Snowmass is the biggest of the four mountains in the Aspen Snowmass area, and the second-largest resort in the state. With its 4 separate peaks, Snowmass is an impressive resort in its own right with a wide range of options for beginner and advanced snowboarders, including plenty of steep terrain.
Riders will find mainly advanced/intermediate runs here with a nice selection of double black diamond runs and trails through the trees, steeps, and amazing powder. If you are looking for a snowboarding fix, then Snowmass is your place.
Let our Snowmass snowboarding guide help you make the most out of your time here.
About Snowmass Mountain
Larger than the other three mountains combined, Snowmass offers mixed terrain perfect for any rider. Not only will you enjoy over 3,362 acres, but there’s plenty to make sure you rack up the vertical and maximize the laps. Three terrain parks and two halfpipes provide perfect angles for catching big air, and your choice of cruisers, glades, and steeps ensures you never have to leave.
Snowmass has unrivaled terrain variety, yet it's easy for intermediates and experts to ride together. Because of its vast size, it is important to plan your rides carefully as poor planning can result in wasted time between runs.
Snowboard Equipment and Rentals
To ensure a successful day on the mountain, you must be well-prepared. If you are new to snowboarding, making sure you are ready with everything needed will guarantee that your first experience is a great one. While you can rent most of the gear at the resort, you will want to purchase any clothing you don’t already own beforehand as selection may be more limited (and more expensive) at the resort.
Here is a quick checklist of snowboard equipment that you’ll need, especially if this is your first time out:
Snowboard and Bindings
If you don’t already own a snowboard and bindings, you can rent them from the resort. Incline Ski & Board Shop is the premier ski and snowboard rental provider in the Roaring Fork Valley with nine convenient locations (and rental delivery service) to make equipment rental hassle-free.
Depending on the style you want to try, you can rent different types of boards (alpine, freestyle, and freeride). The shorter and easier-to-control nature of freestyle boards makes them a good choice for beginners. Bindings will also come with your board. If you are renting, employees will assist you in your selection to make sure you are all set.
Snowboard boots are designed to conform to your feet specifically, so owning your own pair will be more comfortable. Your boots should be snug, but not tight to the point of restriction. If you are renting, employees can offer recommendations on fit and sizing.
There’s nothing worse than wet feet to completely ruin your day on the mountain. Thin synthetic (or wool) socks work best as thick socks can make your feet sweat and eventually cold. Socks should also be high enough to prevent irritation from your boots rubbing against your skin.
Snowboard Jacket and Pants
To protect against the snow and elements, you’ll want a jacket and pants that are weatherproof and breathable. A good jacket will also have a wind and waterproof outer shell.
Base Layers and Mid Layers
Base layers are designed to lay close to the body and wick away sweat, to keep you from getting cold. They are typically made from synthetics or wool as cotton is neither breathable nor waterproof. Particularly cold days may also require a mid-layer, such as a sweater, sweatshirt, or fleece, to act as another layer of warmth beneath your jacket.
Insulated and waterproof gloves or mittens are very important as your hands will be in contact with the snow and cold.
Protecting your eyes from the sun and wind is particularly important while snowboarding. A good pair of goggles is also necessary to protect your eyes from debris you might run into while coming down the mountain.
Lastly, don’t forget your sunscreen and lip balm!!! Cold wind and sun are brutal on your skin, especially at higher elevations.
If you are new to the sport or just looking for a refresher, Snowmass offers adult group lessons, private lessons, and lessons for kids and teens. Groups meet at Snowmass Base Village, Top of Elk Camp Gondola, or Treehouse Kids Adventure Center, depending on the lesson. Book on the website beforehand to secure your spot.
Snowmass offers a diverse and progressive lineup of terrain elements set to inspire and challenge any level of rider. Burly steeps, endless bumps, jumps, groomers, and shorter lift lines than rival resorts make Snowmass’ terrain a step above the rest.
Best Snowboarding Spots in Snowmass
The huge mountain has some of the best beginner skiing and snowboarding in Colorado, as well as some of the best powder terrain in the Aspen Snowmass area. The entire lower mountain is dedicated to beginners and intermediates which is awesome for snowboarders who are just learning but still want to explore. The Powerline Glades are widely spaced, and a nice option for intermediates looking to venture off-piste and get a taste of powder riding. Up on the High Alpine and Cirque lifts, there are plenty of options and powder stashes for advanced and expert snowboarders to explore. Powder lasts the longest far to the right of the mountain in the Burnt Mountain Glades.
Terrain Parks and Pipes
Transworld Snowboarding Magazine annually ranks Snowmass terrain parks among the world's best. The mountain offers roughly 100 features, including a 22-ft Zaugg-cut superpipe to keep riders busy.
Snowmass’ “introduction park” consists of both beginner and low-intermediate-level features. Located on the lower Blue Grouse Trail along the Village Express Lift, this park includes a beginner halfpipe, jib features, as well as snow features ranging from extra small to medium, perfect for newbies or mini-shredders learning the ropes.
A step up from Lowdown, Makaha Park consists mainly of low-intermediate to intermediate features ranging in size from medium to large. Located on lower Blue Grouse Trail along the Village Express lift, this park includes roughly 25 features in total, a triple line of jumps, and around 15 jib features, perfect for learning new tricks and working on progression.
This park is the real deal with advanced and expert features including the 22-ft Superpipe, cut nightly by a Zaugg. Located below the Coney Glade Lift, you’ll find around 50 features here ranging in size from medium to large. Be on the lookout for well-cut hip and volcano transitions, bank turns, and a constantly evolving mix of rails, boxes, wallrides, and staircases winding their way down Banzai ridge across the bridge into the jumps and hip features. This plus a load of new jibs each season make this park ideal for perfecting tricks and upping your skills.
Snowmass Half Pipes
Snowmass Superpipe and park usually open in early January, giving you a chance to ride the rails and rip the pipes like some of snowboarding’s legendary athletes.
Tips for Riders
Learning at every level of snowboarding will make you a better rider and help you advance and adapt to new skills. Here are some pro tips to keep you fresh and improve your technical skills.
Proper, well-fitting gear is a must. Renting equipment at this level is probably your best bet, as shops will tailor your gear to your level of riding. If you are going to buy, let your salesperson know your ability and what terrain you plan to ride, then let them make recommendations; gear doesn’t need to be top-of-the-line at this point. Get boots that are snug and secure, but not too tight.
When it comes to clothing, newbies tend to stay on the lower half of the mountain which isn’t as exposed to the elements. Go for breathable, adjustable layers that can be easily taken off or put on as the weather changes. If this is your first time, the snowboarding learning curve tends to be shorter but more intense than skiing. Butt pads, knee pads, and wrist guards can protect against falls which are part of the learning process.
Lastly, if you are new or even “new-ish” to snowboarding, taking a lesson is well worth your time and money. Experts have tips and tricks for learning about balance, perfecting your toe edge and heel edge, linking your traverses and turns, and even falling and getting back up properly. This can get you ready to ride blues more quickly!
Now that you have the basics of sliding and turning, you have almost limitless learning potential. Intermediate skills span a wide range of terrain and conditions, so remember to go back to basics when starting on unfamiliar territory.
Once you start on blue runs, you will learn how to carve your turns by following the same basic movements as before but resisting the urge to skid at the end of the turn. Ride your edge across the hill, flexing your knees and moving your hips out over the edge to increase speed. Be patient as the slower the body movements, the faster the carve.
Looking to hit the park? Learning to jump is key. Once you can comfortably jump and softly land on a flat board, you have the basics. Continue to practice and get comfortable with timing, body position, and air time.
Once you are ready to transition from blue to black runs, controlling the timing, intensity, and duration of your turns is key as you are going from mostly groomed to mostly ungroomed terrain. At this level, you can also start to experiment with equipment. Technology variety expands dramatically at this level, so demo away. Besides the variety of shapes, lengths, and flexes, more advanced boards can be terrain-specific. Fish-style boards are great for powder, while twin-shaped and symmetrical flex pattern boards are ideal for park and pipe.
Now that you have the skillset, you can try riding on different terrain. Powder is about as good as it gets when you are riding, just resist the temptation to shift too much of your weight back to keep the tip from dipping into the snow; this makes maneuvering difficult.
In the bumps, make your turns nice and round but keep it flatter than on groomers so you can skid between to maintain control. Trees are super technical and it’s important to look where you are going and gauge the space between the trees so you can adjust the length of your turns as needed.
Best Times to Visit Snowmass
Ski and snowboard season in Aspen Snowmass starts around Thanksgiving and runs through the beginning of April, but December through April offers the most consistent snowfall and best conditions for snowboarding. With nearly 200 inches of snow per year, conditions are pristine and temps comfortable, around the mid-30s.
For up-to-date information on snowfall and conditions, check the snow report.
Ready to plan that family ski trip? At Alpine Property, we offer rental properties that can accommodate any group size, small or large. Choose from vacation rentals with ski-in/ski-out access onto Snowmass Mountain, private hot tubs, daily housekeeping, media rooms, cozy wood-burning fireplaces, fully-equipped kitchens for family meals, incredible mountain views, spacious interiors, and elegant mountain décor.