5 things to do this offseason in Snowmass

Jill Beathard | Snowmass Sun
The Rim Trail South connector was clear of snow and mostly dry on April 22, Earth Day.
Jill Beathard/Snowmass Sun |

Shoulder season. Mud season. Spring? Whatever you call it, it’s certainly offseason in Snowmass Village.

The chairlifts stopped running almost a month ago. Many of the village’s bars, restaurants and shops are closed, and its residents are soaking up the sun on a beach somewhere.

And yet, a lot of us (this reporter included) still have to go to work every day in April and May, or have kids in school, or are saving money, so we are here. If you are one of those (lucky?) few, here’s our picks of what to do for entertainment this offseason.

1 Hike or bike

When the weather cooperates, many of the trails around Snowmass Village are clear and even dry this time of year. Hiking Rim Trail South to the yin-yang platform with its majestic views of Mount Daly, Capitol Peak and the Snowmass ski area is a great lunch-break jaunt. And while some of the village’s trails are closed to prevent the disturbance of our elk herd during their calving season, trails like Brush Creek, Highline and Lowline, West Government and some on the ski area are now open to hikers and cyclists.

2 Ski

Some locals are saying that ski season has just begun. The opportunity to skin up the resort mountains might be waning, but backcountry touring adventures are just getting good. You need to know your route, bring the right equipment and understand backcountry survival skills, but if you know what you’re doing, your winter is not over.

Or if you own a car, head to one of the resorts still open in Colorado, which as of May 3 included Winter Park, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin. And who knows, if our mountains get more snow, Aspen Skiing Co. may even open one of its resorts: It’s happened before, and folks who took advantage of the two bonus weekends at Aspen Highlands reported mid-winter-like conditions.

3 Road trip

It can be as close as downvalley or as far as Moab or Denver. Just get in your car and drive to where the weather is perhaps more “spring-like” and more favorable to this season’s activities. Take a hike to Hanging Lake before this designated National Natural Landmark becomes overrun with summer tourists. Try a locally made beer at a brewery you haven’t visited yet, or check out the Marble Distillery in Carbondale for a taste of something stronger. No matter what, if you’re like a lot of locals, it’s probably been a while since you explored the farther reaches of our valley, so something new and fun likely awaits you.

4 Eat/drink

We mentioned trying downvalley establishments, but a few in Snowmass Village are still open, too. For drink specials, try Slopeside Lanes — if you feel like it, you can get a few rounds of bowling in too. Or for live music, try Turks, which is also staying open all offseason.

Snowmass Center restaurants Mountain Bayou and Taster’s are open for dining. For something fancier, head down to Sage at the Snowmass Club. And in a few weeks, more establishments will open back up (see page 7 for a full list).

5 Arts/culture

There might not be a performing arts center in Snowmass Village, but there is Anderson Ranch, where artists are working and learning all year long. This year is the center’s 50th anniversary, too, and it’s already starting to celebrate the occasion with some events throughout the valley. In addition to its constant flow of exhibits through the Patton-Mallott Gallery on campus, a collaborative exhibit with the Red Brick Arts Center in Aspen is starting May 5.

Performing arts opportunities also continue during the offseason throughout the valley at venues like the Wheeler Opera House, local schools and the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue. With what is hopefully a lighter schedule, offseason can be the perfect opportunity for a different form of entertainment.