Aspen is a family-friendly destination for your next ski vacation. Children’s activities and education take place surrounded by nature, fostering endless possibilities for play and exploration. As you plan your next Aspen family ski vacation, here are resources to make the vacation fun, safe, and stress-free.
Skiing with the Family in Aspen
While Aspen’s name has the biggest recognition, AJAX (what locals call Aspen Mountain) tends to be overwhelming for families — especially those with young children. Between the crowded slopes and steeper terrain, sticking together as one big, happy family can be difficult. For that reason, we recommend that families skiing in Aspen head a few miles downvalley to Buttermilk and Snowmass — two more open, more family-centric locales, both included in Aspen’s “Four Mountains.”
Skiing, Snowboarding, and Lessons at Buttermilk
Buttermilk Mountain is known as a family mountain because of its smaller size, open slopes, and generally milder grades. Beginner and young child lessons are one of Buttermilk’s specialties; there’s a private learning area set up right outside The Hideout. Sign up for half day lessons from 9:30am – 12:30pm or a full day of lessons from 9:30am – 3pm.
Skiing, Snowboarding, and Lessons at Snowmass
We also recommend Snowmass as a family mountain due to the number of family-friendly options like the Elk Camp Gondola, Fanny Hill, and a variety of terrain. There’s also fun to be had at Base Village and the Collective. Beginner and young child lessons are a Snowmass specialty; there’s a private learning with a magic carpet area set up right outside The Treehouse. Sign up for half day lessons from 9:30am – 12:30pm or a full day of lessons from 9:30am – 3pm.
On-Mountain Kid-Friendly Features
While you’re taking runs with the kids, you won’t want to miss any extra adventure, and Aspen’s four mountains have planned some Easter Eggs for you. Look out for the painted wooden character cutouts lining kid-friendly tree trails. At Buttermilk, seek out the log tunnel on Devil’s Gut off of Westward Ho, twist and turn on Mr. Bill, or enjoy Larkspur’s World’s Longest Tree Trail. Visit the newly reconstructed Fort Frog, a frontier-themed structure which includes lookout towers, a twisty slide, a rope bridge, a warming hut, and more. At Snowmass, find the Bat Cave along Hi di Hi Woods and meet miners on Prospectors' Trail off of Adams Avenue. You’ll also see some fun creatures beneath you near the “Hot Chocolate Factory” while riding the Village Express.
Give the Kids a Break
The Aspen Valley is home to two of the best childcare facilities in North America — Buttermilk’s The Hideout and the Treehouse Kids Adventure Center at Snowmass. Kids from 8 months to 4 years of age will explore an interactive environment under the supervision of state-licensed childcare providers and a licensed registered nurse. Lunch and snacks are provided to children, allowing parents to dine on their own without having to break for feedings.
Winter Family Fun in Aspen
Do you need (or want) a break from skiing, but still crave adventure and exploration? A family ski vacation in Aspen can include so much more than hitting run after run. Throughout the Aspen valley, you’ll find
Learn to Snowbike
Family members ages 12 and up can learn to snowbike at Snowmass. Sign up for a lesson, get your lift ticket, and quickly learn to cruise the groomers and get down the steeps.
Take Your Breath Away
Get your tickets for the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster at Snowmass, and wind through the trees at high speed on an elevated track. It’s a delightful way to break up a day on the slopes and make sure everyone’s smiling.
Water Slide and Lazy River
If you need to get warm and relax for a while, stop by the Aspen Recreation Center (known to locals as the ARC) and let the kids enjoy the twisty water slide, lazy river, and multiple interactive pool features. Parents can float nearby, watch from the hot tub, or take turns in the sauna and steam room while the littles enjoy the pool.
Tubing and Sledding
Take the family tubing at Snowmass’ Elk Camp Meadows, or visit one of the many local sledding hills. You’ll find the most popular hill at the ARC — the Whoa Nelly Sledding Hill. You can also go exploring and find suitable sledding hills at Snowmass Town Park or further downvalley at Basalt High School or River Valley Ranch in Carbondale.
Ice Skating Together
Rent some ice skates and take some turns around the Silver Circle Ice Rink near CP Burger in downtown Aspen. Grab a milkshake and a burger and fries, too! Go indoors to skate at Lewis Ice Arena in Aspen. Or spin around the ice at Snowmass Town Park or at the Collective in Snowmass’ Base Village.
Besides ice skating, the Collective in Snowmass offers a number of indoor activities, located in a building adjacent to the ice rink in Base Village. The Limelight Snowmass boasts a five-story, glass enclosed climbing wall which allows self belay. The whole family can enjoy taking photos in the Selfie Den, and you’ll also find a game room, which includes a colorful ping pong attraction.
Plan Your Aspen Family Ski Vacation
One of the biggest choices to make when planning your family ski vacation is where to stay in Aspen. The Aspen Square is conveniently located in downtown Aspen, just steps away from the gondola. Our condominium hotel features are both luxurious and practical for a family vacation with fully-equipped kitchens, wood burning fireplaces, daily housekeeping and more. When you are finished with a day on the slopes, enjoy our outdoor pool and hot tub. These amenities are heated and open year-round.
Contact the concierge at Aspen Square to plan your next family vacation in Aspen. Call (970) 925-1000 and let us assist you!