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Snowmass

+Ideal family vacation spot. Treehouse Center rocks. - Limited dining options. Have to hit Aspen for good après.

Snowmass can teach us all a lesson in resort development: You needn’t turn your base into Wally World to attract families. There’s a refreshing absence of bungee trampolines and alpine coasters; Snowmass caters to the younger set with 3,132 acres of kid-friendly greens and blues, three terrain parks (no. 7), world-class grooming (no. 3), high-speed lifts (no. 4), ski-in, ski-out lodging (no. 4) and its innovative Treehouse Adventure Center, which is surely to thank for the resort’s consistently high ranking in Family Programs for the fourth straight year. The 25,000-square-foot facility boasts a climbing gym, teen activities, kids’ retail and a host of themed rooms for ages eight weeks to four years, all right at the base of the slopes. The center also brings Snowmass’s ski-school check-in, rentals and family après under one roof. But to land in the overall Top 5, a resort needs to lure more than just families, and Snowmass’s high-quality snow and varied mountain layout please the masses. “As good as it gets,” exclaims one reader. “Wonderful variety of terrain.” The whole package in one convenient place. —Tess Weaver

On-Hill Lunch » The rustic Lynn Britt cabin offers panoramic views of the Snowmass Valley and high peaks beyond, plus a tasty menu of Colorado’s seasonal best.

Must Ski » Whichever run is the recipient of the daily Noon Groom, a fresh combing that reopens the trail at 12 o’clock.

Family Activity » Kids Adventure Maps point out myriad on-slope Fun Zones, with rollers, moguls and natural obstacles.

Go: Snowmass, Colo.

Sam's Smokehouse By Daniel Bayer/Aspen Ski Co.
Snowmass: Sam's Smokehouse
Sweet new glades, an innovative lodge, and a friendlier resort-wide vibe highlight a promising makeover at this Colorado classic.

OK, so maybe the second dessert was overkill. Heck, maybe the first was too. I’m slowly plodding my way, skis over my shoulders, up the ridge to Snowmass’s newest terrain, Burnt Mountain, where 230 acres of powder-filled glades await. Elk Camp Lodge, the scene of my overindulgence, slips into the backdrop behind me, yet each boot stomp reverberates in my gut. Oh, raspberry crumble, huge, gooey cookie, and teeny-tiny bite of fudge brownie, you seemed like a good idea at the time...

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