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Skiing at Snowmass
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Snowmass - Ski Resort and Snow Summary
Skiing in Snowmass
Snowmass - Ski Resort in Four Mountains Area, American Rockies (2470m to 3790m)
Located 12 miles (18km) from Aspen and sharing its lift pass, Snowmass offers 95% ski-in lodging and free postcards and stamps to anyone wanting to write home about their experiences on North America's longest half-pipe. In 1997 the installation of a high altitude surface lift to access the powder filled bowls of the Cirque, previously only available with the aid of a snowcat or a hike, gave it the highest lift in the USA and the biggest lift-served skiable vertical in the country (taken from Big Sky Montana). The lift operates 60 - 75 days of the year accessing terrain suited to intermediates or experts. The idea of the limited access is to prevent over-exploitation of the terrain and a surface lift can operate in the windy conditions that are sometimes present and which could stop a chair.
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Snowmass Ski Facts
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The American ski resort of Snowmass is part of the Four Mountains Area ski area and has direct access to 83 individual pistes, served by 20 ski lifts. In addition to the skiing in Snowmass itself 155pisted ski runs), the appropriate ski Lift Pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other Four Mountains Area ski resort of Aspen.
The ski resort itself is above 1500m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With pistes above 2500 metres, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.
Ski Lift Capacity :- The 20 Ski Lifts of Snowmass are able to uplift 24,840 skiers / snowboarders per hour.
There are three Airports within two hours drive, so ski weekends, snowboard breaks and short ski holidays to Snowmass are perfectly feasible. Aspen Airport and Vail/Eagle Airport are just one hours drive away, in good driving conditions, so you can be on the piste quickly.
Skiing in Snowmass
According to Chris Davenport, an extreme skier and Ambassador for Aspen it is possible to ski all of Snowmass's terrain in one day. His advice is to pick a blue sky Colorado day and study your piste map to choose the best route. By starting off over on the Sam's Knob side and working your way towards Elk Camp, you'll be following the sun and be able to enjoy the incredible afternoon glow it creates over Elk Camp - not to be missed. If you manage to ski Snowmass in one day you will have ridden at least 12 chairlifts and skied 20,000 vertical feet!
For skiers who are new to Snowmass it's worth taking advantage of the free two-hour mountain tours which happen daily and will help to familiarise you with the area. Skiers should be intermediate to advanced and have a lift ticket. The Cirque at Snowmass is legendary among advanced skiers and boarders, at 3,813m/12,310ft above sea level this is the highest point of any ski area in North America and provides a breathtaking experience. When it really snows at this point it is almost impossible to see the tips of your skis, hence Chris Davenport's advise to choose a sunny day! The bowl offers deep-powder skiing after a snowstorm, and KT Gully is an alpine roller-coaster ride. Cliff jumpers can get hang time on Gowdy's and Baby Ruth. For stomach dropping steeps skiers head for Garret's Gulch, Bearclaw, Headwall and ADF which some say stands for adios, my friend.
Experts looking for adventure will find plenty in Hanging Valley which is the closest thing to back country without going out of bounds. This area has it all - steeps, glades, cornices, cliffs and deep snow. On a powder day, skiers and riders wait anxiously for ski patrol to drop the ropes and open the area. Burnt Mountain, once a playground only for those skilled in backcountry techniques it is now open to skiers and snowboarders and winds 3 miles through the forests just east of the Elk Camp area. Those wishing to earn extra turns, backcountry style, can hike from Elk Camp to the top of Burnt Mountain.
On Fridays at Snowmass and Aspen Highlands, there are Off-Piste Tours designed to give expert skiers a chance to try some of the area's famous double-black diamond terrain with an experienced guide. However, its not all extreme skiing at Snowmass, this resort is essentially known as being a family-friendly area with long, groomed cruising runs and uncrowded slopes, 2 people per acre/5 people per hectare to be exact. The wide-open Ruthie's Run is a favourite with cruisers and Ruthie's Chairlift is the world's only high-speed double chair, introduced to preserve the intimacy of skiing, allowing couples and friends to sit together and chat privately.
Those seeking the ultimate in solitude should sign up for First Tracks, its on a first come, first served basis and is free on production of your lift ticket. The group will have the privilege of making first tracks in fresh powder or on freshly groomed corduroy.
For up to the minute information during your holiday you can tune into Aspen Today, Aspen's own radio station which is broadcast live from the top of the mountain from 7am to 10am every day and features local weather forecasts, complete 4 mountain snow conditions. activities for children and information on whats happening in and around town.
Snowboarding in Snowmass
Snowmass is like snowboarders' heaven with its vast snowboard terrain, 3,010 wild acres of freeriding fun loaded with wide-open groomers, huge natural halfpipes, powder-packed bowls, steeps, hits, tree lines and mile-wide roller-coaster-like runs. More than half the terrain at Snowmass is intermediate.
Snowmass has 2 halfpipes and 2 terrain parks, catering to riders of all abilities. Complete with lift access and a booming sound system, the Coney Glade area is home to the Trenchtown halfpipe and terrain park, great for advanced riders. while Funnel's halfpipe and terrain park cater to beginner and intermediates. The Trenchtown pipe, kept in top condition by a Pipe Dragon groomer, is 300 feet long, constructed to world-class competition specifications and served by a handle tow lift (enabling riders to get in maximum airtime). The Trenchtown park, separated by the pipe into upper and lower sections, features a variety of tabletops, spine ramps, rail-slides and fun boxes.
The Funnel halfpipe, a beginner/intermediate pipe that is shallower and shorter than the competition pipe at Trenchtown, is accessed via the Funnel chairlift and located on Lower Funnel. The perfect venue for riders to sharpen their technique before jumping into the big pipe. Its an intermediate rider's dream with small features that enable riders of all levels to practice, but don't be fooled, riders can still get airborne and pull off that perfect backside 360.
Must-do's include the Elk Camp area, an ideal sanctuary for riders who enjoy carving down freshly groomed wide-open slopes with the convenience of quick laps on a high-speed quad. Long Shot, a backcountry-like, ungroomed run that winds 3 miles through forests, is just a 5 minute hike east of the top of Elk Camp. Naked Lady is a favourite for its floating rollers atop velvet corduroy snow.
The Big Burn offers some of the longest high-altitude intermediate runs where riders are guaranteed to feel their quads quake. The Campground area's snow stays untracked days after a big snowfall, delighting riders who continue to discover fresh tree lines and bottomless powder stashes. Expert riders head to the legendary Cirque at Snowmass, where a breathtaking alpine slide awaits. From the top of the Cirque lift, adrenaline seekers can access the Cirque Headwall, AMF and Gowdy's. From the top of High Alpine, ambitious riders hike 10 minutes to get hang time on Hanging Valley Wall.
Kris Klug, top US professional snowboard racer makes Aspen his home when he's not travelling the world and his favourite mountain is Snowmass. When Chris is not training he can often be found freeriding on Hanging Valley.
Snowmass Aprés Ski
The apres-ski is everything one would expect from an upmarket ski resort with an extensive range of facilities including everything from billiards to jazz clubs, discos to no-nonsense Western bars.
Aspen's oldest bar is The Red Onion dating back to 1892 and still a favourite with the locals, good for homemade American and Mexican food. Syzygy have live jazz nightly at 10pm while the Ute City Bar & Grill is the rendezvous for live music at weekends.
For tequila fans Jimmy's American Restaurant & Bar have no less than 54 different types and if you like to start your evening with a Happy Hour or 2 then the Cooper Street Bar and Restaurant is the place to be, Aspen's casual gathering place for 27 years, it has Bar Specials, Games and Sports Satellite TV with Happy Hour from 3-6pm.
Snowmass Snow Reports by e-mail
For a Free 7-Day Snow Forecast for Snowmass, including a Snow Report with current skiing conditions, just sign-up to our Ski Chat Forum and set Snowmass as a favourite ski resort in your Profile.
Snowmass in brief
Snowmass Ski Resort is:
Ok for Expert Skiers.
Good for Intermediate Skiers.
Ok for Beginners.
Excellent for Snowboarding.
Opened : November 22, 2012
Closed : April 14, 2013
Opening Subject To Snow Conditions.
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