Planning a vacation to Aspen Snowmass? The close proximity between these two resort towns affords visitors the opportunity to make the most of both places. Depending on the time of year, each town has its own unique advantages and both can be enjoyed during your stay.
Aspen is larger with more options to offer in terms of nightlife, dining, and activities. As a result, it can be the better choice for visitors as it allows them close proximity to these amenities, but the ability to venture to Snowmass for the day. We’ve put together a general overview of both towns to help you take advantage of what each has to offer if you are planning a trip to the area.
Aspen is well-known for its fine retail shops, fantastic dining, and upscale but sporty culture. The town is renowned for its skiing, but it is also a popular year-round destination for outdoor recreation.
Four airports surround Aspen including Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE) aka Sardy Field, Eagle County Airport (EGE), Grand Junction Regional Airport (GJT), and Denver International Airport (DIA). Of course, the most convenient way to get there is by flying directly into Sardy Field. From there, it is a short 10-minute ride to downtown hotels. Driving is an option, though it is worth noting that Independence Pass is closed during the winter.
Downtown Aspen offers the ability to get around town easily. The town is very bike friendly, and you’ll be able to walk and bike to numerous activities and events. E-bikes are available for rent for those looking to explore by themselves or with their families without the strenuous workout, while Aspen’s free in-town bus system also makes getting to other parts of town simple and convenient. The Rubey Park Transit Station is less than two blocks from Aspen Square and maps with bus routes are readily available in the lobby.
Depending on the season, Aspen has various activities in and around town. In warmer months, you can hike to both Smuggler and Aspen Mountain as they are within the city limits, and there are many other hiking trails that are perfect for day hikes.
The City of Aspen has seven free Roaring Fork Transit Authority (RFTA) shuttle routes for accessing any of the 4 resorts (AJAX, Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass) as well as shopping and dining. During the winter, ski shuttles run from Rubey Park every 15 minutes all day until 4:30 pm. The Snowmass bus runs late into the evening seven days a week.
Staying in downtown Aspen also means the Silver Queen Gondola is within walking distance from virtually any point. In fact, Aspen Square is directly across the street from the Gondola Plaza. Visitors can get to the top of Aspen Mountain quickly during the summer to check out the views, play a game of disc golf, attend Sunday Bluegrass Concerts, have lunch at Sundeck, or go to a session of mountaintop yoga. In the winter, this easy access means hassle-free skiing and snowboarding on AJAX.
Annual and Ongoing Aspen Events
One of the biggest advantages to staying downtown is the close proximity to any of the special events or activities going on. Aspen has a renowned dining scene with a variety of different types of restaurants as well as shopping, live music, and frequent special events like the X Games in the winter and FOOD & WINE and Ideas Festival in the summer. Having easy access to multiple venues within the downtown area means a much easier time getting around and planning your stay.
Snowmass is known for outdoor adventures and engaging year-round events. It is the biggest of the 4 ski resorts in the Aspen Snowmass area, popular with families and outdoor enthusiasts.
Getting to Snowmass means a 20-minute shuttle ride from Sardy Field Airport. Just like Aspen, driving is also possible but Independence Pass will be closed during the winter.
Snowmass provides a free shuttle service to nearly any location in the Village. The terminal is located just below the Village Mall, where buses depart and travel within the Village’s bus system.
The RFTA also provides transportation services year-round between Snowmass Village and the city of Aspen. Free shuttle service connects all 4 ski areas–Snowmass, Aspen, Highlands, and Buttermilk.
From the Base Village, you’ll find the Elk Camp Gondola operating year-round. The Elk Camp Gondola is an 8-person gondola that starts in Snowmass Base Village and finishes at Elk Camp Meadows and Elk Camp Restaurant. The gondola transports skiers and snowboarders up the mountain during the winter season, and to the top of the mountain for activities such as the famed Lost Forest, hiking, mountain biking, and disc golf.
Annual and Ongoing Events
Snowmass offers a wealth of activities in the winter including cross-country skiing, tubing, ice skating, and an alpine coaster. Of course, it is home to the second-largest ski resort in Colorado as well as the largest of the four mountains that make up the Aspen Snowmass resort. Restaurants and shops make up the slopeside village that has a family-friendly vibe with plenty of activities for kids and adults alike.
In the summer, Snowmass hosts impeccably maintained trails across lift-served cross country terrain plus the first IMBA Gold Level Ride Center™ in Colorado. It is also a popular location for fishing and rafting in the gorgeous clear rivers. Al fresco dining, open-air concerts, festivals, a renowned arts center, and a genuine Western rodeo are just some of the other events that Snowmass has to offer.
WHERE TO STAY
Get the most out of your Aspen Snowmass vacation by staying downtown at the Aspen Square. Enjoy the convenience of walking to restaurants, events, fun nightlife, and boutique shopping. We are located just a block from the main free skier bus terminal which will take you to Buttermilk, Snowmass, or Aspen Highlands, with the Aspen Mountain gondola situated only one block away.
Explore our Aspen condo rentals to view our available rentals and plan your vacation. Reach out to Aspen Square’s Reservations desk (email@example.com) if you need assistance in booking your stay with us. Guests can contact our concierge staff (firstname.lastname@example.org) for advice and assistance in choosing activities, purchasing event tickets, or making restaurant reservations.