Aspen offers so much making it a great choice for a family vacation!  Two charming villages tucked up against the mountains, fabulous easy lodging options, and an airport right in town give you unparalleled versatility.  Proximity to four unique ski areas with one pass gives you options for all kinds of weather and skill levels.  Here is how we made it easy family fun.

1.  Travel:

You can fly right into Aspen. There are flights by America, Delta and United Airlines.

2.  Logding:

With so many slope side options, we vote that is the way to go.  Sure you can VRBO but… The St. Regis will pick you up from the airport in a Lexus and take you anywhere in the town proper you so desire.  Yes please.  That plus great suite options for families make the St. Regis at the base of Aspen Mountain a top luxury choice for Aspen accommodations.

The brand new Limelight Snowmass is right the the base of the lift, caters to families and the location can’t be beat.  The restaurant has a play area and there is a perfect-for-exhausting-the-kids five story climbing wall.  It is also pet friendly, eco friendly and loans you snow shoes for free –  we are big fans.

And a CLASSIC that you generally need to book way in advance is The Little Nell.  It is hard to put into words how special this establishment is.  All of the staff are quite possibly mind readers.  In addition to having good quality cribs to keep crawlers contained, they also have SKI STROLLERS (see photo below) and playstations to loan you, yes really.  It is like staying with your fancy, well heeled, well connected and always prepared friend.  The two bedroom town side suite perfectly accommodates a family – and they have tiny robes for your wee ones so everyone can be matchy matchy to cozy up after a big day on the slopes for some room service and board games.  So good.

3.  Hitting the Slopes:

Lift tickets. Aspen/Snowmass offers a genius system – one pass for all four mountains. Passes magically work through your jacket so no lift passes flapping about or cold fingers unzipping. You can also link it to your credit card so you can charge lunch or hand warmers right to your pass.  For holiday weekends, dining on the mountain can mean a long wait. Make reservations, have a big breakfast or pack a snack in your jacket and plan on an early or later lunch to avoid long lines.

You have four fabulous mountains to choose from:

  • Snowmass – Great for families.  Lots of ski areas designed for kids with characters and tree runs.  The New Fort Frog is a blast to explore.  Lots of groomer blue runs that the whole family can enjoy.  Up for Pizza is a great place to stop for lunch with – you guessed it – great pizza.
  • Aspen-Highlands no green runs but great terrain for the advanced skiier.
  • Buttermilk -Great for families.  Lots of ski areas designed for kids with characters and tree runs.
  • Aspen – no green runs here so no beginner lessons.  But lots of cruiser blue runs that are breathtakingly scenic.  There is a Nastar race course to try your time on and if you are a freestyler there are half pipes to try your tricks.

Ski schools and childcare:  There are options for kiddos 8 weeks and older.  The base of Snowmass has a childcare center to look after the littlest snow bunnies while you hit the slopes.  There are also kids programs and ski schools at Buttermilk and Snowmass.  We suggest booking ahead of time.

Black Tie rental services make getting your ski gear EASY.  Provide details on each skiier and they show up to fit you at a time of your choosing.  We brought our own ski boots and they fitted the skis to them on site.  They also offer helmets, poles, and snowboards.  Otherwise you can rent from Four Mountain Sports.  The benefit of renting from them is that you can leave your skis and poles at the mountain you visited that day and they will store them or move them to the mountain of your choosing.

4.  Fun off the slopes:

We really enjoyed tubing  (make reservations ahead of time) and the Breathtaker Apline CoasterVery Important Kids has free events every day – the smores from 33–430 at Snowmass were a hit!  Snowmass Lanes makes for a fun night.  With much more than just bowling there is something for everyone.  And the food is good too!  Free ice skating at Snowmass Village town park.  The Snowmass Recreation Center with its indoor and outdoor pools and climbing walls and the Aspen Library make for good indoor days if needed.  The Aspen Rec Center has sledding, ice skating and more.  The Ice Age Discovery Center always has free admission and fascinated the whole family.  T-Lazy-7 Ranch is a fun option for snowmobile tours to Maroon Bells.

PHOTOGRAPHER Daniel Bayer

5.  Dining:

Ryno’s has a pub feel with tasty viddles and games like foosball and air hockey to keep the wee ones (and not so wee ones) occupied.  520 Grill has kid friendly fare and healthy options like a tasty kale and Caesar salad and their tortilla soup does not disappoint.  New York Pizza is almost too good to skip while you are in town, and they deliver if your crew is really whupped. CP Burger has an ice skating rink and burgers of all kinds.  The Limelight Snowmass has Italian food with a casual comfortable feel and a great kids play area.

CP Burger with skating rink

6.  Good to know:

Aspen Valley Hospital has several locations for round the clock options should the need arise.  Because you know kids prefer to break when most inconvenient.  Ha.

If you book a 60 minute treatment at The Westin Snowmass you can drop the kids off for up to two hours of supervised play FREE.  Yup.  You are welcome.

7.  What to pack:

This is our go to winter mountain packing list.

8.  Next:

Book a trip to go for the summer or fall.  It is paradise!  We are big fans of summer in the mountains so we will share our tips after we go explore.

PHOTOGRAPHER Jessica Grenier

*header photo by Jeremy Swanson.

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