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Snowmass vs. Aspen – The Final Showdown

It’s the age-old question for folks visiting the Roaring Fork Valley: Aspen or Snowmass?

It’s a fair question as both Snowmass and Aspen have their own unique things to offer to visitors. Yet the question really comes down to what you are looking for. Are you visiting with your family? Or throwing a bachelor party for your best friend? Ladies weekend or couples getaway? Below, we offer our opinion the Snowmass vs. Aspen debate and where to go to find your paradise.

Snowmass

There’s no question that Snowmass is a slower rolling than Aspen. It’s the sometimes sleepy neighbor, offering a more authentic mountain experience with less of the party. There are plenty of great restaurants, some that rival the Aspen culinary scene, yet fewer to select from. Regardless, there’s fine dining Italian in the Snowmass Mall, fantastic sushi in Base Village, pizza all over, great barbecue, sandwiches, soups, and plenty more.

The actual skiing, snowboarding, hiking, biking, running, and other outdoor activities are nearly unbeatable in Snowmass. The mountain itself is larger than Aspen, Buttermilk and Highlands combined, with terrain for all levels. There’s a massive terrain park as well as plenty of learning space. Here’s a list of our pros and cons for Snowmass:

Pros

  • HUGE mountain
  • The best mountain biking in the Roaring Fork Valley
  • Perfect for families
  • Good for a couples retreat
  • Trail running galore
  • Professional level terrain park for skiing and snowboarding
  • A snowboarders favorite mountain
  • All levels of skiing
  • Amazing hiking within walking distance
  • Peaceful
  • More affordable

Cons

  • Not much nightlife
  • Less dining options than Aspen
  • Less shopping options than Aspen (sorry, no Gucci stores here)
  • Very quiet off-season (maybe a pro)

Aspen

One of the world’s most famous mountains and mountain towns. There’s good reason for its fame, plenty of great skiing, outdoor activities, wild parties, an unbeatable apres scene, and tons of world-class dining. These things don’t come without a cost though, be sure to pack your pocketbook when visiting Aspen. If you’re staying in town, easy access to Ajax is a huge benefit, you can also access Highlands just a few minutes away. Both are considered skiers mountains, for their steep, intense terrain. It’s not recommended to try to learn on either Ajax or Highlands, as there are no green runs. Head to Snowmass or Buttermilk if you’re just starting out. If you’re looking to party in this little mountain paradise, look no further, Aspen is infamous for its nightlife. Here are a few pros and cons for Aspen:

Pros

  • Great selection of restaurants and bars
  • Wild nightlife
  • Ajax is an experienced skier’s paradise with steep, expert terrain
  • Close proximity to Highlands
  • Large selection of luxury and designer brand shopping
  • Good backcountry skiing access
  • World-class rafting in the summer
  • Wonderful hiking nearby
  • A bachelorette or bachelor party destination
  • Unbeatable apres scene (Two words: Cloud Nine)

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Can be a little crazy for families
  • Crowded at peak season
  • No beginner skiing
  • Too bougie for some
  •  No terrain park

Regardless, both towns are fantastic and are great in their own right. Looking for a true mountain experience or a quiet getaway? Go Snowmass. Looking for a wild night on the town, shopping, and fine dining, Aspen may be the best bet.

 

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