Aspen is one of those places that has drawn my family back multiple times during the holiday season. There is something special about watching the snow fall across this particular Colorado landscape that brings peace to everyone in the family, whether or not they happen to be avid skiers. For those of you looking for a winter wonderland, we know this place won't disappoint. Here are 10 reasons why Aspen should be your next winter vacation with kids.
Your Aspen Lift Ticket gives you access to four mountains: Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. This gives you plenty of variety with a level that suits everyone from the very new to the very experienced skier. For the kids, our favorite happens to be Snowmass. This mountain gives Kid Allergy just enough of a challenge and has an excellent ski school for our youngest son who is just starting out.
Not a fan of skiing? Don't worry, there are passes for you too! Make sure to grab a Sightseeing Ticket for access to gondola rides, and a $10 credit that can be used for dining on the top of any of the four mountains on the day the pass is used.
Lobby Bar S'mores at the St. Regis Aspen Resort
There is nothing like spending Apres Ski at this historic upscale lobby bar of the St. Regis Aspen Resort in the heart of the town of Aspen. We love looking forward to this little treat which is perfect to entertain the kids while the grown ups enjoy an adult cocktail. Gluten Free? Make sure to bring your own gluten free graham crackers since they don't carry anything there.
Kid Friendly Snowshoe Tours
The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies provides educational and kid friendly snowshoe tours departing from Elk Camp. We found this was perfect for our last group of kids ranging from eight years of age to fourteen. Our tour guide got the kids involved with hands on activities during the walk plus posed lots of questions to make our kids ponder. Best part? You get a hot cocoa break in the middle of the trek!
Ever ridden in a Snow Cat? Well now you can! Family Dinner excursions are held at Lynn Britt Cabin. The kids love loading into this enormous vehicle and making their way through the dark night to a magical house in the woods. It may be called a "chuck wagon" dinner but don't be too discouraged. Think high-end comfort food instead of trail ride grub. Plus, they even have options for the gluten free folks and pescatarians in your group.
This is an evening celebration with multiple family activities in Snowmass. My kids couldn't get enough of the snow tubing here and it is suitable for kids over 38 inches or taller. Plus, you can ride the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster as long as you are 38 inches or taller with a driver 16 years or older. Got smaller ones? Kids aged 3 to 5 years of age will enjoy trying their hand at snow biking. When you need to warm up all ages can enjoy the fire dancers, live music, bonfire, and hot chocolate.
Ski in Ski Out Lodging
I am a big fan of convenience when you are traveling with kids. As we ski Snowmass, we like to stay there because it gives us the opportunity for ski in and ski out directly from our hotel. Our favorites here? Westin Snowmass & Limelight Hotel.
These two hotels offer free airport shuttle, ski in ski out location, equipment rental on site, lobby bar for Apres Ski, kids club, and rooms with wardrobes large enough to store ski clothing and equipment for the whole family.
How to choose? Go for the Westin Snowmass if you are looking for a great kids club. We recommend selecting the Limelight Hotel Snowmass if free access to the 5 story indoor rock climbing wall is more your style.
Free Bus System
We love that transportation between the mountain towns of Aspen is free, clean, convenient, and comfortable. Plus, if you ask my kids, riding the bus is an attraction all to itself. This means you have access to a variety of activities and restaurants without having to drop tons cash on a cab which is always a plus.
Eating Outdoors at Ajax Tavern
Nothing quite compares to watching the more accomplished skiers gracefully make their way down Aspen Mountain. The crowds are crazy and you will definitely have to wait but the scenery and the scene itself is wildly entertaining and sort of a must do when visiting Aspen. Join the other one hundred patrons patiently waiting for a table with cocktail in hand while you take the Aspen experience all in. Gluten Free? Don't worry. They have gluten free buns!
Do you wanna build a snowman? You can do it virtually anywhere here because this area of Colorado does experience real snow as early as mid December. Bring you own snowman making kit from home and find any spot for snowman fun.
Around town Ice Skating
We love that it doesn't matter if you happen to be chilling in either the towns of Aspen or Snowmass, you always have the opportunity to break up your day with some ice skating with the kids. This area happens to feature an incredible offering of six ice skating rinks. Kids need a break from the outdoors? Don't worry, there are plenty of indoor ice skating rink options throughout the towns as well.