Seven fun ways to enjoy Aspen’s great outdoors
Tired of sitting home this winter after a long and exhausting year? Not to fear—Aspen is full of exciting things to do, even in the coldest and snowiest months! Bundle up and get ready for a fun day out in one of Colorado’s most beautiful and adventure-filled towns.
1. Skiing, of course
The vast majority of people who come to Aspen each winter are here for one main purpose, and that’s to take advantage of the area’s incredible skiing conditions. Four stellar resorts are available for those who want to hit the slopes: Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk.
Snowmass rises over four thousand feet and spans three thousand acres, including 150 miles of trails and 96 runs. You’ll find tons of opportunities for advanced skiers here, but never fear, there are plenty of facilities available for newbies as well. Enjoy a naturalist-guided skiing tour that allows you to explore Snowmass’s incredible surroundings!
Aspen Mountain, located just steps away from downtown, is Aspen’s quintessential ski resort. In operation since 1946, this resort offers an incredible skiing experience spanning over 675 acres and containing 64 miles of trails. This is one mountain that’s beloved by the pros; you may want to keep it on your bucket list until you’ve gained some serious ski experience. The majority of runs are considered medium difficulty, with a number of difficult and expert-level runs as well. Stop by the Guest Service center to take a free mountain orientation tour if you want to get the lay of the land!
Aspen Highlands often slips under the radar compared to the other mountains, but there’s plenty here to enjoy. The mountain is typically less crowded and is a favorite of serious skiers; 65% of Aspen Highlands’ trails have received the expert difficulty rating. Due to the challenging nature of the trails, you’ll find fewer children here—and more locals who are well aware of the mountain’s charms.
If you’re just looking to get into skiing, Buttermilk is your best bet. This resort is famous for hosting the Winter X Games, and its smaller size and higher concentration of easy trails make it the perfect place for families and beginners. Hone your skills on the mountain without all the pressure!
While Aspen is famous for its skiing, it’s certainly not the only fun thing to do here. There are plenty of other ways to enjoy the winter weather and beautiful Colorado views, one of them being snowshoeing. Thanks to the plentiful trails around Aspen, there are lots of places to try snowshoeing, and you can even rent a pair right in town.
Check out Ashcroft, a historical ghost town located just outside Aspen. Here, you’ll find 21 miles of trails to explore! A guided snowshoe hike in Ashcroft will take you through the stunning Castle Creek Valley, where you can catch a glimpse of local wildlife and learn about local geology and sub-alpine ecology. After your trek through the snowy meadows and spruce and fir forests, you’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch at the Pine Creek Cookhouse. You can also catch the Silver Queen Gondola up north and head through Richmond Ridge, as an expert guide takes you on an educational, two-hour snowshoe journey.
If you or your guests choose to stay at Aspen’s Limelight Hotel, you’ll be eligible for a complimentary snowshoe tour! The hotel allows you to rent equipment, so no need to worry if you don’t have snowshoes of your own. Guides from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies will take you on a peaceful, snowy two-hour excursion.
3. Ice skating
Get the whole family involved in festive wintertime activities by planning an evening of ice skating! The perfect place to enjoy Aspen’s ice skating is Snowmass Base Village. Enjoy free public skating at Snowmass’s Rink, where you can rent a pair of skates if you don’t have your own. Do be advised that due to the COVID-19 protocols, the rink requires reservations to be made in advance on their website.
The rink also hosts plenty of exciting events, including the Game of Stones curling competition and a skating disco party with music provided by local DJs. Outdoor fireplaces are located nearby, so you can warm up on chilly nights and grab a snack or drink with your party at the Limelight Lounge.
Like high speeds, but not so sure about your skiing skills? Snowmobiling might be the perfect wintertime activity for you. Explore the mountains on a snowmobile tour hosted by experienced staff members!
T-Lazy-7 is known for its exciting snowmobile adventures, perfect for riders of all experience levels. Knowledgeable tour guides will take you on the tour of your choice. Options include the Klondike Lunch Tour, where you’ll explore the White River National Forest before heading up to the picturesque Klondike cabin; here, you’ll get warm by the woodstove and enjoy a delicious cheeseburger lunch.
There’s also the Maroon Bells Tour, known as one of Aspen’s most scenic snowmobile tours! This two-hour tour takes you up to Maroon Lake, located at the base of the stunning Maroon Bell mountains—the most frequently photographed peaks in North America. You’ll enjoy some hot chocolate as you take photos with your friends and learn all about the history of Maroon Creek Valley.
If your group is looking for a more exclusive experience, you can book a private tour with the T-Lazy-7 Ranch staff. The guides will work with you to plan an experience that your group will enjoy, whether it’s up Maroon Bells or over to the cozy Klondike cabin!
If you have younger kids in your party who aren’t quite snowmobiling age or adept at skiing, tubing is a great way to get them involved on the mountains! Snowmass offers incredible tubing facilities during the winter season, lasting until April.
The facility is lit up as soon as darkness falls, offering a magical, snowy landscape as you head down the mountain. Ride the magic carpet to get back up to the top, then ride down through one of the multiple tubing lanes!
6. Celebrate Ullr Nights
Pay tribute to Ullr, the Norse God of Snow, at Snowmass’s famous Ullr Nights, a fun-filled wintertime party! Pick up an Activities Pass for $64/person, which will grant you access to the evening gondola ride up to Elk Camp, the tubing facilities, and the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster.
Warm up with some s’mores and hot chocolate by the bonfire, or snack on some delicious treats as you enjoy the beautiful night air. Everyone can enjoy unlimited tubing and rides on the Alpine Coaster. Starting at 5:00 PM, you can meet for a snowbike tour, as long as you’re at least twelve years old and have proven intermediate ski and/or snowboard skills. The tour will take you on a fun adventure starting at the Snowmass Base Village Four Mountain Sports store.
Want to check out Snowmass’s famous Breathtaker Alpine Coaster? This thrill ride loops through over a mile of track, whisking you through the stunning forest at speeds of up to 28 mph. Each car is outfitted with lights so you’ll be able to enjoy the view! Unlike a typical roller coaster, riders can monitor the speed of their own sled and control their braking; the thrilling ride takes between seven and nine minutes.
7. Shop in downtown Aspen
Not looking to partake in any winter sports? There are plenty of great shopping opportunities to step into as you browse Aspen’s downtown area! With a variety of small local businesses and popular retail chains, there’s truly something here for everyone.
The Aspen Shop is stocked with all your favorite souvenirs and gifts to show off your love for the area. There’s also the chic Boutique at Little Nell, located in Aspen’s world-class Little Nell hotel; this is a great place to browse luxury gift items like clothing, handbags, jewelry, and home accessories. The boutique even offers a complimentary gift wrapping service. If you’re hoping to stock up on some winter-friendly gear, check out Four Mountain Sports; this retailer boasts nine locations throughout Aspen and sells everything from gloves and goggles to accessories and trendy items from brands like Free People, Billabong, Tom’s, and Volcom. For any other basics you might need, retail favorites like Patagonia and Lululemon are also located right in town!
Of course, downtown Aspen is a beautiful area in general, perfect for a casual stroll while drinking a cup of hot chocolate or coffee. Window shopping is a fun way to get outside in the winter while resting up from a day on the slopes!
Looking to explore Aspen luxury homes for sale? Contact Carrie Wells today. Carrie serves a variety of Aspen neighborhoods, from Old Snowmass to Red Mountain. Her expertise will help you find the perfect Aspen luxury home for you.