The town and ski resort of Snowmass, Colorado is located in the snowy Colorado Rockies about a 3 hour and twenty minute drive west of Denver. Snowmass is just a few minutes from Aspen. It is a slopeside ski village where the ski mountain is run by the Aspen Skiing Company. It is the most family friendly of the Aspen Snowmass mountains, as well as the largest with 3,339 skiable acres and 4,406 vertical feet.
Disclosure: We were hosted on this trip by Aspen Snowmass and Snowmass Tourism. All opinions, however, are our own.
About Snowmass, Colorado
The base of Snowmass Mountain is at 8,104 feet, with annual snowfall averaging around 300″.
Snowmass is the largest family-friendly ski mountain in Colorado for families with young kids. It is one of our top five favorite ski resorts in Colorado for beginners learning to ski.
There is a wide variety of terrain, much of which is ideal for beginners and kids. The slopes are convenient to lodging. There are so many fun things for families to do in the village from ice skating and game rooms to roasting S’mores. Oh, and did we mention the food?!
As many other Colorado ski areas, Snowmass was once ranch land. In the 1960s the ranches were acquired to turn Snowmass into one of Colorado’s premiere family ski areas. A short decade later the town incorporated.
Then in 2018 redevelopment, or really just development of the base village began. Snowmass has always been an ideal ski mountain for families. But the redevelopment has brought a renewed vibrancy to the area.
Where to Stay
There are two village areas. There’s the Upper Village, which is the original area and is truly ski in ski out. And, there’s the newly re-developed base village. Most of the lodging in this Snowmass base village is just steps to the lifts. This is where you will find most of the fun family activities such as ice skating and The Collective Snowmass. Wherever you stay will be convenient to the mountain.
The original Limelight hotel is in Aspen. The Snowmass Base Village and Limelight Snowmass opened December 2018. It was extraordinarily well planned. The Limelight is a modern hotel with everything you need for a comfortable ski vacation, or really any mountain adventure.
The rooms are oversize with plenty of storage for ski gear. There’s a retro mini fridge, dishes, a microwave, Keurig coffee machine and a dining table comfortable for four people. A large balcony adds a feeling of additional space.
Breakfast is included, and is fresh and delicious. The outdoor spas are huge and the perfect place to relax after skiing. There’s a climbing wall in the hotel. It wasn’t open while we were there due to Covid. But it sure looks like fun.
The restaurant is excellent. It is in a space that doubles as a lounge for entertainment and Apres. Large windows look out onto the multiple fire pits on the deck and the ice skating rink.
Parking is underground, and affordably priced for a ski resort. Of course, once you park, you won’t need a car in Snowmass.
Top of the Village Condos by Destination Residences Snowmass
Snowmass Village is built up the side of the mountain. There appear to be a large amount of slpoeside condos, which typically tend to be our top pick as a family. We love the space to spread out and a kitchen so that we can eat in.
During a fall visit to Snowmass Colorado, we really enjoyed our Top of the Village condo by Destination Residences Snowmass. It truly was the top of the village where the street dead ended into the mountain.
The kids thought the bunks, in addition to twins in their bedroom were pretty cool.
It was spacious and I could imagine spending a week there with family.
The balcony overlooked the gorgeous mountain. And, there’s a quaint pool and hot tub also built into the side of the mountain overlooking an aspen grove.
Our ski weekend ended with the most special dining experience. So, I’ll lead with that. Plan ahead and make reservations at Sam’s for lunch, located at the top of the Village Express lift. This is an experience that you won’t want to miss.
The restaurant design is impressive. The walls are mostly comprised of windows looking out to the most incredible mountain views. Art is subtly infused throughout. A clean, modern design with impeccably set tables lets you know as you enter that you are in for a special experience.
If you know us, you know that our kids are foodies. Our lunch started with pan roasted mussels, the most delicious mussels ever. My husband couldn’t resist the steak, that was amazing. But the housemade pasta dishes, of course, were the best of all. The small portion is plenty, especially if you have appetizers. I highly recommend the Cavatelli and Rigatoni Bolognese.
I would make a trip to Snowmass just to have this culinary experience once again. All of the Snowmass on mountain dining is really good. But Sam’s is extra special.
Here diners mix and match up to six seasonal ingredients cooked from scratch every day into a delicious and healthy bowl. We dined here during Covid times, so we weren’t able to make up our own mix. I wasn’t disappointed in this as one particular mix jumped off the menu at me.
The Asian Mix was comprised of ginger miso salmon, crispy chicken, red quinoa, sesame broccoli, soy mushrooms, Tokyo mix, kimchi. The Collective Snowmass is full of art. And, this meal was no exception.
The Lounge at Limelight Snowmass
Breakfast, lunch, Apres and dinner here were all surprisingly good. The lounge is a comfortable space with a fireplace to warm up and a glass wall of windows looking out on the firepits on the deck outside, to the ice skating rink beyond.
Breakfast is included with your hotel stay. Due to Covid, we did collect our breakfast from a wide variety of to go options and bring it back up to the room. Everything was good. But I really loved the overnight oats. They were delicious, health yet hearty enough to get me through a morning of skiing.
We had sandwiches, mac and cheese and chicken fingers for lunch. Freshly made, large portions.
I enjoyed mulled wine by the fire outside for Apres. It had been a decade since I last had mulled wine (in Italy). Great way to warm up!
Fondue and crispy brussel sprouts for dinner. Yumm! The steak was good, as were the kids meals.
Artisan at Stonebridge Inn, Snowmass
For dinner try the Artisan in Stonebridge Inn. My certified organic “Ora-King” salmon, palisade peach and olathe corn relish, herb risotto was so delicious I didn’t offer to share. Our son devoured his huge bowl of mac and cheese. Then he proceeded to inform me that it was even better than my homemade extra cheesy mac and cheese.
Where to Play: Things to Do in Snowmass
There are so many fun things for families to do in Snowmass, both in winter and summer.
Not only are both the ice skating and skate rental free at this charming ice skating rink, but there’s lots of other fun available on the ice skating rink from a Game of Stones curling to disco nights, and more.
This is a really impressively designed entertainment and art hub. Winter 2020-2021 features a pop up Selfie Lounge. There’s an artsy game lounge. Plus, there’s quite the line up of ongoing events.
This beautiful display of lights and art runs from December 18th all the way through February 28th.
Ullr Celebration Nights
On select holiday nights this year, Elk Camp on Snowmass puts on a Ullr nights celebration. This honors Ullr, the Norse snow god. Your night will include a gondola ride up to Elk Camp. Here you can go tubing, snow biking, and have unlimited access to their alpine coaster.
The Snowmass Breathtaker Coaster features a 5,700 foot-long track with a total ride time of seven-to-nine minutes for an adrenaline rush as you soar through the trees of Lost Forest.
Snow tubing is also an exhilarating activity that’s fun for the whole family. It doesn’t really matter how old you are. Kids and adults alike love to zoom down the slopes on a speedy snow tube, then get a lift back up the hill for another go. Prefer old fashioned sledding? We spotted kids sledding at Snowmass Town Park.
ScholARTship: Anderson Ranch Arts Center debuts The ScholARTship Event December 7-January 22. In lieu of the annual Holiday Open House, Anderson Ranch Arts Center will host a holiday art sale this season. Proceeds benefiting Anderson Ranch’s scholarship programs.
Play in the Water: We’ve already talked about the HUGE hot tubs at the Limelight Snowmass. Don’t miss out on soaking in warm water on a snow day. Snowmass is one of several locations throughout Colorado with amazing heated winter pools or natural hot springs.
From December 16 through March 24, enjoy ice sculptures placed throughout the Snowmass Mall and in Snowmass Base Village, including a full-sized gondola, selfie snowflakes, ice animals, and much more.
Get a Treat
Pick up a Snowmass S’more, free starting at 3:30pm every day throughout the winter season, from the branded s’mores carts resembling oversized marshmallows. Get a decadent ice cream treat from the new Sundae’s in Snowmass Base Village. Or, roast S’mores over the fire at your hotel. There are plenty of opportunities to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Shopping in Snowmass
We aren’t typically big shoppers. But we did come home from Snowmass with some fun new clothing items.
I just happened to forget both my swimsuit, as well as my son’s. That prompted a quick shopping spree in the upper village. There are no shortage of retail stores. Two of my favorite outdoor brands, Patagonia and North Face delivered.
We also left with a couple of really warm, and beautiful, branded base layers and Helly Hansen hats from Aspen Sports.
Just like most of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Snowmass Colorado boasts warm summer days with cool evening in the summer. And, in the winter there plenty of snow along with blue ski days.
Wearing layers is always key. Be prepared and dress appropriately. Warm clothing for skiing will keep you warm on the cold days. Sun screen is your best friend year round.
Other Colorado Mountain Towns
Colorado mountain towns boast charm, as well as access to unparalleled nature and adventure. While all of these small towns are fantastic places for family getaways, they do each have their own unique personality. Snowmass, Colorado is one of our family favorites year round.