Our group of 18 skiers enjoyed a terrific week of skiing at Snowmass, Colorado. The group enjoyed Snowmass’s exceptional value - access to four mountains and the always exciting town of Aspen. As a group, we explored the wide variety of terrain and the world class dining and shopping available in the Roaring Forks Valley.
We elected to fly directly in and out of Aspen, rather than take the lengthy bus journey between Denver Airport and Snowmass.
However. our group was delayed out of Dulles due to weather, a sticky cargo door and then necessary de-icing. We missed our connecting flight to Aspen by minutes. Many others were in the same position and we eventually were rebooked on a later flight.
It is a tribute to the goodwill and travel experience of the group that the delay was accepted with equanimity and practicality. A couple of people even took the delay as an opportunity to head into Denver.
We traveled from the Airport to the Stonebridge Hotel by rented limousine or the complimentary hotel shuttle.
After the bumpy start due to weather and equipment related delays, everything went exceptionally well. We enjoyed excellent snow conditions, mild temperatures, and extremely short lift lines.
The weather was welcoming – we had sunny days to begin and close out the week, with a couple of blustery days in the middle.
One great attribute of Snowmass is that it is integrated with three other mountains - Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Aspen Mountain. Our lift tickets were honored at all four mountains, giving us the daily choice of a wide range of terrain.
Buses from the two bus systems – Snowmass and the Roaring Forks Valley Transport Authority (RFVA) - were very convenient to the hotel. We had easy access to head into the town of Aspen or enjoy an afternoon at one of the other mountains.
Each of the four mountains offered introductory ski tours and Snowmass also had a Ski with a Ranger option. The session with the Ranger provided a fascinating introduction to alpine flora and fauna.
Many people took one day off to go into Aspen or visit other attractions. Four of us snowshoed/cross-country skied into the Pine Creek Cookhouse. We enjoyed a wonderful lunch and views of the famous Maroon Bells.
Overall, the hotel was good value for money – essentially ski in ski out, located between the upper and lower villages. The rooms were standard mountain lodge and well serviced. The breakfast buffet was generous, and the staff were warm, responsive, and very willing.
The hotel welcome reception was held in a large room with two dedicated staff - the room was available to us for over two hours, so we had a good chance to mingle on this first full evening.
A Snowmass Tourism representative came to the welcome reception – she made an introduction to the mountain and responded to questions. In addition, she treated the group to a series of appetizers to the reception – turning it into a very welcome light buffet dinner.
The hotel had two sizeable shuttles and were willing to take us anywhere in Snowmass, making it easy to travel as a group.
We had two group dinners. The first at the Hickory House in Aspen was a celebration of ribs and getting a little bit messy, eating with one’s hands. The second dinner was at the Black Saddle in Snowmass. The restaurant at the Snowmass Golf Course. Both restaurants would be recommended for future groups – the restaurants welcomed groups and were provided great service and food!
In addition, we booked tables two other evenings (Il Poggio and The Edge ) and had people sign up on a first come first served basis. Il Poggio provided a fine dining experience. A small group also had a remarkable evening at Krabloonik. The food was excellent, and the ambiance was exceptional.
Roddy Lane, a faithful participant on club ski trips for many, many years announced that the Snowmass trip could be his last ski trip with the club. He cited an uncooperative knee as the impetus for his decision. However, Roddy is the Club’s only life-time honorary member, so we hope that we will reconsider and join an upcoming trip.
Our return flights were on time and we returned to IAD as scheduled. Many commented on how nice it was to return home on a Saturday afternoon.
Photo Credit Judy and Foster