Snowmass " the stats |

Snowmass " the stats

Aspen Times Staff
Snowmass boasts 3,128 acres and 4,406 feet of lift-served vertical.

3,128 acres

12,510 ft. (top of the Cirque)

4,406 ft.

1 six-person pulse gondola (enclosed), 1 high-speed six-person lift, 6 high-speed quads, 6 doubles, 1 triple, 2 ski/snowboard school lifts, 2 surface lifts


6 percent

50 percent

12 percent

32 percent

8:30 a.m.

Well, it ain’t over yet ” in fact, it’s hardly close to finished ” but the renaissance of Snowmass is under way. With a new base village, more than $28 million in existing property renovations, a new children’s center and much more in the plans, Snowmass is changing all right. Finished for the 2005-06 season: the old Fanny Hill chairlift is no more, replaced by a speedy six-passenger lift that travels from the bottom of Fanny Hill to Sam’s Knob in just 9.5 minutes; and the new Sky Cab, a six-passenger gondola from the new base to the Snowmass Village mall. Other than that, construction, construction, construction is the name of the game in Snowmass this winter.

Snowmass Ski Area was built for cruising, and it doesn’t get much better than on the Big Burn. Don’t believe us? The area was chosen as “Top Cruiser Run” in the state by the Rocky Mountain News. Our favorite way down the Burn is probably Sneaky’s, a wide swath down the Burn’s western edge with spectacular views of the large peaks lining the East Snowmass Creek Valley. Equally impressive (and generally less crowded) is the corduroy off the Elk Camp and Two Creeks lifts. Of course if you’re looking for a cruising challenge, see if Lower Slot is groomed and go for it ” if you follow a run down the Burn with Lower Slot, you’ll have descended nearly 4,000 vertical feet by the time you hit the Campground chair. A leg-burner for sure! Also be on the look out for the daily “noon groom,” a freshly groomed run that reopens at noon for some rarely found midday corduroy.

Snowmass on a powder day can be the ultimate skier’s and rider’s paradise. Warm up on Powerline Glades, on the Burn, which holds endless lines through widely spaced trees, as does the Dikes, off upper Green Cabin. When ski patrol finishes avalanche control in the Hanging Valley Wall, mach schnell and get over there. A five-or-so-minute hike from the top of the High Alpine chair brings you to double-black Roberto’s and the Headwall; from there, take your pick of 540 acres of steep chutes, wide-open faces, trees thick and thin, and rock outcroppings to launch off. And there are always the underskied runs on Campground (Powderhorn, Bearclaw) on which to ply the fluff.

Snowmass offers terrain features for all levels of park riders and pipers, so there’s no problem getting your jib on here. The Pipeline Park comprises more than 30 hits and rails, as well as the monstrous Superpipe. Two other parks, Makaha (off the Funnel lift) and Scooper (primarily a learning park) add to the mix.

For full-service, sit-down dining, head to Gwyn’s High Alpine. Cafe Suzanne, at the bottom of the Elk Camp lift, serves up crepes and salad nicoise, among other French specialties. For pizza and soup on the (relative) cheap, stop in at Up 4 Pizza atop the Big Burn. (Note: the restaurant at Sam’s Knob is closed for the 2005-06 season ” well, actually, it’s gone ” to make way for on-mountain improvements.)

The winter-long Big Air Fridays is a chance to catch some of the area’s best skiers and riders launching off a massive jump on Fanny Hill. But that’s not all. The event combines a 40-minute jam session with a final judged jump for the top athletes. It’s all topped off by live music, making it a ski and apres-ski party all rolled into one.

Try the best free apps in town at The Mountain Dragon (second level of the Mall) or Cirque Cafe, where live music is always on tap.

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