How to get there Fly to Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, a.k.a. Sardy Field, eight miles from Snowmass Village. Taxis and hotel vans to Snowmass Village are right outside the door.
Where to stay The Silvertree Hotel edges both the Snowmass Village Mall and the slopes and offers 260 rooms, plus ski valet service and Internet access ($200-$340; 800-837-4255; silvertreehotel.com). The Enclave on Assay Hill steps up with deluxe condos with kitchens ($410-$580; 800-688-0401; enclavesnowmass.com).
How to ski the mountain
Day One Elk Camp is the place to jolt some life back into those legs. Warm up on Bull Run and Gunner's View, then head to Alpine Springs and cruisers like Coffee Pot and Naked Lady. Lunch on the deck at High Alpine, then ride the High Alpine lift to the off-piste action. Shoulder your skis for the short climb to Roberto's and Hanging Valley's steepest glades.
Day Two Ride the Big Burn lift, accessed from the Village via a trio of swift lifts. At the top, Dallas Freeway and Whispering Jesse are ego runs. Locals dip into the trees in the Powerline Glades for a thrill. The funky Ullrhof is a must-stop for lunch, then it's up the Burn and Cirque lifts for entry into black and double-black territory. Up for a challenge? AMF and Gowdy's are next. If the Sheer Bliss lift is running, check out Free Fall and West Face. Otherwise, it's Green Cabin down.
Day Three From the Village, ride the Fanny Hill and Coney Glade lifts. Traverse over to the Ute Chute and cruise down to the Sam's Knob lift. Here, a half-dozen nonstop cruisers rule the morning. After a pasta bowl at Sam's Knob, barrel down the blacks below the Campground lift. Then grab a final faceful of sun on Sneaky's and hightail it home.
Where to rent skis Aspen Sports, slopeside at Snowmass and inside the Silvertree Hotel, has a great demo/test ski program (featuring Salomon, Völkl, K2, Dynastar, Atomic and others), plus performance, sports and junior packages ($15-$45 per day; 970-925-6331; aspensports.com).
Where to eat, drink and relax At Snowmass' base, snack on crepes at the Popcorn Wagon, then slide into the Cirque Bar & Grill for live music. For dinner, check out Il Poggio (970-923-4292) for Italian or Krabloonik (970-923-3953) for game. In Aspen, choose among The Wild Fig (970-925-5160) for Mediterranean and Olives in the St. Regis (970-920-3300) for chef Todd English's creations.
Contact Aspen Snowmass: 800-308-6935; aspensnowmass.com. Snow report: 888-277-3676. Aspen Chamber Resort Association: 800-670-0792, ext. 4
Check out a video from Aspen.JANUARY 2005