Ok, so you’ve decided to plan an Aspen ski vacation. Where do you start? Aspen is world renowned for many reasons. But, in order to make sure your time is well spent, it is important to understand a few things. Before diving into the details, we should be clear that Aspen is a town and “Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort” is the official name of the resort. We may refer to it as “Aspen” or “Aspen Snowmass” throughout the rest of the article…
Glitz, glam, and a passion for skiing
Lots of people think of “glitz and glam” when it comes to Aspen as a ski destination. And this turns a lot of people away from the destination before they even step foot into Aspen. Sure, you have the glitz and the glam. You have the people who spend more time planning their outfits than their ski lines. But you also have the locals with passion. Passion for doing the thing that everyone comes here to do: ski! Many of the local Aspen diehards have been skiing these mountains for 40 years.
These people are just SO passionate about the laidback lifestyle, the skiing, and simply enjoying life for what it is. They also know exactly when the sun is going to hit the Bingo Glades in the afternoon to make those turns super soft and enjoyable, even without a fresh dump of snow.
Suggestion: try to get to know at least one of the locals while riding the gondola up A-Jax on the first day of your Aspen ski vacation. You won’t regret the stories or the insider knowledge you’ll gain in that 5-10 minute ride up the mountain.
Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort
The resort is called “Aspen Snowmass” for a reason. It’s actually one resort with four separate mountains that make it up:
- You have Aspen Mountain (or “Ajax” as the locals call it), with the town of Aspen lying in its shadows. There is no beginner terrain here. I repeat, there is NO beginner terrain here. Only blue and black trails.
- To your immediate skier’s left, you have Aspen Highlands, the locals’ secret. This is where people come from around the world to hike the Highland Bowl. This is also where people dance on tables and spray champagne over lunch at Cloud Nine, giving skiers an authentic European Alpine vibe with no passports required.
- Next is Buttermilk, which offers the perfect playground for kids and beginners to learn the basics before graduating to one of the surrounding mountains. Ironically, this is also where the world’s best freestylers come to compete yearly in the X Games.
- Finally, Snowmass is a beast. You have more terrain here than the other three mountains combined! What’s nice about Snowmass is while there is so much terrain, it’s also widely varied. Whether you are looking for steeps, glades, bumps, or groomers, you’ll find it here. This is also where you’ll find Snowmass Village and ski school (one of the best ski schools around).
Don’t plan on skiing between the mountains
Unfortunately, you cannot ski between the mountains. They are four separate ski areas, all accessible by one Aspen Snowmass lift ticket. When considering your next Aspen ski vacation, the logistics are important. To get between the four mountains, you can either drive or take the super convenient (and free) bus system that runs regularly between them. The longest distance from one end to the other (A-Jax to Snowmass) is about 20 minutes by bus.
Most people utilize the bus system because it truly is so convenient. Plus, you might run into one of those local Aspen diehards and learn a thing or two…
The best luxury ski hotels at Aspen Snowmass
Ok, all of that is great to know when planning your next Aspen ski vacation. But where should you stay? It depends what you are looking for. For luxury travelers, you basically have two options: stay in the town of Aspen or stay in the Snowmass Village.
This is Aspen’s only Forbes Five Star, AAA Five Diamond, ski-in/ski-out property. This is one of the most modern and luxurious hotels in Aspen, and offers guests a very cozy, residential feel. When you say you are staying at “The Nell”, it turns heads!
Located right next to The Little Nell, this modern day mountain chalet and member of the W Alpine Escapes collection is the only other true ski-in/ski-out luxury hotel in Aspen.
Located about a 5-minute walk from the base of Aspen Mountain, the St. Regis welcomes guests with one of our favorite lobby’s in Aspen. Imagine a warm mountain lodge feel with the elegant western touches you would expect of a St. Regis in the Rockies.
This is an Aspen OG (built in 1889), about a 10 minute walk from the base of Aspen Mountain. It has the most unique character out of any of the properties referenced in this article.
The newest addition to the Limelight Hotels collection and second of its kind in the Aspen Snowmass area (the first being in Aspen), this property is one of the best all around family friendly luxury ski hotels out there.
For guests who don’t need all of the family friendly amenities of Limelight Snowmass, the Viceroy provides one of the best full service luxury hotel offerings in Snowmass.
Powder time is priceless
When planning your next Aspen ski vacation, it is important to understand the lay of the land. Make note of the pointers shared in this article and set yourself and your travel companions up to make the most of your time on the mountain. After all, life is too short for mediocre ski vacations!
There’s a lot of pressure on your precious time away, and it’s hard to be sure you’ve made the right choices and covered all of the details. Luxury ski travel with Journey Bound will put an end to that anxiety and make sure your time on the mountain is well spent.
Schedule a call today to discover a new level of luxury ski travel!