Open glades, sunshine and family-friendly fun in Snowmass.

Aspen is known for high-end shops and world-class dining, Snowmass is known for a family-friendly environment, terrain for all abilities and an amazing array of year-round activities.

People often refer to the entire Roaring Fork Valley as “Aspen”… but skiing Aspen is actually four separate ski resorts, Aspen (Ajax), Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk. Of these four resorts, Snowmass is the most family-friendly. We make this bold statement based on ski-in/ski-out lodging and the amenities those lodges offer, as well as the variety of terrain easily accessible from the Snowmass base area. We may have also taken into strong consideration your après ski plans and what to do with your new family puppy (if you follow us on Instagram or Facebook, you might have noticed we REALLY love dogs) so here are our suggestions to create the ideal Snowmass ski trip.   

A little about Snowmass Ski Resort:

With 4,406 vertical feet and 3,332 acres of terrain, 94 trails, 20 lifts servicing a family-friendly choice of easy greens, wide-open glades, and terrain parks. All of that terrain in brought to you with a summit elevation of 12,510′ that offers panoramic views of the iconic Maroon Bells.  

Snowmass is famous for its family ski programs and children’s ski lessons, centered at The Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center. The first of its kind in the ski industry, the Treehouse combines childcare facilities with ski school programs and rentals under one roof, giving families a consolidated and thoroughly enjoyable experience.

Our top pick for lodging in Snowmass is the Limelight Hotel Snowmass.

Photo courtesy by The Limelight Hotel Snowmass

Photo courtesy by The Limelight Hotel Snowmass

Here’s why: This brand new in contemporary, yet kid-friendly hotel, steps to the Elk Camp Gondola and Snowmass ski slopes. Offering 99 rooms (yes, they do allow your well-behaved pup), a stellar après ski venue called “The Lounge” and complimentary breakfast to fuel your adventures, what’s not to love?

The onsite “Kids Room” is stocked with toys, books, and games, to ensure your kids have everything they need.

Limelight’s slope-side location allows for ski-in/ski-out access all day long. To make ski and board storage easier, they offer a ski room exclusive to hotel guests featuring ski and board racks as well as boot dryers. Store your gear, dry your boots, or utilize our relationship with the nearby Four Mountain Sports to have your skis or boards transferred to any of the four mountains for the next day.

 Every detail at The Limelight has been taken care of so you can relax and enjoy your vacation.

Our favorite après ski in Snowmass

With the kids:

Every winter season, Aspen Snowmass hosts a weekly nighttime celebration at Elk Camp called Ullr Nights. Ride the gondola that's out The Limelight front door to an evening of live music, dinner on the mountain, night tubing, ski bikes, and rides on the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster.

Without the kids:

Snowmass may not be as well known for its wild après scene as Aspen, but Venga Venga stands out as the top spot for a tasty beverage at the end of an amazing day. Visit Venga Venga from 3–6 p.m. daily for their après ski specials.

Inspired Mountain Vacations offers a wide variety of accommodations in Snowmass and in other mountain destinations. Click here to see our destination portfolio.

 

Breckenridge, CO: A Winter Wonderland Beyond the Resort

Breckenridge, CO is known for world-class skiing and snowboarding, but there are amazing adventures to be had off the mountain as well. We’ve pulled together our favorite ski runs based on ability as well as our favorite family-friendly, off-mountain activities.

SKI & SNOWBOARD

Breckenridge Ski Resort offers world-class skiing and snowboarding and with terrain suitable for all skiers and riders regardless of ability. With nearly 3,000 acres of terrain, there is truly something for everyone.

Our favorite runs:

Family Friendly/ Beginner: Springmeier on Peak 8 is a low-angle run with access to ski school, food and beverage and lodging.

Intermediate: Duke’s Run at the base of the T-bar offers an option for moguls and a steeper pitch to get the speed and sweet turns you’ve been waiting for.

Advanced: Hop on the T-bar for a heart pumping run down Brill’s Trill or Eagle’s Nest. Take is stunning views of Gray’s and Torreys Peaks and Keystone Ski Resort.

Local tip: Purchase your lift tickets with us in advance to save money and skip lines at the ticket window.

DOG SLED

Hangout with the Siberian Huskies for a day. Dog sledding is truly one of the most thrilling ways to experience winter in Colorado. Good Times Dog Sled Tours is a great place to spend a full or half day exploring “off the beaten path” terrain in a memorable way.

GONDOLA RIDE

This free activity offers breathtaking views of the town of Breckenridge, Cucumber Gulch, the Breckenridge Nordic Center and who knows… maybe a moose sighting.  Take a ride from town (the gondola terminal is located one block off Main Street on Watson Avenue) and enjoy the sights and stay for lunch or a drink. We love relaxing at the TBar restaurant at the base of Peak 8.

BRECKENRIDGE REC CENTER

The newly renovated Breckenridge Recreaction Center  offers a sauna, steam room, lap pool and hot tubs as well as drop-in classes such was indoor cycling, kids climbing, basketball and group fitness classes.

YOGA

There are two studios in Breckenridge offering multiple classes daily. Check out Bhava Yoga, located at the base of Peak 9 at Main Street Station and Meta Yoga Studio, located on Ridge Street. If you are looking for a personalized class for your family or group, contact Love Grown Wellness, offering private, mobile classes.  

Chamonix & Mont-Blanc: The Mountains & Mother Nature - In your Face.

I’ve lived in the Rocky Mountains, nestled in the sweet ski town of Breckenridge, Colorado since 1991. During my time I’ve played all over the Rockies, Sawatch, San Juans, Elks, the Gore Range and beyond. I’ve hiked many trails with my dogs and thought, “these have got to be the best mountains in the world!” They still are fantastic, but stepping out to see the world, you realize that our planet is made up of millions of beautiful mountains.

I recently arrived in the Chamonix Mont-Blanc Valley; the mountains tower above you and stare down at you with their jagged peaks that go on forever in a seemingly endless valley.

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The first day, you just stare up at the peaks, taking thousands of pictures and wonder “how have I not been here before” and “why didn’t I believe the stories other people told me about their epic adventures in this place?”

The second day, you wonder, “can the cable car ride be that spectacular?” I’ve been on plenty of gondolas in Whistler, Jackson Hole, and Colorado; so you walk up to the entrance of the Aiguille Du Midi cable car:

1) When it opens at 730a.

2) With your prepaid ticket

3) With your backpack and warm clothes, jacket, hat, gloves, pants: even in the summer! This Colorado guy that can handle cold weather… made the mistakes of packing light for you, so you can avoid the same discomfort.

You walk up to the entrance, and the first thing you notice is all of the badass athletes waiting in line with their rock-climbing, paragliding or ski gear, helmets, significant backpacks, ice axes, La Sportiva climbing boots and more. I haven’t seen that before! The equipment being loaded on to gondolas in the rest of the world is pretty limited to skis and snowboards in the winter, and bikes in the summer.

The atmosphere is electric because a couple hundred people have incredible adventures planned for the day. There are plenty of professional guides talking to their guests in different languages, explaining their itinerary and routes. Learning to climb, the ski line, etc.

As you depart on the cable car with 59 other explorers

1) Keep your ticket out, you need it a couple of times.

2) Be the first one on or the last. This way, you can be standing next to the windows.

3) I enjoyed the left side going up on the 2nd car to the very top because you can see all kinds of people hiking and skiing crazy lines. These mountains do not have any terrain closed to the public, you can go anywhere, and people are climbing every peak in sight. Crazy!

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The views are stunning! The Graian Alps are younger than the mountain ranges in Colorado, which means they haven’t been torn down by thousands of years of erosion. They are still tall, sheer, jagged, imposing, and many even have glaciers covering them. Every view is unique and truly spectacular.

The very top of the Aiguille Du Midi cable cars lets you out on top of the world. Endless views of the Swiss, French and Italian Alps, especially of Mont Blanc, are breathtaking. Make sure to walk everywhere and take your time. I was rushed because of logistical issues and because I wanted to enjoy the complimentary breakfast. Mistake! Get up early, enjoy breakfast and coffee, but not for an hour as the French usually do.

Follow the guys with the skis and the paragliding equipment. The group I was following stepped through a small cave into the outdoors, they get their gear situated and then ski or climb onto a knife-edge to start their day. I was amazed! Yes, I’m from Colorado, and I could probably join them in this thrill of a lifetime, but the scary part is that the bottom is a long way down. Let me put more emphasis on the word LONG. Very impressive, you have to experience it.

Next, walk around the skyways, take the photo, capture ever view and moment that intrigues you. Watch the rock climbers that are nearby, take a look at the horizon, enjoy the cold air, taste the snow, do everything!

Breathtaking, stunning, beautiful, and joyful. You will find yourself with a massive grin on your face, I promise.

You are on top of the world so bring your country’s flag, do your favorite yoga pose, kiss your significant other and/or stare silently into the abyss and enjoy the wonder.

Whatever inspires you to visit this part of the world, do more than visit, experience it.

-Brian Roach, Owner of Inspired Mountain Vacations

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Spring Fever: Ski Season Isn’t Over… It’s Just Heating Up

Spring skiing is pure bliss. The sun is shining, the temperature is rising and the lift lines are diminishing after the holiday hustle. This can only mean one thing, spring is in the air. They say “April showers bring May flowers”, but before the tulips pop up, savor the days of spring skiing.

The days of T-shirt weather are rapidly approaching, so lather on the sunscreen and hit the slopes. Here are our reasons why we all need to get out there, work on our goggle tan and enjoy the snow before it’s gone.

The Temperature

Spring skiing means putting on your base layer and a shell, or maybe even just a hoodie. It means no balaclava or neck warmer, no doubling up on socks, and that sunscreen has now become essential for getting ready for the day. Most importantly, it means being warm, fewer breaks to shake off the chill, and more turns for you.

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The Crowds

We’ve all been there after a long cold winter, the second you see the sun and get to take your jacket off, you’re done with winter. Some folks make their way to the golf course, others are mountain biking… that means the lift lines plummet. Tickets prices drop, the conditions are great, what’s not to love?

The Après Scene

Après skiing is one of the best parts of skiing any time of the year. Hanging out at the bottom of the mountain, having a drink or two with your friends and unwinding after a day on the hill is priceless. Stress melts away as relax with your favorite libation in-hand, gazing up at massive mountains and epic lines you’ve just conquered.

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The Atmosphere and Special Events

People that are skiing in the spring are there for the love of it! There are parties and events including retro days, pond skimming, slush cups, Spring Fever, Mardi Gras parties… the events and on/off mountain activities are endless.

So, head out for a ski day in the sunshine. Have a cold beer on the deck and work on your goggle tan. Take in the final days of an amazing ski season before summer hits, and you are left only hoping next season will be as amazing as this one.

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