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Colorado in the winter is a veritable skiing and snowboarding paradise. From Beaver Creek to Breckenridge, the state is packed with one idyllic ski area after another. At the center of it all, is Aspen Snowmass, just two hours from Denver. Aspen has long since honed an alluring luxury reputation; it’s the Montauk of the West, especially in the winter. But Snowmass, just next door, and under the Aspen umbrella (they’re on the same lift ticket) is rising through the luxury winter destination ranks. If you’re planning a Colorado ski trip this season, and aim to spend a day in Snowmass before continuing to Aspen, use this 24-hour guide for a perfect Snowmass day.
7 a.m. Skiers start their day early, because the earliest arrivals to the mountain get the best powder. Whether or not you’ll be skiing, start your day with the sun at Fuel, the best coffee shop in Snowmass. On the Snowmass mall, this cafe is a favorite among locals, thanks to their hearty breakfast burritos, fresh smoothies, and excellent coffee.
Related: Your Snow Survival Guide to Colorado’s Five Big Ski Towns
8 a.m. Après-ski might call for Champagne and fondue, but what about avant ski? The before ski experience is all about relaxation and stretching out for a day on the slopes. So it’s only fitting that Snowmass’ newest wellness hub is King Yoga, opened in partnership with Colorado yogi Aaron King. A beautiful blend of ancient healing practices and modern music, King’s classes will center your mind and body ahead of the day.
9:30 a.m. You’ve caffeinated, nourished, and stretched, so there’s only one thing left to do: ski. The Snowmass winter season runs from late November to mid-April. With nearly 3,400 acres of skiable terrain and 150 miles of trails, Snowmass is best suited to intermediate and advanced skiers (with 48% blue squares and 30% double black diamonds), but the novice skier can still find a myriad of tamer trails here. And between the three peaks that make up Snowmass—Burnt Mountain Glades, High Alpine, and the Cirque—the ski area is abundant in powdery snow and long, winding runs.
For the non-skiers, who would rather explore the local art scene, Snowmass Village is home to Anderson Ranch Arts Center on five acres of idyllic Rocky Mountain terrain. In the 14 buildings comprising Anderson Ranch Arts Center, you’ll find unique exhibits, as well as places to make and learn about art. Their latest exhibition, “Sculpturally Distanced,” which runs through fall 2021, is a compilation of 17 works interspersed throughout the ranch.
1 p.m. Have lunch on the slopes, whether you’re shedding your snowboarding boots or walking back through the Snowmass winter wonderland from Anderson Ranch Arts Center. Sam’s opened only a year ago after a $2.5 million renovation, and the restaurant overlooks the peaks and Snowmass Village, offering one of the most picturesque ski country views in Colorado. Upon your entrance to Sam’s, you’ll be offered a pair of slippers, and can tuck into delectable Italian fare or sip on Sam’s signature Negroni Spritz (because 1 p.m. seems like the perfect time to start on après-ski libations).
Related: 10 Luxury Ski Resorts Worth Visiting for the Après Ski Alone
3 p.m. After an indulgent lunch, wander over to The Collective Snowmass, right in Snowmass Base Village. Here, you’ll find not only dynamic Snowmass culture (namely, their daily programming, which includes art activations, live music, and other entertainment), but an ice skating rink and a game lounge. Both the rink and the game lounge are open to the public, free of charge, from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. So if you spent the morning wandering the al fresco exhibition at Anderson Ranch rather than skiing, you can still get your fill of winter sports at The Collective’s skating rink.
6 p.m. Alpin Room and High Alpin Marketplace are brand new for the 2020 to 2021 winter season, elevated midway up the Snowmass ski area for a panoramic mountain view and high-altitude dining. Dine on the gorgeous deck, next to the roaring fire at High Alpine, a market-style food hall concept, or take your tray to sit indoors next to the enormous windows, looking out over the village. Alternately, have an European Alps-inspired après-ski experience, with French comfort food, wine, and of course, alpine views at Alpin Room.
8 p.m. An annual Snowmass tradition, Snowmass S’mores is perfect for families—and for the kid inside all of us. When ski season kicks off, s’mores season follows. And in Snowmass, that means at 3:30 p.m. each day, visitors will find s’mores carts shaped like oversized marshmallows at the base village and on the Snowmass mall. Treat yourself to one of two Snowmass delicacies for dessert, a s’mores bar (it involves a layer of rice krispy treat) or a s’mores cup (with chocolate ganache). Both make for a perfect top off to an après-ski bottle of wine.
Where to Stay
In Snowmass Base Village, stay at the luxurious ski-in/ski-out Viceroy Snowmass, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. The Viceroy boasts recently renovated guest rooms, a 7,000-square-foot spa, and all the makings of a mountain sanctuary. For a quick, overnight stay, reserve a one-bedroom residential suite, or for a longer stint at the Viceroy Snowmass with the whole family, snag the three-bedroom penthouse suite.