Living in Snowmass: Things to Do and See in Snowmass, Colorado
Snowmass–Luxury Infused with Joie de Vive and an Alps Vibe
Everything You Wanted to Know About Living in Snowmass
Snowmass, just a few miles down the road from Aspen, is up there with the top ski resorts when it comes to luxury. The shopping and dining are five-star. Homes have been listed for upwards of $20 million. Yet, the town celebrates good old fashioned fun in a way that is both endearing and unexpected.
What to Do and See in Snowmas?
Given the expansive range of terrain, Snowmass effortlessly accommodates the full gamut of winter snow activities such as cross-country skiing, telemark skiing, snowshoeing, sleigh rides, dog sled tours, and snowmobiles. In the summer, try hiking, mountain biking, rafting, horseback riding, trail running, fishing, rock climbing, ballooning or rafting, and just about anything else one can do in the outdoors.
Snowmass has a rodeo, the longest running in all of Colorado. Every Wednesday in the summer, people come to watch professional bronco riding, roping, bull riding, and barrel racing. Again, the children are welcomed with a petting zoo and event where they race to pull a ribbon off a calf’s tail to the cheers of the crowd.
The town’s long-standing Mardi Gras celebration (we are talking 20-plus years) begins at 7 a.m. with an uphill race in which contestants slog up the mountain using cross-country skis, snowshoes, running shoes and, reportedly, once even a pogo stick. Awards are given for fastest time, the slowest time, and the best costume, which is why rainbow-colored wigs, brightly hued shirts and pants, not to mention feather boas and masks, are on full display. Some 2,000 people participate each year. In the afternoon, at the town mall, there is also a Mardi Gras bead toss (along with a showering of toys for the kids), a parade with floats, and a fireworks display.
There are the weekly free concerts in the summer, presenting music genres as diverse as reggae to classical jazz. At least half of the concerts are designated “family friendly” and these include a bounce house for the kids, face painting and hula hooping while parents kick back on the lawn and enjoy the music. There is also a dedicated area at these concerts for those who want to bring their pets in the evening.
For skiing and snowboarding, Snowmass is aptly named: the resort is, indeed, massive.
Totaling 3,132 acres, it is the second largest in the nation, replete with groomed runs, bumps, steeps, drops, bowls, chutes, acres of terrain parks, and a half pipe with some 50 percent of the mountain’s runs designated blue for the intermediate skiers, making Snowmass also a mountain for the masses. It often flies under the radar for expert and extreme runs, of which there are plenty, largely because Aspen Mountain is the holy grail for double black diamond skiers.
The same company that operates Snowmass also operates Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk, as welcoming to new skiers as its Buttermilk name suggests. Just miles apart, the four ski areas essentially operate as one to easily offer prime skiing on different terrains for every level—from advanced to beginner.
What Is the History of Snowmass?
In the 1880s, Charles Hoaglund and his family emigrated from Sweden, hired to close down Aspen’s Smuggler mine after the silver crash. He bought a ranch. His daughter Hildur rode to school on horseback. Raising sheep and cattle and growing hay, today, several buildings from Hoaglund’s ranch have been incorporated into the renowned Anderson Ranch Arts Center, offering workshops, Artist in Residence programs, studio space, as well as children's programs.
In 1958, the Olympic skier Bill Janss began buying up ranches with plans to build a European-style ski community, reminiscent of his boyhood in the Alps, where primo skiing, nature, and a vibrant lifestyle converged. The success of Aspen as an emerging ski destination was not lost on Janss, either. The Snowmass story began in 1967, opening with media fanfare and lift tickets costing $6.50.
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