In the winter of 2018 the town of Snowmass debuted its brand new $600 million Snowmass Base Village development – a move which makes it a serious stay-and-play destination to rival Aspen.

When it comes to acreage and varied winter terrain in the Roaring Fork Valley, Snowmass ski resort has long been the winner, hands-down. It happens to be the largest of the four ski areas owned by Aspen Skiing Company in the region. But when it came to dining, lodging and entertainment, it was always Aspen that held the cards, no matter which slope on which you spent the day carving turns. That’s all changed now.

Best of all? Snowmass is more affordable than Aspen and caters to families, making this ski town the perfect choice for anyone looking for a more realistically affordable winter holiday.  

a family of four skis down a powder-white ski run in multi-colored jackets
Snowmass has the most acreage and varied winter terrain as any of the other ski resorts in the Roaring Fork Valley © Tyler Stableford / Getty Images

What’s New

Limelight hotel

The brand new Limelight Hotel Snowmass anchors the new Base Village, from which the Village Express, Elk Camp Gondola and Sky Cab ski lifts all depart to the Snowmass ski area. It’s a family-focused, affordable, yet luxe property that loves your four-legged fur-babies too.

The children’s play area and an 5-story indoor climbing wall keeps kids busy when they aren’t learning to ski, and a couple of large onsite hot tubs are perfect for an adults-only soak after a day on the slopes. 

There is even a free ice skating rink next door to the hotel complete with complimentary skate rentals from a vintage airstream trailer.

The Collective Snowmass

The Collective Snowmass is another addition to the Base Village, just a few steps from the Limelight. It is an indoor venue with an art gallery on site and a large lounge area that features entertainment, speakers and live music throughout the season.

Kids love the Collective Game Lounge where they’ll find- neon foosball, classic arcade games, artistic ping pong and a Ziegler reservoir-shaped ball pit. And adults can après at Moxi Bar, which serves inventive cocktails, a curated craft beer list and renowned wines. 

Onsite dining includes MixSix – a new fast-casual concept restaurant by award-winning Aspen chef Martin Oswald. You mix and match up to six seasonal ingredients cooked from scratch every day into a healthy meal of your creation. On Sundays its does brunch with a Bloody Mary bar. 

Two men nordic ski across a snowy meadow in front of a log cabin in the snow
Nordic skiing is fun and a great way to get the family outside all day © John P Kelly / Getty Images

Try Cross Country Skiing

Cross country skiing is another, more affordable winter sport option that is also a hell of a good workout. With over 60 miles of Nordic trails, Snowmass is one of the largest free groomed cross country ski systems in North America. The only thing you’ll need to pay for, if you don’t have it already, is gear rental.  

Local Secret: Ski Uphill at Snowmass All Day for Free

If you are willing to put in the work and get yourself up the mountain without using a chair lift, you are free to ski down all day long. Called “uphilling,” this sport involves hiking up designated routes on the mountain using skis or on a split board with skins (a special covering on the bottom of the ski that allows it to glide uphill and prevent slipping backwards) and specialized bindings. 

Snowmass Ski Area lets you uphill all day for free – you can even rent gear (although that costs money). Note the best time to go is early in the morning before the lifts open to catch the fresh snow before everyone else.

The gondola runs up from the main village at Snowmass at sunset
Don't ski? Stay cozied up in the lodge, explore the village, or try one of our other suggestions © Josh Hild / Getty Images

What to Do if you Don’t Ski

Don’t ski or snowboard? No problem! The newest attraction on the mountain is the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster. It’s an elevated roller coaster track that slides you down the mountain on sleds rolling up to 28 miles per hour through forested terrain. It is just one of a few non-ski focused offerings around the village. 

If you’d rather be warm and inside, then check out the nearby Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Founded in 1966 Anderson Ranch seeks to be a destination for making art and creating dialogue. Set against an inspiring natural backdrop, it is a hub of creative energy and activity for adults and children. There is  a host of interactive art workshops, art après series on Tuesdays, lectures by today's most influential artists and curators, weekend classes and children’s art workshops.  

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