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The Perfect Storm - Book 4 Nights Of Lodging In Aspen And Get The 5th Night, Lift Tickets And Equipment Rentals For Free. Travel Between 1/1/12 - 2/9/12. Book By 12/16/11 At MountainReservations.com
The Perfect Storm - Book 4 Nights Of Lodging In Aspen And Get The 5th Night, Lift Tickets And Equipment Rentals For Free. Travel Between 1/1/12 - 2/9/12. Book By 12/16/11 At MountainReservations.com
Aspen Ski Resort Profile
Summary: When people say “Aspen”, it is easy to conjure up images of beautiful people in $2,000 ski suits who zipped over for the day from L.A. While those glamour skiers exist, the loose term of Aspen usually refers to the Aspen area, home to four quality ski mountains and two unique downtowns. The Aspen area offers something for everyone, and ranks among the best in terms of offering things to do for the non-skiers in the family.

The two major skiing operations in the Aspen area, Aspen Mountain and Snowmass, could easily be rated as two different resorts, but we chose to evaluate them as one since they are operated jointly and in such close proximity to each other. SKI Magazine actually ranked Aspen their #3 overall resort in 2007, and Snowmass #4. High accolades for this world-class area.

While the town and mountain of Aspen get all the glory, Snowmass may actually be the better family choice. Snowmass is 10-15 minutes from Aspen, has its own shopping and dining options, and is accessible to downtown Aspen (where the better dining and nightlife are) via a free shuttle system.

Lift tickets from Aspen Ski Company are actually good for Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, and smaller Buttermilk. You don’t need to commit to one of the resorts for your entire vacation. Just know that Aspen Mountain offers the better expert terrain, more of the “glitz” factor, and the swanky après ski nightlife. Snowmass, on the other hand, provides a more subdued family environment with much more intermediate-level skiing. With nearly 3,100 acres of terrain, however, Snowmass actually offers more total skiing area than Aspen, just not as much expert terrain.

Lodging Choices: The best ski-in, ski-out options are at Snowmass, but both Aspen and Snowmass offer a wide array of lodging choices. Aspen is know for high prices, and you will find slightly better deals in the Snowmass area. Given the free shuttle service, where you stay isn’t as big of an issue as it might be in some other areas without the transit system.

Terrain / Highest Elevation / Vertical Drop: 4,800 acres (Aspen and Snowmass combined) / 12,500 feet / 4,400 feet

Activities for Non-Skiers: Aspen is one of the best destinations in North America if someone in your group prefers not to ski. Aspen offers an abundance of shopping, great restaurants, and amenities often found only in upscale communities. Snowmass also offers shopping and eating choices. A non-skiing visit to Aspen will still result in a traveler feeling like they got away from it all to a great mountainside destination.

Ski School. Ages 2 ½ to 15 can participate in group or private lessons at Snowmass or Buttermilk. Aspen Highlands requires children to be at a level 5 in order to join in the group lessons.

Day Care: The Treehouse Kids Adventure Center at Snowmass, new this year, provides daycare for ages 8 weeks to 4 years for both half and full day. If you are willing to spend $350 per day or more, you can have private “nanny care”, with the same individual watching your child all day. The new Kids Center offers a very active indoor environment for children.

Getting there: The Aspen / Pitkin County airport just may be offer the shortest airport-to-ski lift distance of any US resort. The airport is situated in between Aspen and Snowmass, no more than 10 minutes from either. United flies to Aspen from Denver, Chicago and LA. Delta flies direct from Salt Lake City, and US Air flies direct from Phoenix. The Pitkin County airport, with the number of airlines serving it and the high volume of flights, is on the verge of being considered a major airport by our standards.

Aspen is a 4 hour drive from Denver International Airport.

Insider Tip: Even if you stay in moderately priced accommodations, the swanky hotel restaurants and bars can be a great place to grab a nice breakfast or, if Mom and Dad can find a sitter, after dinner drink. It is a great way to get the upscale feel of Aspen without paying the higher daily lodging prices.