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NEMS Article - Snowmass, CO - A Pictorial

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Snowmass, CO - A Pictorial

Jamesj
By: Jamesj
Posted 9/9/14  Last updated 1/3/15  2,547 views  3 comments

 

Snowmass, CO – A Pictorial

 

By Jim Kenney, aka JamesJ

EpicSki Travel Correspondent

 

I got a chance to ski Snowmass, CO during Christmas Week 2013.  Conditions were excellent for late December and the vast majority of the 3,332 skiable acres of this Colorado colossus were open for business.  My 23 year old son Vince joined me and we spent most of the day in the upper heights of the mountain with clear visibility, good snow, and light trail traffic. 

 

Snowmass is huge with 150 miles of trails, 21 lifts, nine on-mountain restaurants, and a vertical drop of 4406’ - the most in the United States.  The major bed-base of Snowmass Village snuggles up against the ski layout and is anchored by numerous restaurants and shops representing an ideal choice for slope side ski vacationers.  Plus, you’re only about ten miles by free shuttle bus from the renowned resort town of Aspen and three other notable ski areas:  Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk.

 

But I went to Snowmass as a lowly day skier just looking for a good time on good ski terrain.  Snowmass has that in spades...and diamonds;).  We booted up at the Snowmass Village Mall and by last chair we’d sampled wide open intermediate groomers on the Big Burn, spectacularly rocky expert terrain in The Cirque, endless empty steeps in Sam’s Knob and Campground trail pods, and a fantastic off-piste experience in the Burnt Mountain Glades.  They should call this place Snowmassive.

 

Please click on the photos for expanded views.  All photos are by Jim Kenney.

 

A morning view of the Snowmass base area from the Makaha Terrain Park.  To the right is the Village Express Chair (2,173' vertical).

LL

 

The Big Burn, if you are looking for expansive intermediate terrain of the highest quality - THIS IS IT.

LL

 

The bumps of Timberline trail under the Big Burn Chair (1993' vertical).

LL

 

The awe-inspiring double black diamond terrain of The Cirque starts at an elevation somewhat north of 12,000'.

LL

 

A Cirquerider strapping-in for action.  Some of The Cirque's cliff bands have chutes that fall into the extreme category.

LL

 

The Cirque is just as gorgeous from this perspective about 2,000 vertical feet lower down the mountain.

LL

 

After lunch we took some exquisite carving runs on the manicured steeps of the Campground trail pod.  It was lonely even during Christmas Week, but the ever-present Colorado sun kept us company.Thumbs Up

LL

 

Late in the day we scampered from Campground all the way to Elk Camp at the far looker's left of the Snowmass layout.  The lifts synched-up superbly to aid our quick transition.  From the summit of the Elk Camp Chair (1,554' vertical) we took a five minute hike up Burnt Mountain and caught one of the most majestic scenes in the Centennial State, the Maroon Bells (elevation 14,000'+).

LL

 

On the descent from Burnt Mountain we made an uninterrupted 3000'+ vertical run down a beautiful advanced-intermediate glade aptly named Long Shot to the base of the Two Creeks lift (1711’ vertical).

LL

 

At the end of a superb ski day the walk through the Snowmass Village Mall is a full-on victory march.:).

LL

 

Snowmass website:  http://www.aspensnowmass.com/snowmass

Snowmass trail map:  http://www.aspensnowmass.com/images/dyn/trailmaps/jpg-High/Snowmass.jpg

 

About the Author

  • Husband, father and civilian employee of the Department of Navy, Jim Kenney is a Washington D.C. area native and has been skiing recreationally since 1967. Jim’s ski reporting garnered the 2009 West Virginia Division of Tourism’s Stars of the Industry Award for Best Web/Internet/E-Magazine Article. To read other articles by Jim, click here
  • LL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments (3)

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Nice!  Snowmass was the host for the last two NASTAR National Championships and will repeat again this coming March.  It's a wonderful destination and I'd encourage anyone to visit it at least once.
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Nice photos.  FYI there is an error in the caption: "The bumps of Garrett Gulch under the Sheer Bliss Chair (2,212' vertical)."  The lift is the Big Burn Lift and the run is Timberline.
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Nathanvg, thanks for the correction.  Proves somebody is reading these things:-)  I will amend.  What threw me off when I tried to piece together an after-the-fact photo-documentary of that ski day is that lame, tame, intermediate Snowmass rates the very bumpy Timberline trail as a blue square! 

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