From its world-renowned ski school to kid-friendly features like bumps and jumps, Aspen Snowmass is a family-oriented destination. Here are 6 tips to make your ski vacation with the kids fun, safe, and seamless.
1 – Pay for Parking or Choose Buttermilk
While there are free parking options available near each of the ski hills, they all involve walking and/or waiting and/or shuttling. No matter the number and age(s) of your child(ren), walking, waiting, loading/unloading, and carrying extra gear can take the enjoyment out of a day before it’s even begun.
Parking is free at Buttermilk, and if you arrive early enough, you’ll be able to park near the Summit Express lift or at Tiehack. At the other mountains, the easiest way to reduce your pre-ski hassle is to pay for parking.
At Aspen, you’ll want to arrive early enough to score paid street parking as close to the Gondola as you can get. Pay attention to the verbiage on the paid parking terminals and the signs; some spots only allow a few hours of parking time, and some require payment every day except Sunday. There are also parking apps, such as Way to Park, which sense your location and allow you to pay for parking from your phone, as well as pay for and add time remotely should you need to.
Pay to park inside the Highlands parking garage — if you have at least four passengers, your parking will be free. If you have another adult with you, you can always drop the kids on the Village level and meet up with them as soon as you’ve secured your garage space.
Snowmass offers paid parking both inside their garage and at the Two Creeks lot. Both will require some walking, but involve much less hassle than if you took the shuttle from Town Park.
2 – Know the Bathrooms
Kids can’t wait when it’s “time to go.” So, as a parent, it’s essential to be prepared. Know where the closest bathrooms are, and be sure to ask your kids directly whether or not they need to go. No one wants to end up in a gondola or on a lift with a twitchy toddler or impatient teen.
Aspen Mountain Bathrooms
At AJAX, you can find a bathroom inside of the Gorsuch Ski Cafe, down the stairs from the Silver Queen Gondola. You’ll also find bathrooms at each of the on-mountain dining establishments, such as the Sundeck and Bonnie’s.
At Snowmass, Base Village provides a number of public restrooms. Look in the ticket office next to the Elk Camp Gondola, down a hallway accessed from outside the Capitol Peak A Building (turn around, walk left, and look right if you’re facing the Elk Camp Gondola). You’ll also find bathrooms at The Collective, the building across the ice rink.
If you take the shuttle, park, or ride the Sky Cab Gondola up Fanny Hill to the Snowmass Mall, you’ll find bathrooms through a door and down a hallway in the walkway outside the Westin Snowmass Resort.
If you’re planning to park your vehicle at Town Park and take the free shuttle to the ski hill, there’s a public restroom inside Town Park Station. Or, if you’re parking at Two Creeks, you’ll find bathrooms at the far end of the Two Creeks Cafe building.
You’ll find a bathroom at the Wapiti Wildlife Center at the top of the Elk Camp chairlift. You’ll also find bathrooms inside any of the numerous eateries on the mountain.
Aspen Highlands Bathrooms
You’ll find the main public bathrooms at Aspen Highlands down some stairs/an escalator from the main Village level; they’re on the same level as the ski lockers if you’re walking up from the parking garage. Most of the eateries (such as Highlands Alehouse) in the Village have their own restrooms, as does the Merry-Go-Round restaurant at the top of the main Exhibition lift.
The first bathrooms you’ll find at Buttermilk are inside the ticket office building, on the level below the Bumps restaurant. You’ll also find bathrooms downstairs inside the Cliffhouse at the top of the Summit Express lift.
3 – Lessons for Everyone
While lessons for the kids (aka, active childcare) may seem obvious, another way to experience the Aspen Snowmass resorts is to book private half- or full-day lessons for your entire family group. You’ll get to skip the long lift lines, get personalized coaching, and even complimentary overnight ski/board storage and transfer between mountains, should you book multiple days. Let your ski pro manage the details, and focus on fully enjoying your ski/snowboard experience as a family.
4 – Give Your Kids a Break
Be flexible. No one — especially children — can pay attention for long, sustained periods of time. They’ll get tired and/or hungry… and when they do, their moods will plunge drastically. Instead of forcing your children to stick with the schedule, you prefer, pay attention to their needs and be proactive.
Some suggestions for kid-friendly breaks:
— Stop for food at kid-friendly restaurants such as the Merry-Go-Round at Highlands, Bumps at Buttermilk, or the Elk Camp Restaurant at Snowmass.
— Enjoy the indoor games or outdoor ice skating at The Collective at Snowmass.
— Pay to store your gear at the base of the Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen, and take a walk down to the Aspen Art Museum or grab a burger before ice skating at CP Burger.
— Enjoy the fire pit, s’mores, and other kid activities at Snowmass Base Village.
— Let the younger kids play at the Treehouse Kids Adventure Center in Snowmass.
5 – Find the Kid-Friendly Features
What kid doesn’t like an adventure? Lead them into the kid-friendly tree trails and help them discover features and characters built just for them. On Aspen Mountain (AJAX), you’ll find Snoopy and his friends through an opening in the woods on the left side of the Summit run (it’s a black diamond). At Highlands, there’s an old chairlift hanging from a tree at Chix Coop, and decorated trees on Friar Tuck off of Sherwood Forest (another black diamond run). At Buttermilk, find Devil’s Gut in the trees off of Westward Ho, and you’ll ski right through a log tunnel. Or, take the Larkspur run on the way to the West Buttermilk lift to “The World’s Longest Tree Trail,” where international flags, stuffies, and other trinkets hang from the trees.
6 – Have a Plan
While the mountains may seem manageable, getting lost isn’t unheard of; cell phones and walkie talkies won’t always connect, and it’s easy to mishear the rendezvous spot above the din of the lifts. Make sure your children know where you’re going and where to meet — or who to talk to — if they get separated. Make sure they have your cell phone number, and know how to recognize ski patrol and the SkiCo coaches so that they can ask for help.
Staying with Kids at Aspen Snowmass
Alpine Property has a wide selection of family-friendly vacation rentals in Aspen Snowmass. Explore our rentals and contact us at 866-209-1540 or send an email. Our staff will make sure you find the perfect vacation rental with amenities for everyone in your family.