There is no denying it: together, Aspen and Snowmass Village make an excellent family-friendly destination for your upcoming winter vacation. Sure, there is gorgeous scenery and thrilling on-mountain terrain, which together have made this four-mountain resort internationally famous. But unlike many resort areas, the two towns are actual year-round communities. With an infrastructure of arts, culture and dining — which are the envy of many cities — Aspen and Snowmass Village are ideal place for families on and off the slopes.
You’ll find every day packed with exciting activities, indelible experiences and — most importantly — unbelievable terrain options for everyone.
Below are some of our top recommendations, starting with where to ski and ride.
On the Slopes
On one lift ticket, you can take your pick of four mountains, all within close proximity to each other: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass.
Little ones delight in the kid-friendly trails that dash through the woods, as well as the fun diversion of Fort Frog on Buttermilk. If you have any aspiring Shaun Whites in your family, these two mountains offer them several terrain park options where they can hone their skills on everything from kickers to Superpipes. (After all, Buttermilk hosts the Winter X Games every year).
Snowmass is also home to the Treehouse Kids Adventure Center. Here, the youngest skiers get to enjoy a mix of lessons on the slopes as well as indoor breaks in the center’s fun, interactive play rooms. (The Treehouse also offers childcare for babies and toddlers). Additionally, Buttermilk now offers The Hideout, an all-new center run by the Ski & Snowboard School where kids can enjoy an easy-entry into the sport of skiing.
Off the Slopes
Let’s be honest: The activities your family enjoys off the mountain are as important — if not more — than the action on the slopes. Young children often need a day of rest, and teens require new and different ways to engage with the family.
Here are some of the top things to do as a family off the slopes in the Aspen area.
Held on Friday nights during the winter season, this on-mountain party atop the Elk Camp Gondola on Snowmass offers nighttime tubing, live music, bonfires and s’mores as well as snowbiking and the always-excellent cuisine of Elk Camp Restaurant.
Dining in the Woods
Live out your “dashing through the woods” fantasies with a sleigh ride to dinner at the Pine Creek Cookhouse, located 12 miles south of Aspen. (Or go for lunch: the surrounding area of Ashcroft is also famous for its historic ghost town and cross-country skiing trails).
Another option for a memorable dinner in the mountains is the weekly chuckwagon dinner at the Lynn Britt Cabin, where families board snowcats at the base of Snowmass for a 15-minute ride to the cabin-turned-gourmet-restaurant.
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies
With beautiful landscapes in all directions, it is no surprise that Aspenites have an enduring commitment to protecting the local habitat. Central to this is the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, which offers a series of family-friendly naturalist tours, both on Snowmass and Aspen Mountain, as well as at Hallam Lake just north of downtown.
Family Programs at the Aspen Art Museum
You might not expect a world-class art museum in a mountain ski town, but then again, this is Aspen. With its new, architecturally stunning home on East Hyman Avenue, the Aspen Art Museum welcomes families with a series of programs and workshops for budding artists as well as families looking to deepen their bond through artistic expression.
Snowmass recently added lift-served tubing lanes to the Elk Camp Meadows area, and kids of all ages have been squealing with delight ever since.
Right in the heart of Aspen, you’ll find a public ice-skating rink at 433 E. Durant Ave., run by the adjacent CP Burger. Skate rentals are available.
Where to Stay
Learn more about Inspirato’s luxury vacation options in Aspen.