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Aspen Snowmass: A Huffington Post Travel Ski Resort Guide

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A skier cuts into some fresh powder at Aspen Mountain, part of the Aspen Snowmass complex.
A skier cuts into some fresh powder at Aspen Mountain, part of the Aspen Snowmass complex.

Aspen Snowmass in Colorado is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Aspen Snowmass, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.

The Basics

Aspen Snowmass is a giant complex of four mountains located just outside the town of Aspen in west-central Colorado. Aspen/Pitkin County Airport is only six miles away from Snowmass Village and is easily the most convenient airport, while the larger Denver International Airport is about four hours east of Snowmass. The quadruple peaks at Aspen Snowmass are the main draws of the resort. With one ticket, skiers and snowboarders can experience four different mountain terrains.

The Mountain

The four peaks at Aspen Snowmass are named Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Each mountain has its own open and close date, but the season generally runs from late-November to mid-April at Aspen Snowmass. With a peak elevation of 12,510 feet, Snowmass is the tallest peak with the longest run of 5.3 miles. It also has the largest vertical rise in the nation, at 4,406 feet. Annual snowfall at Aspen Snowmass ranges from about 200 inches at Buttermilk to about 300 inches at Snowmass and is generally fine powder, although the resort also has snowmaking capabilities.

Trails And Lifts

Aspen Highlands has the largest number of trails at 118 and the highest percentage of expert runs at 36 percent, but the fewest amount of lifts at five. Snowmass offers 21 lifts of all kinds, from high-speed quads to carpets and gondolas, to service its 91 trails. Buttermilk is the easiest mountain, with no expert runs and a summit elevation of just 9,900 feet. Overall, the resort has five terrain parks, with Snowmass offering three and Buttermilk having two, including a 22-foot superpipe and an X Games slopestyle course.

In The News

Aspen Snowmass is a year-round destination that hosts numerous events, including high-profile ones such as the ESPN Winter X Games at the base of Buttermilk Mountain. Aspen Snowmass has also hosted the TTR World Snowboard Tour for seven years running. The women's FIS Alpine World Cup Ski Racing call Aspen Mountain home annually. The nearby town of Aspen hosts the prestigious Aspen Film Festival every autumn.

Cost

Pricing for lift tickets at Aspen Snowmass can vary widely based on whether guests buy tickets in advance, if they buy a package and what time of year they intend to visit. A standard adult full-price lift ticket costs $206 for two days but can drop as low as $146 for a late season seven-day advance purchase. Ski and snowboard lessons are offered for $139 for an adult group walk-in rate or up to $3,100 for five full days of private lessons. Equipment rentals run the gamut from $39.95 for sport skis only to $64.95 for a premium package that includes a helmet, poles and name-brand skis such as Salomon or K2.

Apres-Ski

Aspen Snowmass is a haven for apres-ski activities, as the mountain boasts more than 100 restaurants, clubs and bars to enjoy. Dining options range from casual eateries such as the 1950s cafe Boogies Diner to upscale options such as The Artisan Restaurant. The Spa at Snowmass offers a variety of treatments to members and the general public, by appointment only. Shopping options at Aspen Snowmass range from antiques and art galleries to jewelry, luggage and even automobile sales.

WATCH: Aspen Snowmass

Opening day at Aspen Snowmass is fun for skiers of all ages and abilities.