72 Hours in Aspen Snowmass
Enjoying your Colorado ski vacation at Aspen Snowmass is easy. But sometimes, the hardest part is prioritizing your time and squeezing as much fun as you can into the confines of your trip. Case in point: the ever-popular 72-hour ski vacation. Good for the mind, body and spirit, but boy, does it go by quickly.
To help you figure out your time, local writer Christine Benedetti offers this jam-packed but very doable itinerary.
9am: Warm up your ski legs in Snowmass. To make the most of your time, sign up for a ski or snowboard clinic through Aspen Snowmass. Clinics are designed for intermediate skiers and above to build confidence, understand the terrain, and guide you to the next level in your skiing or riding. Lessons are available for beginners and those who want more individual attention.
Besides certified instruction, you’ll get an insider’s tour of one of North America’s largest ski areas.
12:30pm: Mountain Italian dining comes to 10,000 feet with the debut of a reinvented Sam’s. Here, the culinary team reimagined what good food at altitude means, serving authentic Italian that uses the fresh, high-quality ingredients in simple cooking. That translates to thick-crust oven-roasted pizzas, fresh-made pasta, seafood and meat entrees, and homemade bread baked daily on-site. Of course, any proper Italian meal isn’t complete without a midday cocktail — opt for the Negroni spritz to recharge your afternoon.
Pro tip: To really enjoy the experience, take off your ski boots and slide into some slippers for a truly comfortable lunch.
4pm: Snowmass’ Base Village has come alive. Start at The Collective, a new community hub. In the game lounge, choose between foosball, tube table tennis, full-size pin art and air hockey, or take a dive in the 133,000-ball pit. If games aren’t your thing, the 13 different murals that turn the basement level into a kaleidoscopic playland might be. Afterward, stop upstairs at MoxiBar for a three-berry martini, made with cedilla acai liqueur, pom juice and blueberries, and peep at sister restaurant Mix6. Chef Martin Oswald’s nutritarian concept has unfolded with fresh, fast and healthy food at affordable prices.
8pm: You’ve heard before that Aspen’s nightlife is legendary, and well, that’s true. One reason why is Belly Up, a 450-person music venue that hosts live shows most nights of the year. Anyone from Lyle Lovett to The Chainsmokers may be on the marquee, but if that’s not your jam, the Wheeler Opera House also boasts a full winter lineup with comedians, magic shows, live music and family-friendly entertainment.
8am: 72 Hours in Aspen Snowmass, Colorado Ski Vacation
With a good night’s sleep, get up early for First Tracks, offered daily on Aspen Mountain. Open to all intermediate and expert skiers and snowboarders 11 years old or older, this program invites guests to enjoy groomed runs and fresh powder with a guide before the mountain opens to the crowds.
On powder days with 8 inches or more the night before, pair the fluffy powder stashes with a stack of fluffy pancakes. Free Powder Pancakes are served at 10am in the Sundeck.
12pm: After a morning of charging bumps and steeps on Aspen Mountain, you’ve earned lunch at Bonnie’s. The classic mid-mountain restaurant tucked into a chalet-style building is known for its white bean chili and fresh-grilled sandwiches. In the sunny spring, Bonnie’s two-tiered patio is prime seating for a glass of rose.
4pm: Après in Aspen is a verb. To ensure you’re doing it right, make the rounds. Begin at The Snow Lodge, a newly opened winter outpost of Montauk’s The Surf Lodge.
Then, shimmy past the gondola to the Ajax Tavern or Chair 9 for drink specials and a must-see scene before heading across the street to the brand-new W Hotel Aspen, where a 7,000-square-foot rooftop bar awaits with frosty beverages, happy beats and epic views.
7pm: Book dinner at Element 47 inside The Little Nell. Five-star lodging meets five-star dining with innovative dishes from head chef Matthew Zubrod. Up the evening’s wow factor by booking the private wine cellar, aka the Red Light Lounge, for a three-course menu paired with wines from the Nell’s infamous 20,000-bottle-deep wine list.
8:30am: Toast the morning with a fresh pour-over from Local Coffee House. Make it a meal with the black rice porridge, and turn it into a retail experience after scoping some of the ultra-hip goods available on the cafe’s shelves.
10am: 72 Hours in Aspen Snowmass, Colorado Ski Vacation
Skip the slopes for a cultural morning in Aspen. Begin at the Aspen Art Museum (637 E. Hyman Ave., free admission) to experience Yayoshi Kusama’s mirrored room illuminated only by piercings of natural light.
Next, call the Downtowner — a free, app-based ride service — for a shuttle to the Aspen Historical Society (620 W. Bleeker St.), in the West End, to see the exhibition, “bayer & bauhaus: how design shaped aspen,” before it comes down in April.
12:30pm: Earn your late lunch with a quick, one-mile cross-country ski to Pine Creek Cookhouse, 11 miles from Aspen up the Castle Creek Valley. You can rent equipment from the Ashcroft Ski Touring office; diners can also walk up the snow-packed road in snow boots or take a horse-drawn sleigh ride as well. Views of the mountains are best enjoyed with a cup of the restaurant’s hot soup.
4pm: Unwind with a deep tissue massage from The Little Nell’s spa. Services can also be booked at the St. Regis Aspen Resort’s Remede Spa, O2 Aspen’s boutique spa or Jean-Robert’s Gym.
7pm: Celebrate your last evening in Aspen with a memorable meal, like new-to-the-scene French-infused seafood from Betula (525 E. Cooper Ave.) or Italian-inspired Ellina (430 E. Hyman Ave.). End your three days in paradise with a nightcap from Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar (301 E. Hopkins Ave.) or Bad Harriet (330 E. Main St.). And if you don’t want the party to end, shake your rump at Bootsy Bellows, 7908 or Escobar, which always have DJs and promise an unforgettable night in Aspen.
September 28, 2021