This content is sponsored by Aspen Snowmass, all opinions are my own and that of my family.
Snowmass Colorado with Kids: Winter Edition
One of our favorite adventures each year is finding a new place to explore, in the snow. We don’t get much, if any snow in Austin. We make it a point to get out there and spend a week where we get to bundle up, throw snowballs at each other, make snow angels and be cozy by a fire. Colorado is one of our favorite spots away from Texas. We love it in both the Summer and Winter months.
This year we decided to explore Snowmass Colorado! If you are a parent you know traveling with kids is a totally different travel experience than the pre-kid days when you could grab a back pack and take off on a road trip. A lot of planning and mapping out goes into a trip when kids are coming along. I am really excited to bring you the best that Snowmass Colorado has to offer and let you in on a few secrets that will make your adventure smooth and fun!
Snowmass Colorado with Kids: Where to Stay
For years we spent all of our vacations in hotels. We loved the ease of it, with housekeeping and meals on the go. Then we had kids and everything about the way we traveled changed. We spent an extended vacation in Alaska a few Summers back and rented a house through AirBNB. This was a game changer for us! I absolutely loved that we had room to spread out and play, we even had a great backyard to run around in. BONUS points for the AirBNB route when you consider that you can do laundry, which means packing way less clothes! Did I mention that you can prep your own meals which means that you don’t have to stress meal times in restaurants with cranky kids. So it’s a win on so many levels! There are so many beautiful homes in the Snowmass area that you would love to stay in while you visit. We had friends so graciously invite us to use their home and we could not have felt more blessed.
Now I know that not everyone prefers the home route and loves the hotel concept. If that is the case then you have to check out the Limelight Hotel. Located in Snowmass Village, the Limelight Hotel has everything you need for a vacation on the mountain with your little ones. Aside from beautiful rooms, comfy beds and views that go on forever, they also have a host of amenities that families are going to love! Upon request they have cribs, pack n plays, a stroller, baby bathtubs (with shampoo and soap) as well as diaper genies. You can’t get more family friendly than that, or can you. There is an amazing climbing wall in the front of the hotel that we spent an afternoon enjoying (you don’t have to stay at the hotel to snag climbing time) as well as a children’s area in the lobby that we had a lot of fun in. The children’s lobby area, had oversized bean bags, comfy chase loungers, big screen tv with gaming options not to mention, toys, books, board games and my personal favorite was the old school Pac-Man table arcade game. We spent nap time snoozing (1 of us) on the chase lounger and the staff was amazing. So whether you are looking for the comforts of a home or the convenience of a hotel there are options to make Snowmass Colorado with kids great.
Snowmass Colorado with Kids: Where to Eat
On of the perks of being in a home during your visit like I mentioned before is that we cooked all of our dinners and packed most of our lunches for days that we were skiing. There were a few spots that we had to try even if it was just for a quick bit or a snack that we all shared. Amazing food is one of my favorite things about visiting a new place. I love to find all of the hidden gems of deliciousness. These are the few great spots that we did experience this visit to Snowmass.
Sweet Coloradough: We found this tasty doughnut shop during out Summer Colorado road trip. It made our morning when we spotted their newest location right next to the ice rink in the Snowmass Village. Mary picked out a rainbow sprinkle doughnut (both mornings) and we found a comfy seat in front of a fire pit to enjoy our breakfast treat.
Slice of Italy: Located in the heart of Snowmass Village, you’ll find this quaint little spot to grab a slice of pie or sit down for a delicious meal. I have to say that I was eyeing their charcuterie board for our next trip. We had a quick lunch with a few random slices and everyone was very pleased with their choices. Mary was especially pleased with hers and she’s pretty particular about her pizza.
The Crepe Shack: Conveniently located across from the ice rink in Snowmass Village. We stopped in this spot twice. They have both a sweet and a savory menu and everything on it sounds amazing! When it comes to crepes I tend to lean more towards the sweet side. Our first try we had the Berries and Cream, made of macerated berries, vanilla cream custard, Chantilly cream and berry coulis. Yum! So good. Mary and I shared this one and we were very happy with our choice. As a family we stopped in the second time and tried the All American, made with organic peanut butter, Concord grape jelly, banana and marshmallow. I don’t know what it is about my little guy but he might be the first kid ever to not like peanut butter. He could smell it and wouldn’t even try a bit. Everyone else devoured it. This one is a repeat for sure. The Crepe Shack also serves a mean dirty chai tea latte, my hot drink of choice. Another great feature of The Crepe Shack is that you have a front row seat to watch your crepes made which takes some major talent.
Snowmass Colorado with Kids: What to Do
Now this is where I get to share with you ALL the fun we had and boy did we have a lot of fun. We tried a little bit of everything that Snowmass had to offer and the kids and adults alike all had an amazing time. We honestly can not wait to plan our next trip back. The snow was perfect and the sun was shinning most days, who wouldn’t want to be outside soaking that up.
Aspen Snowmass Ski School at Treehouse Adventure Center: I was really excited for John to be in ski school again this year. Last year on our Colorado ski trip I messed up on the timing and location of lessons and he only got to participate in 1 day, which he loved. This year is the effort of planning better we visited Snowmass Village the day before his lessons were to start and figured out where we needed to be and when to be there. The Treehouse Adventure Center is located at the far end of Snowmass Village near the small gondola lift. The Center is where all of the kid’s group lesson meet and are based out of. The kids are registered and dropped off with their very attentive staff (who were happy to answer a million mom questions) and go on to have a great day. Inside the Treehouse kids will have a beginner lesson on safety and learn how their equipment works so they are more prepared when they get out into the snow. This is also where they will come inside to take breaks, have snack and play between outdoor sessions. Included in lessons are your child’s skis (and poles if using them), boots, helmet, lift tickets, all snacks and lunch. I loved that we were able to leave his skis there each evening if we wanted to rather than carrying his gear back and forth. Also he loved all of the snacks and lunch that were provided.
Right outside of the Treehouse is the kids group lesson area, with a small magic carpet lift and a sectioned off areas for various skill levels. I loved being able to observe John’s lessons at various times each day. Note to parents if your child will be upset by seeing you I don’t recommend sneaking a peek at lessons. There is no covert way to observe without being seen. John did 3 full days of ski lessons. There were a few other kids in his group, all about the same age. He had the same instructor 2 of the days and Mr Patrick was AWESOME. We saw a lot of progress from morning to afternoon sessions and day to day. By the afternoon of day 3 he was riding the small gondola part way up the mountain with his group and skiing down. No more practice lanes for this kid. after we picked him up from his last lesson He spent the last hour of the day skiing everywhere on the mountain with his dad and uncle. It was amazing and he loved every minute of it.
Treehouse Adventure Center Childcare: Since I work from home we don’t often use childcare of any kind. I wasn’t sure exactly how Mary was going to feel about being left with new faces to play while I was no where to be seen. It’s been 5 years since I skied last, I’ve been busy having babies. I was really excited to see that Aspen Snowmass had a childcare facility that looked amazing. I wasn’t disappointed. The childcare are is staffed with the warmest caregivers, each room is divided up by the children’s ages and has developmentally appropriate toys and play areas. The center provides snacks and lunch, which I was told she loved every bite of. In sunny weather they bundle the children up into either wagons or buggies and go for a walk outside for some fresh air. You will need a reservation to secure your spot, so call ahead and provide your info and number of days you will be using the facility.
They offer half day morning sessions ($128) or full days ($190), they are a licensed childcare facility by the state of Colorado and adhere to those guidelines. When I went to pick Mary up instead of running to me in a panic. She drove over the ride in car she was playing with she showed me all the great toys, in no rush to leave. Older children in the children’s program also adventure out to the Aspen Climbing room. An awesome indoor climbing play area that is used by the facility but also open to the public at no charge. We spent some time in this room on the 2 days that she was not in childcare and she loved it.
Skiing: I can’t imagine coming to the mountains in the Winter and not skiing. The runs at Aspen Snowmass are amazing. While we were there we had about 15″ of fresh snow and it was just the right amount for this girl. Not so much that skiing was difficult but rather a lot of fun, got to love those powder days! When you purchase a lift ticket at Aspen Snowmass you have access to several mountains; Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk. You would be hard pressed to not have fun! I downloaded the Aspen Snowmass app for my iPhone that allowed me to see the current weather, recent snow fall, events and connect my Aspen card (lift ticket) on it. Everything in one spot made it super easy. As an intermediate skier I’d have to say my favorite run was Blue Grouse and Slot.
Ice Skating: Every day from noon until 7 pm each day the ice rink is open to the public. There was no charge for skate rentals or to skate on the rink. We spent some time testing it out and everyone really enjoyed the experience. This was John’s first time on skates and I hadn’t skated in nearly 20 years. John used the skating trainer and was quickly gliding along. He made friends (as usual) with a group of teenage girls and loved that they skated with him and even included him in their group picture before leaving. Mary even got out there in her snow boots and tested out the ice, FYI free rental skates start at a kids size 8.
Breathtaker Alpine Coaster: The Breathtaker will live up to it’s name while you are having the time of your life as you go winding through the snow covered trees. The coaster features individual cars controlled by the rider with a ride time of seven to nine minutes up and three minutes down. That means you are going really fast, up to 28 mph! The Breathtaker Alpine Coaster is open during the day during normal lift hours and in the evenings during Ullr Nights. To ride the driver must be between 54 inches and 84 inches tall, passengers at least 38 inches tall. To ride the coaster you will need to purchase a session pass. Sessions run 2.5-3 hours and you have unlimited ride access during that time. Morning session passes cost $39, afternoon sessions are $45. Session passes can be combined with full day tubing passes for $54.
Tubing: Trade in your skis and try something new on the mountain. The new on-mountain snow tubing center at Elk Camp is a great place for a family friendly activity. There are multiple lift-served lanes offer tubing excitement for adults and children. Session tickets are required so make a reservation ahead of time and enjoy a day with your family playing and laughing. Tubing passes are $39 and can be combined with a Breathtaker session for $54.
Limelight Hotel Indoor Climbing Wall: Open to the public the Limelight Hotel has an amazing indoor climbing wall that is great for all ages. It’s open from noon till 9 pm daily. The climbing wall is five-stories high with three self-belay routes. The lower one for beginners, and two that will scale the entire wall. Staff is on hand to give pointers, ensure safety, and help with harnesses and climbing shoes. Harness and shoes are included in the fee to use the wall, $10 for the first 30 minutes and $5 for each 30 minutes after that. It was a great way to get out some energy while taking a break from the colder temps outside.
Ice Age Discovery Center: Did you know that in 2010 while a reservoir was being built in the area, Colombian Mammoth bones were discovered? This was just the beginning of what would be over a year dig and the results are amazing! At the Ice Age Discovery Center you can view a collection of fossils and replicas from over 43 species, watch video from the Denver Museum of Natural Science and National Geographic, and learn all about the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery through fun displays, educational panels and interactive programming. The IADC is perfect for all ages, making it a great family activity. Did we mention its FREE!
V.I.K. (Very Important Kids) Activities: I love that Aspen Snowmass does a great job of highlighting the fun activities for kids. They go above and beyond with their VIK program. Developing activities that are kid focused and bound to be a hit (even with the big kids). Everything from writing postcards to friends, decorating cookies, storytelling and S’Mores! We loves s’mores and had them two afternoons in a row. Make sure to check the VIK schedule ahead of your visit to ensure you don’t miss any of the fun!
Ullr Nights: Perfect for a night of family fun, Ullr nights brings the mountain to life after the sun has gone done. Happening every Friday night from the end of December through the beginning of April. Ullr nights takes place at Elk Camp and features sledding, guided snowshoe tours with ACES, snowbiking, snow tubing, and the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster. Take part in a delicious a la carte culinary celebration with live music, and top it off with s’mores and hot chocolate by the big campfire. Who wouldn’t want to spend their Friday night here?! Pass need to be purchased in advanced and cost $10 (kids 3 and under at FREE). If you want to enjoy tubing, The Breathtaker or snowbiking, additional passes are needed and can purchased at the same time.
So like I said Snowmass Colorado with kids was an adventure, such an awesome and fun adventure. Our family loved every second of it and we can not wait to plan a return trip. I’m thinking we need to check it out in the Summer months to see if it can get even more amazing, I’m pretty sure it can.