Are you looking for an alternative to your Disney vacation? Check out the Aspen/Snowmass area for a safe, fun, educational and exciting alternative to your typical family vacation! The Roaring Fork Valley is chock full of amazing activities for all ages! Just imagine you can be out skiing one of the four world class resorts while your children are making life long memories and creating new friendships that will last a lifetime. Here is a four day guide to getting the most out of your family vacation while here in town!
Start at the Treehouse in Snowmass; a 17 million dollar, two-story, 25,000 square foot kid’s adventure center and where Ski School meets for lessons! Its boasts a family friendly climbing gym, teen activity rooms, and a host of themed rooms geared for children 8 weeks and older. The facility is linked to a system of seven new lifts, including kid-friendly gondolas and magic carpets to provide a seamless on-mountain learning experience for adults and children alike! Some of the favorite rooms not to be missed include Eagle Peak, a wide open multi- purpose room that is home to a full cafeteria, allowing children to indulge in some of winter’s favorite foods, hot chocolate with marshmallows and Rice Krispy treats! The Alpine Climb Room features a custom designed children’s museum, Aspen Leaf Climber and Nature Shack. It gives kids the opportunity to exercise their bodies and minds all while focusing on the mountains environment. Finally the Bear den is geared towards children ages 3 and 4. It is home to a puppet show theater, a napping loft, and offers age appropriate interactive games! The Treehouse is a must see for children and adults alike!
After your first day on the hill, it’s time for some night time activities. Wednesday evenings the Treehouse hosts Movie Night from 6 – 9PM. Thirty dollars includes dinner and a movie! They also do a Smores and Stories night around the outdoor fire pit located in the Snowmass Base Village, another great activity to finish off your first night in town!
Buttermilk makes for a perfect second day location to make some turns with the entire family! It is a unique ski area that allows beginners and experts alike to ride one single lift, and find skiing for all abilities off the summit! Be sure to check out some of the interactive kid’s trails, children’s race areas, picnic areas and even terrain parks geared to the younger population, with jumps and rollers to make any kid feel like they will be the next X Games superstar! Buttermilk has hosted ESPN’s X Games for the past 12 years running and features the halfpipe and jumps ridden by the pros, providing sights that the kids and adults will stare at in amazement!
After another long and tiring day skiing, be sure to pop in the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC), just a short 5 minute drive from the base of Buttermilk. Here adults and children alike will find something to spark their interest. The ARC is a state-of-the-art recreation center home to a rock-climbing wall, NHL sized hockey rink, pools, tennis courts and even a lazy river! There is a wide array of classes offered including guitar lessons, art classes, swim lessons, and even karate classes! If your day skiing has completely wiped you out, enjoy an inner tube float on the lazy river! Other amenities include; water slides, diving boards, weight room, sauna, steam rooms, and even batting cages! The ARC is a location where people of all ages gather to play under one roof!
Day three should be spent as a recuperation day. Take a day off the hill to rest those tired muscles and to explore what the old mining town of Aspen has to offer! The Aspen center for Environmental Studies (ACES) is located a stone’s throw from Main St, something you will quickly forget when exploring the quiet and tranquil Hallum Lake. The lake is the heart and hub of what ACES is all about – teaching adults and children the importance of our environment! On site naturalists offer tours of the lake and explain the different animal habitats in the area. Be sure to stop by the Birds of Prey exhibit and say hello to the resident Golden Eagle and Grey Horned Owl, both truly amazing animals. ACES promises to be both fascinating and educational at the same time!
Don’t miss the Aspen Candy Company located in the heart of the pedestrian mall in the center of Aspen! The store is packed with over 600 different types of candy with something for everyone. Their business model is to make everyone feel “like a kid in a candy store!” They have also opened a location in the Snowmass Base Village so you can feed your sweet tooth no matter where you are in town!
After filling up on all this sugar, head over to the Silver Circle Skating Arena. The Rockefeller Skating Rink of Aspen! Enjoy outdoor skating from 10am-10 pm, 7 days a week at the skating circle. Rentals are also available!
Back to the mountains… ACES also offer guided snowshoe tours, as well as naturalists’ tours on both Aspen Mountain and Snowmass! Take a tour with a knowledgeable guide that will teach you about wildlife, avalanches and more. There is a minimum age of 7 for these tours and you must possess intermediate skiing skills. If your children don’t meet these requirements be sure to check out the Wapiti Wildlife Center atop the Elk Camp ski lift (Snowmass) to learn about these things as well! It also acts as a warming hut, so stop in, take a peek, learn something new, and warm up all at the same time! The center is always free and always opens to the public!
Dinner plans? What better way to end your family ski vacation than with a family twilight snow cat dinner ride! It’s an evening filled with sing-a-longs and a fantastic BBQ dinner atop Snowmass! You will be escorted up the mountain on a custom built snow cat, as a full BBQ dinner awaits you at the top! This will be a dinner that no-one will forget!
There are too many family activities to list here! Be sure to check out Aspensnowmass.com for more information! The Aspen/Snowmass area has something for everyone, especially children! It will be a trip that they will NEVER forget!