Four separate mountains with four distinct moods, Aspen/Snowmass is big on superlatives: its mountains offer some of the steepest off-piste experience of any U.S. ski resort as well as outrageous bumps, steeps, pipes, and chutes for boarders.
Nestled within The White River National Forest in the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado, the U.S. ski resort of Aspen/Snowmass is rightly one of the premier destinations in the world. Aspen Mountain is actually part of a four-resort complex which also includeds Buttermilk, Snowmass, and Aspen Highlands. Combined, the four resorts are known as "Aspen/Snowmass".
Aspen Mountain itself is not for the faint-hearted nor the absolute beginner, who would be better off aiming for Snowmass, which is nine miles (15 km) away from downtown Aspen and more tuned-in for families. Just three miles (5kn) from town, Buttermilk is home to the X-games and is best suited to beginners and intermediates. Nearby, Aspen Highlands caters to advanced and expert skiers looking to test their mettle on some of the steepest, most extreme ski runs in North America.
The village of Aspen has long been regarded as one of America's premier ski towns. The town predated the skiing and is noted for its Victorian architecture, posh hotels, world-class restaurants and sky-high prices. A favorite destination for the American (and European) elite, movie stars are a frequent sight in town as are members of royal families. Aspen's downtown area is the hub of its nightlight and home to its best restaurants.
Just a few miles from the village of Aspen itself is Snowmass. Snowmass is the largest of Aspen's four largest ski mountains and also home to most of its bedbase. While lodging prices are almost as high in Snowmass as in Aspen itself, there are far more options. In the evenings, Snowmass is certainly a sleepier alternative and most of the better restaurants and almost all of the more rambuncous ski partying is in Aspen itself.
Many people who prefer to stay in an authentic Colorado town choose to stay in Aspen, while families and those who are looking for a little bit roomier accomodations tend to prefer Snowmass.
Updated for Winter 2014-2015 - David B. Cronheim