This blog comes to Colorado Ski Country from Kristen Lummis, creator of BraveSkiMom.com.
For the past eleven years, the last day of the work week meant Bud Light Big Air Fridays at Snowmass. This competition invites all comers to show their stease on the 40-foot jump on Upper Fanny Hill. It’s an impressive display of progressive insanity and flight. And while Big Air Friday still welcomes in the weekend at Snowmass, it’s no longer the only game in town.
Sunset Skiing and Ullr Nights
This season, the party continues at the new Elk Camp Lodge. On Fridays only, both the Elk Camp Gondola and the Elk Camp chairlift are open for Sunset Skiing until 6:00 p.m.
Then as the ski lifts shut down, Ullr Nights ramps up. Inspired by the Norse god of snow, this weekly festival provides a starlit venue for winter fun and adventure. Vikings wander the crowd, chatting up visitors and providing a backdrop of flame to the nightly fire show. Little kids enjoy exploring a giant snow and ice Viking ship, complete with a super fast escape slide and practicing their “snurfing” skills on mini-snowboards. Guests of all ages enjoy hurtling themselves down the single-lane tubing hill and ice-skating on the fairy-lit Rayburn’s pond.
When its time to warm up, drink up or eat up, the action is inside the Elk Camp Lodge, where you’ll find a smorgasbord-like feast, live music and adult beverages in the fireside bar.
Transportation to and from Ullr Nights is via the Elk Camp Gondola. It is $10 for adults and $5 for children 4-12. Aspen/Snowmass passholders are also $5 each. But once you’re on top, partying with Ullr, the only charges are for food and drinks, or alternative activities like snowshoe and snowbiking tours.
For more information, please visit the Aspen/Snowmass website.
New Hike-To Terrain on Burnt Mountain
Now that you’ve enjoyed Friday night at Snowmass, it’s time for a weekend of skiing. Snowmass is famous for its wide, rolling intermediate terrain on the Big Burn and Elk Camp, but there have always been challenging bump runs on Sam’s Knob and High Alpine, as well as super forgiving beginner terrain. Over the past decade or so, extreme terrain in Hanging Valley and off of the Cirque Headwall has completed the resort’s profile, truly offering something for every skier or rider.
This season, there are three new advanced, gladed runs in a hike-to area on Burnt Mountain. You may know Burnt Mountain as the home of Long Shot, a 4 mile intermediate run accessed by a 10 minute hike near the top of Elk Camp.
The new runs, Split Tree, Rio and A-Line, are accessed by this same hike, but take a steeper line on a flank of the mountain overlooking the Roaring Fork Valley. These runs wind through open glades and, when we were there, were covered soft, fluffy snow. The conditions were perfect for rewarding tree skiing.
Near the bottom, the runs come back together. Signs warn skiers of a short steep cliff band, with tight trees. To exit you will need to be able to make 4-5 quick, tight turns. At the bottom of this short face is a fast, bumpy traverse leading back to Long Shot and the Two Creeks base.
When it’s time to find a place to lay your head, Snowmass has two new hotels. The Westin Snowmass Resort is ski-in/ski-out and has every amenity you can imagine, including an on-site Kids’ Club.
Next door is the Wildwood Snowmass, with a funky, arty flair. In addition to a new pool, there is the fun 60’s-inspired Bar at Wildwood. The Bar serves every imaginable drink, as well as affordable pizzas and gourmet hot dogs, making it a fun place for adults and families to hang out.
In addition to these new properties, Snowmass has a wealth of ski-in/ski-out lodges and condos. We recently stayed at the Timberline condos, a very comfortable updated property. I think we had to walk one minute to the slopes. Not bad.