0%
Lifts – 9 lifts with 2 high-speed quads, 3 doubles, 2 handle tows, 2 ski/snowboard school lifts

Snowmass
Where do we start? How about the 4,406 vertical feet of purity that is Snowmass, the most in the country. This bitch has it all: 3,132 acres of terrain, 91 trails, 21 chairlifts and access to your choice of cruisers, glades, steeps, terrain parks and halfpipes, you'll be begging to come back for more. Host to the Colorado Freeride Championships this past year, this mountain will seriously test your ability to ride. Must hit: Cirque Wall and Big Bern

Snowmass Facts:
Open November 25 – April 10 (2011)
Base Elevation – 8,104 ft./2,473 m
Summit Elevation – 12,510 ft./3,813 m
Vertical Rise – 4,406 ft./1,343
Terrain – 3,132 acres
Trails – 91
Trail Breakdown – easiest: 6%, more difficult: 50%, most difficult: 12%, expert: 32%
Parks & Pipes – 3 terrain parks (Snowmass Park, Makaha and Lowdown), 1 superpipe (new for 2011, 22 feet high) and 1 beginner pipe
Lifts – 21 total with 19 primary: 1 eight-passenger gondola, 1 high-speed six-passenger lift,
1 six-passenger pulse gondola, 7 high-speed quads, 2 quads, 4 ski/snowboard school lifts (including magic carpets); 2 secondary: 2 platter pulls

General Mountain Information

Passes/Lift Tickets:
Aspen/Snowmass offers so many deals it's hard to keep up with. Always check out the latest on their website for pass deals.

Season Passes: 
Premier – Unlimited riding loaded with benefits: Ranges from $1,499 – $1,854 depending on the time of year you purchase.
Flex & Double Flex – One or two days of ridingevery week with options to add flexh days at $49/day: Ranges from $1,199 – $1,599 depending on the time of year you purchase.
Escape – Pay-as-you-go access with low daily rate: Ranges from $319 – $359 for the pass with a $39 college and $49 adult day pass price.
5-Day Classic – Five days of riding for $259. You must snag this deal at published locations.

Lift tickets run off of a Radio Frequency (Rf) transmitter. So no need to get your pass out overtime you hit the lift. Just walk right on.
Prices vary depending on the amount of days you purchase and what time of year you purchase them at. Click here for full pass pricing.

Adult (18-64): 2 day – $196 | 3 day – $291
Youth (13-17): 2 day – $178 | 3 day – $264

Lodging

Aspen has a ton of lodging option from hotel rooms and bed & breakfasts to killer condo rentals. Here are some of our favorites.

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The St. Regis Aspen Resort – baller status suggested

Sky Hotel
Located at the base of the Silver Queen Gondola, The Sky Hotel's central location makes it easy to get everywhere. With swanky rooms and a sweet outdoor patio scene you don't want to pass this place up. It rocks a fitness center, although you won't use it if you plan on shredding. Pets are allowed so bring that poodle of yours.

limelight-room.pngThe Limelight Lodge (left)
This mountain lodge is far from ordinary as they rock a killer pool and hot tub setup. So don't forget your bathing suit, or do… The rooms are some of the largest in Aspen and most offer balconies so you can "make party!" If anything, neglect to mention "The Meeting," they might run you out of the building or call the cops.

 

St. Regis Aspen Resort
One of the most luxurious spots in Aspen, the St. Regis screams high end baller status. From the heated outdoor pool to the Italian marble bathrooms and twice daily maid service, the St. Regis is amazing. Get ready to drop a dime or two.

Viceroy Snowmass
In the heart of Snowmass is the Viceroy. The location to stay if you plan on chilling in Snowmass. The ski-in/ski-out luxury resort has it all. 24 hour in-room dining, a year round pool scene with cabanas and some dank restaurants to eat at. An ideal place to scope out snow bunnies – now that's five star.

Frias Properties
If you're looking for something completely different, hit up Frias Properties. They are pretty much the cornerstone for rental properties in Aspen. They can hook you up with everything you need from a one bedroom condo to your very own slope-side mansion. Their customer service is above par making them super easy to deal with. Hit 'em up, but don't tell them we sent you…

Eats

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Kenichi Sushi Bar

Johnny McGuire's
A Snowobard Magazine favorite, we would hit this place up every night if we could. They have the best sandwiches you'll ever have in your life. 99% will agree with us on that one. Tag line: "Health Food Sucks." We couldn't agree more. Every third friday Johnnys rocks a free keg, so if you're 21+ don't hesitate to stop by for a cold one. They recently started serving breakfast too, awesome! If you've never been, start with the Marley, you won't be disappointed.

Kenichi
A local sushi favorite, Kenichi is a world class spot that doesn't hesitate to throw down a bit late night. Party down with your friends in the private Tatami room, a true rock star experience. Enjoy some of the best sake and sushi in Aspen at an all around affordable price. We dig it, so check it out if your down with fish.

Silver Queen
Recently opened, the Silver Queen is literally a hidden local favorite restaurant. We aren't joking when we say hidden. We couldn't even find it the first time we went there (see website for directions/instruction). But once you do find it you are greeted with a nice bar and dining area you can't go wrong with. They serve up some unordinary plates that are just so damn good. Try the pretzel and risotto for a starter and move on to either the Lamb T-Bone or one of their daily specials. You won't be disappointed.

Cantina
Rock some killer Mexican food in Aspen at the Cantina. If you want to throw down, this is the spot to do it. From a huge group of friends to a significant other you can't go wrong. Pitchers of margaritas and a plate of nachos is the way to go. If you like partying at a reasonable price, the Cantina is your spot.

Jour De Fete
This quaint little place is our go to spot for breakfast before we ride. They have amazing breakfast burritos at $5.47 with tax. We know that because we actually go there every day. This hidden local gem rocks a solid lunch menu too. Located right next to the grog shop, make sure to start your last day in Aspen with a burrito and a bottle of champagne. It's great for the 14 minute gondola ride!

Cloud Nine
Wow, where do we start? If you want to have the best time of your life and you don't mind spending money doing it, then hit up Cloud Nine on Highlands. Get busy with the raclette or fondue as you will need a solid base for what is about to happen. We aren't joking when we say, "you'll dance on tables with complete strangers until ski patrol kicks you out." They bump loud tunes as you dance your ass off inside or out on the sun deck. Reservations are recommended as this spot is the place to be. If you're at Highlands closing day on April 24, we recommend you stop by. We'll be there. Oh, and good luck riding down the mountain…

New York Pizza - The best late night eats
After a night of drinking with your buddies and getting shut down your should probably head to New York Pizza. Located right in the walking mall, this late night spot is a scene. Imagine intoxicated 21-30 year olds vying for a spot in line to get really good pizza. We haven't seen a fight yet, but it could be your last chance spot to get lucky. Oh, and their pizza rules!

Nightlife

The reason Aspen/Snowmass is so popular is because it not only boasts some of the best riding in the U.S. but it backs it up with a solid after party. From the best Après ski spots in the country to late night ragers, the nightlife is amazing.

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Belly Up – Winning | Photo: Dave Amirault

Belly Up
The spot to be for any show in Aspen, Belly Up has one of the best venues for any band or group that shows up. With two bars to serve up whatever concoction you can think of the Belly Up has an atmosphere that will rock your head off. From reservable tables with stadium seating to a dance floor to tear up, this place can accommodate it all. Check out their website for a complete listing of who is playing so you can plan our next Aspen concert. Crowd surfing encouraged.

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39 Degrees at The Sky Hotel

39 Degrees
Known locally as The Sky Bar, 39 Degrees is located in The Sky Hotel and has been rated by multiple magazines as the best Après spot in the country. Don't take this lightly, we agree with them. It's always packed inside while the pool and hot tub are scoured with people from all walks of life. The menu is delicious and they poor a "heavy" drink. Snowboard favorites include: the John Daily – Arnold Palmers drunk cousin, a dirty martini – vodka or gin will do, a dark and stormy, the Sky Burger, and the nachos – they're "so Aspen" with sweet potato chips and a delicious Crème fraiche. Be advised, cougars on the prowl.

escobar.jpgEscobar (left)
This place has recently stormed into Aspen/Snowmass with a unique setting that will make you want to party. As you walk into this one-of-a-kind place you are feel like you stepped into the largest airplane party of your life with a one way ticket to Ibiza. Fusing together local passion and culture with a lounge vibe, Escobar is the new place to be. Get ready to dance, and if you drunk enough, step up to the stripper pole and show us your moves.

Little Annies
Although this place has a solid menu and dinner offering, we like to hit up Little Annies for a cheap drink, or ten. Either start your hazy night off here or stop by for last call. We recommend a beer and a friend to start off. If you want to really get crazy, just order a plate of shots. It's mad cheap and everyone will love you.

We will leave you with a glimpse of Aspen/Snowmass