Snowmass is the second-largest ski resort in Colorado and lies just 15km to the west of ritzy Aspen, one of the world's premier mountain resorts, to which it is associated as one of the four ski areas covered on the Aspen-Snowmass Four Mountain lift pass.
Unlike the upmarket and glamorous Aspen town, more affordable Snowmass feels much more like a mainstream ski resort, with a purpose-built base-area village and a high percentage of ski-in/ski-out accommodation.
The diversity of terrain here is the greatest of all the ski areas in the Four Mountains group, and the resort has a strong focus on children's facilities and on terrain parks, making Snowmass a great choice for mixed-ability groups, families, and freestyle enthusiasts.
None of the Four Mountain ski areas is linked by pistes or ski lifts to any of the others, Snowmass is connected to Aspen town and all of its other three neighbouring ski areas by a free and efficient shuttle-bus service.
Snowmass offers a great diversity of terrain over almost 1,500 hectares of linked ski area, but it is particularly renowned for its first-class snowparks, with three in total plus a number of additional smaller 'Fun Zones' scattered around the slopes.
The main top-to-bottom Snowmass Park was voted best in the world in 2012: it consists of around 50 advanced and expert-level modules, including a superpipe, all accessed via the fast Coney Glade chairlift.
The Lowdown Park next to the main park is a freestyle novices' zone: it consists of introductory and soft intermediate level modules, including straightforward boxes and rails and easier snow-built features like rollers and small table-top jumps.
The Little Makaha Park on the opposite side of the resort features low to mid-intermediate level modules, including a triple line of jumps and a wide range of boxes and rails; ideal for building skill levels and for perfecting new tricks.
The core ski area at Snowmass is crisscrossed by a network of well-groomed intermediate pistes, mostly all tree-lined and offering some introductory-level glade areas too, where progressive intermediates can get a feel for off-piste exploration through the trees whilst remaining in a relatively safer in-bounds environment.
Experts also enjoy the glades, but the main attractions for advanced visitors at Snowmass are the steep faces and chutes off the high-altitude Cirque Headwall and the backcountry-style boulder drop-offs and powder pockets of the Hanging Valley sector.
Off the slopes and apres ski
Snowmass is a big enough and animated enough resort to keep its guests occupied and entertained during a week-long visit, and has the added advantage of having glitzy and cosmopolitan Aspen town just a snowball's throw away.
Snowmass village is purpose-built and consists mainly of ski-in/ski-out apartments (condos) and chalets peppered throughout the surrounding forest, with a base-area 'village centre' featuring a small shopping mall as its main focal point.
The resort offers an adequate selection of restaurants covering a fair range of cuisines and price points, along with a handful of reasonably lively lounge bars catering for afternoon apres ski and informal evening entertainment; for a much wider range of nightlife options though, nearby Aspen town is definitely the place to go.
Alternative activity options at Snowmass include dog-sled excursions and snowmobiling, guided snowshoe treks, snowtubing and sledging (on a floodlit slope); the Snowmass Recreation Center has a fitness suite and a lap-swimming pool, whilst the Aspen Rec Center located midway between Snowmass and Aspen town has leisure pools with water-slides, sauna and steam room, fitness suite, climbing tower and ice-skating/hockey rinks.
Bars and clubs
The Ranger Station
The Stew Pot
Big Hoss Grill