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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.

[ Thu, 2009-08-27 11:45 ]
Powder days aren't too far off.
Lock in savings now by purchasing your lift tickets and season passes before the snow flies.

Today’s Reminder: It’s time to do more than just dream about the upcoming ski season. Virtually all resorts offer savings—often significant—if you buy your lift tickets or season passes before the snow flies. Here are links to several of the major resort operators. Or just go online to your favorite hometown hill’s website and check out the preseason deals. Happy trails.
 

On Skiing: A Vanishing Sport

A parent’s most valuable gift might be bridging the past to the future. What if that bridge melts away?

In April of 1983, with my buddy Stan Tener of the Snowmass ski patrol and photographer Del Mulkey, I skied the Haute Route from Chamonix toward Zermatt. For five days, we climbed steep couloirs, traversed high cols, and skinned up and cruised down long, undulating glaciers—60 miles of frozen highway. We did it on “pins.” In those days, this meant three-pin bindings, narrow “norpine” skis and leather telemark boots.

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