With a bumper Australian ski season currently under way, we have high hopes of an equally rewarding northern snow season this Christmas. Aspen Colorado is a world famous ski resort. It’s a magnet for the rich and famous who head there to let their hair down on the slopes during the northern winter. The Snowmass Ski Area, of which Aspen is a part, celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017/2018.
Snowmass Base Village is currently being developed as the largest ski resort in North America with $600 million being spent on 10 buildings planned at the base of Snowmass, including the 99-room Limelight Snowmass, a new Four Mountain Sports store, a public plaza and a new Ice Age Discovery Centre. The new Limelight Hotel Snowmass, scheduled for completion in November 2018, also has 11 private condominiums, a new restaurant and children’s games area. The hotel is located adjacent to Snowmass Mountain’s Elk Camp Gondola providing ski-in/ski-out access. Special amenities and extras include après ski in the lounge, live music, adventure activities such as First Tracks and Inside Tracks, a ski concierge and pet-friendly rooms.
The Snowmass Base Village new central public events plaza has been designed as a community gathering space with ice skating rink in winter and an events lawn during summer, as well as fire pits, children’s pop-up fountains and more. The Discovery Centre offers interactive activities for families and children with exhibits themed around the discovery of Ice Age fossils at nearby Ziegler reservoir that captured the community’s and world’s attention. The Ski and Snowboard Schools of Aspen Snowmass offer Guided Experiences for intermediate plus adult and teenage skiiers who can customise their day on the mountain with a personalised guide. Whether hiking Highland Bowl, exploring the terrain parks or just following the guide to favourite secret stashes, guests can experience Aspen Snowmass like a local. Included are benefits like priority lift access and flexible meeting times. Uphill skiing is apparently becoming increasingly popular, also known as ‘skinning’ or ‘alpine touring’ with its special equipment allowing hiking uphill on skis, then skiing down. Uphilling can be handy for skinning up to a Cliffhouse Full Moon Dinner, or touring around the mountain.
In other news, Niseko resort in Japan, a favourite with Australian skiers, has become a global affiliate, under The Mountain Collective, enabling travellers to ski there on the same pass. There are four mountains in the Aspen Snowmass area — Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk. Apres ski nightlife and off-slope activities are half the fun. Aspen Snowmass is accessible by two regional airports in the Rocky Mountains – Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (5 kilometres from Aspen) and Eagle County Airport (112 kilometers from Aspen). Denver is the closest major centre. The Aspen Snowmass ski season runs from late November to mid-April.
Aspen Snowmass mountain’s summer activities are plentiful too. There is a canopy ziptour, a treeline challenge course, a climbing wall, multi-use gathering sites and expanded hiking and biking trails, developed under `The Lost Forest’ initiative as part of the 50-year celebrations, allowing guests to more fully immerse themselves in the mountain’s alpine environment year round.
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