Your family’s guide to visiting Aspen this winter with kids is finally here! Famous for its upscale ski resorts, high-end restaurants, and luxury boutiques, this incredible destination is located within Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. As such, it offers a variety of terrain to skiers of all abilities, from beginners to seasoned pros. Of course, visiting Aspen with kids requires a little more planning. With four mountains offering a different experience, it can be difficult to decide which is best for your family. That’s where this handy guide comes in! Here, we’ve covered everything you need to know about skiing in Aspen as a family, including how to get there, getting around, and the best hotels for families. We’ve also included information on each of Aspen’s four mountain ranges, plus what to do off the slopes. Keep reading for your family’s Guide To Skiing in Aspen With Kids This Winter!
How to Reach Aspen with Kids
If you’re wondering how to reach Aspen with kids, you’re in the right place. By plane, the closest option is Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, which is just three miles from the town of Aspen and 6 miles from Snowmass Village. Featuring service from American or United Airlines, it offers direct flights to Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Dallas/Ft. Worth. Many hotels also offer an airport shuttle to and from Aspen Airport, so be sure to look into where you’re staying. Families can also consider grabbing an Uber or renting a car if they’re comfortable driving in the snow. Alternatively, you can also fly to Eagle County Regional Airport and take a car service to Aspen. Families flying into Denver International Airport can take a car service too, but this will be a much farther ride. Bustang also offers a bus service from Denver to nearby Glenwood Springs.
Transportation within Aspen
Next on our guide to visiting Aspen in the winter with kids is transportation during your stay. One easy way to get around Aspen is with the free shuttle service, which offers eight different routes. Families can take it downtown, to the ski lift, Hunter Creek, and more destinations. For areas outside of Aspen, the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority offers bus service between Aspen and Rifle, also connecting to the town of Snowmass. Service between Aspen and Snowmass Village is free. Snowmass Village and Glenwood Springs also offer individual transit services within their communities. There’s also a four-mountain connector to connect Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass Mountain, and Buttermilk Mountain.
Aspen’s Four Mountains: Which Is Best For Families?
Families skiing in Aspen with kids may be wondering where to start planning. With four different mountains, each with a distinct vibe, where you spend your Aspen vacation with kids largely depends on your interests and skill levels. First, you have Aspen Mountain, which flanks downtown Aspen. Then, there’s Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk Mountain, and Snowmass Mountain. Luckily, all four mountains belong to the Ikon Pass Program, so you can get discounts wherever you go. Keep reading to learn more about Aspen’s four mountains and which one is right for your family!
Regardless of which mountain you choose when visiting Aspen this winter with kids, it’s important to know more about Aspen as a town as well. Not to mention, where to spend time off the slopes. Here, we also break down the difference between Snowmass Village and downtown Aspen for families. Of course, both are accessible from each other, so feel free to venture out!
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1. All About Aspen Mountain With Kids
Best for Intermediate or Advanced Skiers
Families who want to visit Aspen Mountain with kids will need these tips! Keep reading for information on downtown Aspen, where to ski on Aspen Mountain with kids, and more!
Despite the bustling along its Main Street, downtown Aspen retains a cozy, cosmopolitan feel. It’s adjacent to Aspen Mountain and houses most of the family-friendly restaurants in town. Many parents prefer the dining, shopping, and nightlife scene here. Additionally, most major hotels in the area are situated nearby. Downtown Aspen is also within walking distance of the gondolas for Aspen Mountain, so it’s easy for families who want a quick break off-mountain before returning.
Skiing on Aspen Mountain With Kids
Towering over downtown Aspen, Aspen Mountain provides the ideal getaway for families who want a mixture of intermediate and advanced terrain and quick access to local restaurants, art, and more. Since there are no green runs on Aspen Mountain, we only recommend this mountain for intermediate or advanced skiers. Terrain highlights include Walsh’s area. Located on the east side of the mountain, it is steep and perfect right after a snowstorm. Bump skiers can also zigzag down the “Long Face” (Face of Bell). Or, test your quads on a 3,267-foot vertical drop on Dipsy Doodle to Pump House Hill, Spar Gulch, Kleenex Corner, and Little Nell!
Where To Rent Ski Equipment Near Aspen Mountain For Kids
Before you start skiing in Aspen with kids, you need to rent equipment (if you didn’t bring yours along)! If you’re skiing on Aspen Mountain, you can get your rentals from Incline Ski Shop. Four Mountain Sports also has a location near Aspen Mountain for families to take advantage of when visiting. Alongside rentals, they also offer equipment storage and overnight transfers too.
Best Ski Schools near Aspen Mountain for Kids
There are no group lessons for kids on Aspen Mountain. However, you can find private lessons for skiing and snowboarding instead. Intermediate-level skiers who want to learn how to ski moguls on Aspen Mountain can also enroll in Bumps for Boomers. This 4-day clinic is perfect for anyone who wants to sharpen their skiing skills! Keep in mind skiing on Aspen Mountain is more expensive than Aspen’s other mountains.
Where to Stay Near Aspen Mountain with Kids
Families who want to stay near Aspen Mountain can book a room at the St. Regis Aspen Resort. Featuring a heated outdoor pool, it’s only a 3-minute walk to the Aspen Mountain Gondolas. The Little Nell is another lovely luxury resort at the foot of Aspen Mountain. This chic, ski-in/ski-out hotel is just a few minutes from the Silver Queen Gondola. You can also stay at The Residences at The Little Nell. Hotel Jerome, also located at the foot of Aspen Mountain, has a beautiful property and is just a 10-minute walk from Aspen Ski lifts. Limelight Hotel is also within walking distance of the slopes at Aspen Mountain. Families also love The Gant or the Hyatt Residence Club Grand Aspen. For a more affordable option, try the Aspen Mountain Lodge or the Tyrolean Lodge.
Where to Eat near Aspen Mountain with Kids
With downtown Aspen nearby, the dining options near Aspen Mountain are tasty and plentiful. For breakfast or a light lunch before skiing, stop by Paradise Bakey & Cafe. This local downtown staple has options kids will love, including breakfast burritos, pastries, and other sweets. Big Wrap is another nearby option for a casual lunch. For something more upscale, head to White House Tavern. Kids can snack on sandwiches or burgers while parents enjoy a drink. For dinner or some Apres-ski cocktails, visit the Ajax Tavern, located next to the Silver Queen Gondola. Families who want a typical Alpine-style meal after skiing on Aspen Mountain shouldn’t miss the cheese fondue and sweet and savory crepes at French Alpine Bistro – Crêperie du Village. For a date night downtown, try the sushi at Matsuhisa!
Things to Do near Aspen Mountain with Kids Besides Skiing
Aspen Mountain is great for skiing, but when it’s time to have fun off the slopes, we have some great suggestions for families. Keep reading to find out the best things to do near Aspen Mountain with kids besides skiing!
Enjoy A Winter Festival
Compared to nearby mountains, Aspen Mountain retains an old-world, Nordic charm. You can experience multiple town traditions while you’re on vacation, but we suggest saving time to attend the annual winter festival. Winterskol, a four-day festival from January 13th through 16th, welcomes families with live music, parades, and other events. It’s a great way to experience Aspen this winter with kids. Not to mention, it is a ton of fun for all ages!
Try Another Thrilling Winter Sport Like Snowshoeing or Ice Skating
Families who are skiing on Aspen Mountain can also take advantage of other winter sports. For example, take a guided snowshoeing lesson with a naturalist to learn more about the ecology of the area. Another unique activity Aspen offers is ice climbing, available through Aspen Expeditions. Even beginners can try this unique and thrilling experience. Kids will love climbing up frozen waterfalls on the Rio Grande Trail, near Aspen Mountain and downtown Aspen!
Ice skating is another fun activity families can enjoy near Aspen Mountain! Just steps away from the mountain, you can experience the winter magic at Silver Circle, an outdoor rink decorated like a fairy tale. Skate rentals are available for kids. Take a spin around the ice, then warm up with a hot chocolate from a shop nearby. Families who would rather go ice skating indoors can visit the Aspen Ice Garden or Lewis Ice Arena.
2. All About Snowmass Mountain With Kids
Best for All Ski Levels, Beginner to Advanced
Snowmass Mountain is one of the most family-friendly mountains in Aspen. As a plus, it’s also only 15 minutes by car from downtown Aspen. Here, we share all the information you need to know about Snowmass Village, including where to ski on Snowmass Mountain with kids, where to stay, and more. You’ll quickly learn why this is a popular option amongst families headed to Aspen this winter with kids.
Families with kids who are beginner skiers may prefer Snowmass Mountain, and usually spend a lot of time in Snowmass Village. This small mountain town resides in a tranquil valley, perfect for families who want a calm getaway. Many of the hotels provide ski-in/ski-out access to the slopes on Snowmass Mountain, making it easy to access too. Most restaurants, shops, or other family-friendly activities are located inside the Base Village and Snowmass Village Mall. A free shuttle service lets you easily travel back and forth between Snowmass Mountain and Snowmass Village.
Skiing on Snowmass Mountain with Kids
Snowmass Mountain is the largest of Aspen’s four mountains, and thus one of the most popular. Families of varying skill levels often prefer skiing on Snowmass because it offers a variety of terrain across 3,000+ acres, from beginner to advanced. Snowmass has more activities and restaurant options too. If you’re looking for some easy runs, be sure to check out the kid-friendly trails in the trees off Adams Avenue or on Assay Hill. Kids of all ages can also explore more than a dozen trails throughout Snowmass Mountain’s three terrain parks: Lowdown Park, Makaha Park, and Snowmass Park. There’s also plenty of blue and black terrain throughout the mountain for older kids, teens, or parents. For a bit of a challenge, try the “noom groom” cruisers or the powder fields of the Hanging Valley. Advanced skiers can attempt to tackle the double-black terrain off the High Alpine lift!
Best Ski Schools near Snowmass for Kids
Snowmass surely has one of the best ski schools in Aspen for kids! Beginners who are skiing at Snowmass Mountain can take introductory lessons at the Snowmass Ski & Snowboard School. Child group skiing lessons start as young as two and a half and are divided by ages. Teens between 13 and 17 can also take lessons. Group lessons for beginners meet at the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center. Kids who want a more well-rounded skiing experience can enroll in Aspen’s Ski Camp, The Mountain Explorers. They’ll feel like an expert on the slopes by the end of this 5-day experience on Snowmass Mountain! Though many consider skiing in Aspen with kids to be extremely expensive, Snowmass Mountain actually offers cheaper rates for classes than other popular ski destinations such as Park City, Vail, Breckenridge, etc.
Where to Rent Ski Equipment near Snowmass for Kids
If families need to rent ski equipment near Snowmass Mountain, Four Mountain Sports has locations across Aspen, including one near Snowmass Mountain. In addition to ski rentals, families can also take advantage of equipment storage and overnight transfers to the mountain of your choice. Four Mountain Sports is also the only rental shop at the base of all four mountains, so whether you’re skiing on Snowmass, Highlands, Buttermilk, or Aspen Mountain, they’ve got you covered!
Where to Stay near Snowmass with Kids
Need somewhere to stay near Snowmass Mountain? Families love the Viceroy Snowmass, a ski-in/ski-out hotel just a few minutes away from the mountain base. Plus, it has a pool that kids will love! Additionally, Viceroy Snowmass is only 15 minutes from the nearest airport and five minutes away from the Snowmass Ski School! There are also plenty of condos available for rent on VRBO for families. Certainly, having the additional space of a VRBO to spread out and dry gear is a plus when visiting Aspen this winter with kids.
RELATED ARTICLE: Best Ski-In/Ski-Out Resorts in the U.S. For Families
Where to Eat near Snowmass with Kids
Families looking for where to eat in Aspen with kids will find some delicious options. Elk Camp Restaurant is the go-to spot for families skiing on Snowmass Mountain due to its convenient on-mountain location. Other restaurants are located within the Snowmass Village Mall. Some family-friendly options include the Fuel Cafe, great for a casual lunch or dinner, and Big Hoss Grill for all-day BBQ. For something a bit more upscale, be sure to check out Krabloonik for a great seafood dinner.
Things to Do in Snowmass with Kids Besides Skiing
Skiing is fun, but it’s not the only thing to do in Aspen with kids during the winter! Next time you’re looking for family-friendly winter activities off the slopes, consider adding the following options to your Colorado itinerary. Here are our parent-approved suggestions near Snowmass!
Go Ice Skating
Ice skating is definitely one of the best things to do in Snowmass with kids this winter! When little ones want to take a spin around the ice, be sure to visit the ice skating rink in Snowmass Village. With free rentals and a cozy atmosphere, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a winter night as a family. Outdoor fireplaces will keep you warm, and you can even stop for a snack or hot chocolate after you’re done. The rink is located right in front of The Limelight Hotel, so it’s especially convenient for guests!
Enjoy Dinner and a Snowcat Ride
For a unique dining experience in Aspen with your family, book a dinner and a snowcat ride. This fun activity is available on both Snowmass Mountain and Aspen Highlands, depending on what kind of meal you’re looking for. For a cozy dinner, head to Snowmass Mountain to visit Lynn Britt Cabin, showcasing a quaint Western ambiance and a weekly “chuckwagon dinner” for families. An experienced guide will usher you to the restaurant on an exciting snowcat ride up the mountain. It’ll surely be a night everyone remembers when visiting Aspen this winter with kids!
NOTE: public dinners are canceled for the 2022 season, but you can still book a private experience.
See Maroon Bells on a Snowmobile
Maroon Bells is an iconic Aspen attraction for families. It’s no surprise it’s also one of the best things to do in Aspen with kids during the winter. Though it’s a little easier to reach with a car during the spring or summer, you can still see this scenic area in the winter with the help of a snowmobile. Multiple outfitters around Aspen offer this experience, such as T-Lazy 7 Ranch, which has a two-hour experience for kids four and up. You can visit Maroon Bells, or even see Independence Pass on a longer, three-and-a-half-hour tour. Both provide spectacular scenery in the winter, especially when Maroon Lake is frozen over. If you’d rather visit somewhere else on a snowmobile, Western Adventures offers a special tour of Lenado, a nearby ghost mining town. You can even snowmobile through the backcountry of Snowmass with Blazing Adventures!
Try Another Thrilling Winter Sport Like Tubing or Snowbiking
Daredevil kids will love the array of exciting winter sports near Snowmass Mountain. For an epic ride with a nice view, cruise down the tubing lanes on Snowmass Mountain, located at The Meadows at Elk Camp. Or, book a dog sledding adventure through Krabloonik! Anyone older than seven can also take a snowshoeing lesson with a naturalist on Snowmass Mountain. Meanwhile, cross-country skiers will have a blast on the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System. Kids who are twelve and up can also embark on a unique snowbiking trip. This activity may sound daunting, but it actually has an easy learning curve. If you’re worried, you can book a lesson to gain confidence and comfort with this new activity.
RELATED ARTICLE: The Best Colorado Snow Tubing and Sledding Spots for Families
Ride the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster
Kids who want to experience a thrill during their Aspen vacation can ride the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster! Located adjacent to the Elk Camp Restaurant on Snowmass Mountain, it’s accessible via the Elk Camp Gondola. On this exhilarating ride, families can make their way through over a mile of the scenic forest at an incredible speed! Kids will have a blast zooming through the trees. Plus, it provides a great view of the Aspen landscape. No wonder it’s one of the best things to do in Aspen with kids during the winter! Sometimes the coaster closes early due to overcapacity, so stop by before 1 PM for the best chance to ride. Other guided experiences include Aspen Powder Tours and more family fun!
Snack on S’mores or Other Cold-Weather Treats
Nothing says Apres-ski quite like s’mores! After you’ve worked up an appetite on the slopes all day, be sure to stop by one of many celebrations. All on-mountain restaurants on Snowmass Mountain have kids’ menus, so you can enjoy a nice view with your meal. For a sweet treat, keep an eye out for branded s’mores carts in Snowmass Base Village and by the Snowmass Mall starting at 3:30 PM every day. You can also find free hot cider at the top of the Sam’s Knob and Village Express Lifts!
Visit an Educational Center
Between kids’ and learning centers, Aspen has plenty of indoor locations if you want to kill some time off the slopes. Here are our favorite suggestions!
Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center
For little kids who aren’t old enough to ski yet, the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Center has you covered. Located in Snowmass Village, this multi-level childcare facility welcomes kids between the ages of eight weeks and four years old. Supervised activities will keep them engaged and interacting with others their own age, between storytimes, games, and more. Kids between the ages of two and four can also take ski lessons from here if you want to get them started on the slopes.
Ice Age Discovery Center
Transport your family back in time at the Ice Age Discovery Center! Located inside the Snowmass Mall, this educational facility features a variety of interactive displays to appeal to children. Not only will they have the chance to learn more about Snowmass during the Ice Age, but they’ll also get a glimpse at a cool collection of fossils. Perfect for occupying your time indoors, visitors can see how bones are preserved, dug up, and more fun facts. Best of all, it’s free! Certainly, this is one of the best indoor things to do in Aspen with kids.
Wapiti Wildlife Center
Animal enthusiasts consider the Wapiti Wildlife Center one of the best things to do in Aspen with kids during the winter. Located at the top of the Elk Camp Lift on Snowmass Mountain, this family-friendly facility teaches visitors more about the local wildlife population. It’s the perfect place to warm up after skiing and the exhibits will interest kids of all ages. If you book a snowshoe tour with a naturalist, you may already have the Wapiti Wildlife Center on your itinerary.
Attend a Holiday Event
Celebrate winter in Aspen by attending a fun holiday event! Throughout the season, families will find plenty of kid-friendly events to enjoy together. On select nights during the winter season, visitors gather around Elk Camp on Snowmass Mountain to commemorate Ullr Nights. This event honors the Ullr, the Norse God of Snow, and features sweet treats by the bonfire alongside other activities like fire dancers. From December through the end of February, families can also enjoy Snowmass Luminescence every night from sunset to 9:00 PM. This interactive art and light display illuminate the mountain in gorgeous colors!
3. All About Buttermilk Mountain with Kids
Best for Begining Skiers
Families looking for beginner-friendly slopes for kids can’t go wrong with Buttermilk Mountain, which is only 13 minutes away from downtown Aspen. Here we’ve included information on nearby hotels, where to ski on Buttermilk Mountain with kids, and more!
Skiing on Buttermilk Mountain with Kids
Buttermilk Mountain is widely considered one of the best beginner mountains in Aspen. Here, kids can learn to master the basics, whether it’s learning to ski uphill or watching the expert freestylers at the X Games. Terrain parks like the S3 Park provide just the right amount of challenge for little ones looking for an introduction to the slopes. Or, start them off on Panda Peak, then graduate to the variety of green runs along West Buttermilk. They can also try uphilling from the Tiehack base on the east side of the mountain, a popular place for powder skiing. This side is a bit steeper, and you’ll also find thrilling slopes like Javelin or Racer’s Edge. Most beginner ski lessons meet either on Buttermilk Mountain or Snowmass Mountain.
Ski Schools near Buttermilk Mountain for Kids
Similar to the Snowmass Ski School, many child group skiing lessons also take place on Buttermilk Mountain. Lessons are available for kids as young as two and a half. Teens between 13 and 17 can also take group lessons on Buttermilk Mountain. Private lessons for skiing and snowboarding are also available at Buttermilk Mountain. Participants usually meet The Hideout.
Where to Rent Ski Equipment near Buttermilk Mountain for Kids
Need somewhere to rent ski equipment near Buttermilk Mountain for kids? Four Mountain Sports has another location near the mountain, so you won’t have to worry about your gear! Families can also take advantage of equipment storage and overnight transfers to the mountain of their choice.
Where to Stay Near Buttermilk Mountain with Kids
A lot of families who ski on Buttermilk Mountain choose to stay in the town of Aspen since the two mountains are very close to each other. In fact, many hotels will have shuttles to take you to Buttermilk Mountain. You can also take local transportation to access Buttermilk Mountain. However, if you’re looking for ski-in/ski-out access to Buttermilk, book a room at the Inn at Aspen. It also has an airport shuttle service and an outdoor pool! You can also find rentals at the Inn at Aspen using VRBO when visiting Aspen this winter with kids.
4. All About Aspen Highlands for Families
Best for Advanced Skiers
Curious about Aspen Highlands? If you have expert skiers in your family, this advanced mountain, which is 9 minutes away from downtown Aspen, may be right for you. You can stay at Aspen downtown or Snowmass and spend your time skiing at Aspen Highlands. Access Aspen Highlands using the town shuttle to maximize your time on the slopes. Here, we’ve outlined the best hotels near Aspen Highlands, skiing, and things to do.
Skiing on Aspen Highlands for Families
Aspen Highlands boasts bucket-list-worthy terrain. Be warned, skiing here isn’t for the faint of heart. Typically, families don’t visit this mountain. Often considered a “local’s mountain,” Aspen Highlands has no green runs, so it’s definitely better suited for teens or advanced skiers. However, if you’re looking for a truly thrilling skiing experience, you can’t beat the backcountry skiing of the Highland Bowl. Or, try your hand at the steep slopes of the Olympic Bowl, which provide amazing views of Maroon Bells! Finally, skiers who want to perfect their moguls can’t miss Scarlett’s Run.
Where to Rent Ski Equipment near Aspen Highlands for Families
If you need to rent ski equipment near Aspen Highlands, Four Mountain Sports has you covered. In addition to rentals, they offer equipment storage and overnight transfers too.
Where to Stay near Aspen Highlands for Families
If you need somewhere to stay near Aspen Highlands for families, consider choosing The Ritz-Carlton Club, Aspen Highlands. It’s a great ski-in/ski-out option. Plus, it offers perks like a ski valet, heated pool, and more. Alternatively, you can also stay downtown Aspen and take the shuttle to Aspen Highlands.
Things to Do near Aspen Highlands for Families Besides Skiing
If you need something to do near Aspen Highlands when you’re done skiing, here is our favorite suggestion for families!
Enjoy Dinner and a Snowcat Ride
Families looking for a unique experience on Aspen Highlands can book dinner and a snowcat ride. Located on-mountain, Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro is the best dining experience for families exploring Aspen Highlands. Here, dine on exquisite food, while enjoying an authentic Alpine atmosphere. In fact, you will even enjoy views of the iconic Maroon Bells.
NOTE: Please be aware that public dinners are canceled for the 2022 season, but you can still book a private experience.
We hope you found this Guide To Skiing in Aspen With Kids This Winter informative! Whether you’re an advanced skier or a beginner looking to experience Colorado this winter, we’re sure you’ll enjoy this winter wonderland. Have a wonderful time in Aspen with your kids!
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
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