Aspen vs Snowmass - The Age-Old Debate

Activities, Aspen Events, Events, Snowmass Events, Vacation Prep

The Aspen Snowmass area is a popular vacation destination all year long. The close proximity between Aspen and Snowmass affords visitors the opportunity to make the most of both places while staying at one. Depending on the time of year, each town has its own unique advantages; but because they are near one another, it’s possible to enjoy both during your stay.

Choosing where to stay depends on one’s interests. Both towns offer a variety of outdoor activities for every season, but Aspen offers more options culturally and in terms of nightlife. Snowmass has a variety of family-friendly activities on the mountain including the fun coaster, bike park, and wide open terrain for skiing and snowboarding.

Regardless of where you choose to stay, both Aspen and Snowmass offer plenty to do.


Aspen is a popular tourist destination thanks to its fine retail shops, dining, and upscale but sporty culture. With its world-renowned skiing and snowboarding, Aspen also offers access to multiple resorts during the ski season that makes it easy for skiers and riders to find something that is suitable for them no matter what their skill level is.

Aspen Mountain, known as AJAX to the locals, boasts a nice variety of intermediate and expert runs for skiers and snowboarders. With blue, black, and double black diamond trails, AJAX is a legendary resort in the skiing and snowboarding community. 

The local’s favorite, Aspen Highlands, is the perfect choice for skiers and riders looking to avoid the crowds. With more advanced terrain perfect for those “steep and deep” days, you can hike to the Highlands Bowl for some of the best steeps around. With a mix of beginner and intermediate runs in 1,040 acres of skiable area, these are some of the steepest hike-accessible bowls in the state.

In addition to amazing skiing and snowboarding opportunities, the area also has winter-themed festivals, activities like snowmobiling or dog sledding, ice skating, or snowshoeing. Aspen also offers some fantastic dining, shopping, and entertainment throughout the year. 


Staying in downtown Aspen affords close proximity to any of the special events or activities going on. Besides a variety of restaurants, Aspen is known for its shopping, live music, and frequent special events such as the X Games in winter and FOOD & WINE and Ideas Festival in summer. You can access and navigate downtown Aspen easily when planning your stay nearby.

The following are a few additional attractions that you might be interested in seeing during your stay:

Silver Queen Gondola

If you stay in downtown Aspen, you will be within walking distance of the Silver Queen Gondola. In the summer, visitors can ride to the top of Aspen Mountain to take in the views, play disc golf, enjoy Sunday Bluegrass Concerts, eat lunch at the Sundeck, or participate in mountaintop yoga. This easy access also makes skiing and snowboarding on AJAX convenient and hassle-free during the winter months.

Aspen Art Museum

The Aspen Art Museum is a cultural attraction well worth a visit. In lieu of a permanent collection, the museum showcases exhibitions across its six galleries. Many exhibits run concurrently, some of which relate to Colorado and its natural beauty. In addition to the museum’s main gallery, the Aspen Art Museum has a rooftop cafe that hosts occasional free live events and hosts workshops on a regular basis.

John Denver Sanctuary

Built in memory of the famous singer John Denver, this landscaped retreat features lush grass, perennial flowers, and engraved rocks dedicated to his memory. Located in the heart of Aspen, the sanctuary offers stunning views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains with winding trails throughout. Listen to music from the singer as you explore the meadows and forest and winding trails displaying local flora and fauna. This sanctuary is a beautiful place to meditate and appreciate the beauty of the area.

Aspen Saturday Market

The Aspen Saturday Market is a great place to find Colorado-grown produce and artisanal products from mid-June through mid-October in downtown Aspen. The market runs on Saturdays from 8:30AM-2PM and offers Colorado-grown fruits, vegetables, bread, meats, cheeses, flowers, and homemade crafts from local vendors. The market also features live music, food trucks, and other activities throughout the day. It’s a great way to start off the weekend by shopping for local products or grabbing a quick lunch.

The Belly Up

If you are a fan of live music, you will want to make a plan to see a show at The Belly Up. Listed as one of the “Best Clubs in America” by Rolling Stone Magazine, this intimate venue offers an experience like no other. Check out their list of upcoming acts and visit this amazing club at the base of Aspen Mountain.


Snowmass Village offers a more low-key option for families and couples that aren’t seeking a more active nightlife but want to enjoy the benefits of a beautiful mountain resort. In the summer, Snowmass truly blossoms with wide open spaces to explore and endless activities like hiking, biking, or special events. This cozy mountain town offers something for everyone, from day trips to longer weekend excursions. No matter what the season, the mountain and streets are busy with activities to keep you engaged.

Winter is what Snowmass is known for, boasting the largest of the four mountains in the area. The snow is plentiful and the variety of terrain on the 3,300 acres means options for every skill level. With cruisers, steeps, terrain parks, glades and halfpipes, Snowmass is designed to make sure you will never get bored. There is also a ski school for those brand new to the sport and Nordic Trails if downhill isn’t your thing. Don’t forget apres ski that includes relaxing hot tubs and sunny decks.


Snowmass offers year round entertainment and adventure. Winter brings downhill and cross country skiing as well as snowy activities such as snowshoeing, dogsled rides through snow-covered forests, horse-drawn sleigh rides, shopping, dining, live music and art exhibits. 

Spring and summer mean long days and mild temperatures, ideal for long hikes up wildflower covered trails or fast rides down the mountain. Fall brings mountainsides covered in gleaming gold, with ample opportunity to enjoy the mild temps doing outdoor activities before the snow starts to come in.

Snowmass Free Concert Series

This local favorite series is a summer tradition that is held on Fanny Hill at 6:30pm every Thursday evening from June 15-August 24. The outdoor series features a wide variety of music including soul, pop, funk, rock, country, bluegrass, and more!

Snowmass Rodeo

The Snowmass Rodeo is the longest running rodeo in Colorado. Taking place every Wednesday evening in the summers through mid-August, this authentic western experience offers competitions like saddle bronc and bull riding, team roping, and barrel racing. Children can participate in the Calf Scramble and Mutton Busting.

Come early for BBQ dinners and drinks, or enjoy live entertainment and demonstrations. Western Wednesdays are held June through August from 5 through 7.

Bonus Bike Nights

Later nights at the Snowmass Bike Park are enjoyed through the summer, beginning in late June. Lift-served biking by the Elk Camp Gondola continues into the evening until dusk.

Snowmass S’mores

This fun, local tradition starts on opening day and lasts through the winter season. Enjoy s’mores in Snowmass Base Village and on the Snowmass Mall by Tower Stage and Four Mountain Sports. 

Snowmass Luminescence

This free interactive light display comes to Snowmass every winter to dazzle and delight the senses. A perfect holiday event for people of all ages, Snowmass Luminescence is open daily from dusk till 9pm, beginning in mid-December. 


As we have covered, both places have a lot to offer in terms of activities. You will find plenty to do regardless of where you stay; and call us biased, but we feel that you truly can’t lose with either. If you think you want to take advantage of the dining and nightlife options more readily available in Aspen, it might be the better choice for you. If you prefer a quieter atmosphere, Snowmass might be a good fit. Regardless, you can easily go between both places as they are incredibly close, allowing you the benefit of both locations.

Plan Your Vacation with Us

Once you have decided which area to make your home base, contact Alpine Property to help you find a place to stay for your vacation. At Alpine Property, we offer rentals in Aspen and Snowmass that can accommodate any group size. We have a variety of rentals with features such as ski-in, ski-out access, private hot tubs, daily housekeeping, media rooms, cozy wood-burning fireplaces, fully-equipped kitchens, and incredible mountain views.

Browse our rentals to find your perfect home away from home. When you are ready to book, call 1-866-209-1540.

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