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Ski Resort Profile: Snowmass, Colorado

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Of the four Colorado ski areas owned by Aspen Skiing Company, Snowmass dwarfs the other three. While Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk add up to 2,185 skiable acres, Snowmass can claim a whopping 3,332 acres by itself.

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Second in skiable area only to Vail Mountain in the state, Snowmass has terrain for all ability levels, ranging from its bunny slope, Fanny Hill, to extreme steeps in Hanging Valley and the Cirque. The resort's lift-served vertical drop of 4,406 feet is unmatched in the United States.

Among destination travelers visiting the resort, Snowmass attracts a large contingent of families. The mountain layout allows for many convenient lodging options right on the slopes. The resort offers extensive family programs and facilities such as the 25,000-square-foot Treehouse Kids' Adventure Center.

Despite its family-friendly reputation, the mountain does have extensive terrain to challenge expert skiers. Installed in 1997, the Cirque Poma surface lift takes experts to an elevation of 12,510 feet when weather conditions permit. From there, skiers can take on the Cirque Headwall or traverse to the chutes in the Hanging Valley Wall area.

Click here for Snowmass Trail Map

  • For beginners: To escape the crowds of Fanny Hill, beginners can go to the mid-mountain Meadows learning area by taking the Elk Camp gondola. Funnel Bypass gives a green way back to the base.
  • For intermediates: The Big Burn and Elk Camp sections of the resort are made up of classic Colorado cruising terrain.
  • For experts: The Cirque and Hanging Valley Wall are Snowmass' most extreme tests. For moguls away from any crowds, head to Powderhorn in the Campground area. Most of the double-black trail seems more deserving of a single-diamond rating. However, the short section near the end of the run (once separately labeled on the trail map as Belly Grabber Pitch) brings it up to expert status.

Disclaimer: Lift tickets were provided during visit to Snowmass.

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