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Can you ski Aspen without spending a fortune?

Skier31

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Not everything in Aspen is overpriced.
The ski experience at AspenSnowmass is top notch. I am not just saying this because I work there.
I have worked at other resorts where you pay just as much for nowhere near the experience.
 
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MissySki

Angel Diva
Not everything in Aspen is overpriced.
The ski experience at AspenSnowmass is top notch. I am not just saying this because I work there.
I have worked at other resorts where you pay just as much for nowhere near the experience.

It really is such an amazing place to ski. I’ve only been twice, but it’s one of my favorites and I really didn’t spend more than other Western ski trips I’ve done.
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Perhaps Aspen's reputation needs to be modernized. I've never been there. Of course, I'm retired and frugal, and I think almost all ski wear is overpriced!
 

Skier31

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Perhaps Aspen's reputation needs to be modernized. I've never been there. Of course, I'm retired and frugal, and I think almost all ski wear is overpriced!
Not sure what you mean by Aspen’s reputation being modernized?
 

newboots

Angel Diva
Not sure what you mean by Aspen’s reputation being modernized?

I didn't want to bring it up, because I have no idea where I read it. An article about Aspen's history of extremely wealthy people partying, drinking champagne mid-mountain, and all manner of shenanigans. Someone will probably know where it can be found. It was long, and detailed, and sounded like the "outrageous rich" were up to no good.

Between that article and its reputation for $$$$, it seems to be (here in the East) that it's known for those things. I do read, though, that its ski school is the best anywhere.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
I didn't want to bring it up, because I have no idea where I read it. An article about Aspen's history of extremely wealthy people partying, drinking champagne mid-mountain, and all manner of shenanigans. Someone will probably know where it can be found. It was long, and detailed, and sounded like the "outrageous rich" were up to no good.

Between that article and its reputation for $$$$, it seems to be (here in the East) that it's known for those things. I do read, though, that its ski school is the best anywhere.

I think that’s all still true lol, it’s just not the only side of things. Plenty to keep you occupied even if you aren’t insanely wealthy, but I’m sure there are all sorts of things that cater to you if you are too.
 

marzNC

Angel Diva
@newboots : check out the trip report by @alison wong . She's a very frugal traveler. Any destination resort out west on Ikon/Epic can be very expensive and fun for people who like to party harder than than ski. But that doesn't mean a ski nut on a budget can't have a great time. Plus Aspen is not just one mountain. Buttermilk is a great mountain 2-3 days after a powder storm because advanced/expert skiers tend to go hunting powder mostly at Aspen Highlands or Snowmass.

 

newboots

Angel Diva
@newboots : check out the trip report by @alison wong . She's a very frugal traveler. Any destination resort out west on Ikon/Epic can be very expensive and fun for people who like to party harder than than ski. But that doesn't mean a ski nut on a budget can't have a great time. Plus Aspen is not just one mountain. Buttermilk is a great mountain 2-3 days after a powder storm because advanced/expert skiers tend to go hunting powder mostly at Aspen Highlands or Snowmass.


I'm really not interested in going to Aspen, thanks.
 

Après Skier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I didn't want to bring it up, because I have no idea where I read it. An article about Aspen's history of extremely wealthy people partying, drinking champagne mid-mountain, and all manner of shenanigans. Someone will probably know where it can be found. It was long, and detailed, and sounded like the "outrageous rich" were up to no good.
Perhaps you are referring to Things I Never Knew About Skiing Until I Was a Private Instructor in Aspen? I wouldn’t take the article seriously. The author specializes in salacious exposés following a generic pattern “I worked behind the scenes somewhere swanky, here’s my gossip about the naughty rich.” It’s a pity Aspen’s reputation was sullied; the author could have visited any upscale resort and written a similar puff piece.
 

santacruz skier

Angel Diva
Perhaps you are referring to Things I Never Knew About Skiing Until I Was a Private Instructor in Aspen? I wouldn’t take the article seriously. The author specializes in salacious exposés following a generic pattern “I worked behind the scenes somewhere swanky, here’s my gossip about the naughty rich.” It’s a pity Aspen’s reputation was sullied; the author could have visited any upscale resort and written a similar puff piece.
I’ve taken a few trips and really enjoyed the fabulous slopes and scenery. And yes had a drink at hotel Jerome and another apres at little Nell.
 

Skier31

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
Perhaps you are referring to Things I Never Knew About Skiing Until I Was a Private Instructor in Aspen? I wouldn’t take the article seriously. The author specializes in salacious exposés following a generic pattern “I worked behind the scenes somewhere swanky, here’s my gossip about the naughty rich.” It’s a pity Aspen’s reputation was sullied; the author could have visited any upscale resort and written a similar puff piece.

There are many things in this article that are not true. That said, I have worked at Snowmass for 8 years and have never sprayed champagne at Cloud Nine, although, I know many people that have.

The thing about Snowmass is that employees are paid decent wages, have good benefits and the company has invested significant money in employee housing, employee benefits and climate issues.

There are many wealthy people that come to AspenSnowmass but there are many families who have come for years who don't take private lessons and who, like many of us, choose to spend our hard earned dollars on experiences that we enjoy.

I love working at Snowmass. I am on a first name basis with Mike Kaplan, the CEO. He responds to my emails promptly and genuinely listens to suggestions and feedback. We have access to unlimited training, free group ski lessons, reduced private lessons, great equipment and clothing sells, free or reduced nights at hotels owned by Aspen Skiing Company. Employees are valued and empowered to do whatever we can to help our guests have the experience of a lifetime. There are also many more women instructors and women in management than there were at other resorts where I have worked.

I have the opportunity to ski at 4 fabulous mountains, have a locker 50 feet from the snow and have made wonderful friends.
 

MissySki

Angel Diva
There are many things in this article that are not true. That said, I have worked at Snowmass for 8 years and have never sprayed champagne at Cloud Nine, although, I know many people that have.

The thing about Snowmass is that employees are paid decent wages, have good benefits and the company has invested significant money in employee housing, employee benefits and climate issues.

There are many wealthy people that come to AspenSnowmass but there are many families who have come for years who don't take private lessons and who, like many of us, choose to spend our hard earned dollars on experiences that we enjoy.

I love working at Snowmass. I am on a first name basis with Mike Kaplan, the CEO. He responds to my emails promptly and genuinely listens to suggestions and feedback. We have access to unlimited training, free group ski lessons, reduced private lessons, great equipment and clothing sells, free or reduced nights at hotels owned by Aspen Skiing Company. Employees are valued and empowered to do whatever we can to help our guests have the experience of a lifetime. There are also many more women instructors and women in management than there were at other resorts where I have worked.

I have the opportunity to ski at 4 fabulous mountains, have a locker 50 feet from the snow and have made wonderful friends.

I love Aspen already, but this is really nice to hear in general!
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
I like hearing that employees are treated well, that's a big plus in my book. It doesn't help, though, that obnoxious poseurs (*cough* Kardashians *cough*) annually post pics of themselves there in thongs and fur jackets on Instagram. :bounce:

Oh well, I was at Beaver Creek last year because the prices were fantastic (got a text-driven flash sale on an off-piste room directly from Vail resorts that was too good to pass up.) It was on my "ooh, too posh for me list" but when I got there, I loved it, and everyone I encountered was super-friendly.

Aspen is always on my "maybe" list because at various times in ski season, I can find reasonable nonstop flights from Chicago directly there; however I haven't pulled the trigger because those airfares don't seem to line up with lodging options in my price range. But besides the beautiful views that I've seen on YouTube skiing videos, I love flying into a ski town directly bc white-knuckle driving mountain roads in a rental car is not my fave thing to do on vacation! :smile:

I'll keep trying!
 

DebbieSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've skied at Snowmass several years in a row with my hardly skiing husband and improving teens in tow. We found less expensive ski in/out condos at the older complex Willows, but have also stayed at Wildwood and Westin, which both are ski in /out. The kids did ski school on alternate days and advanced tremendously. I took them to the Cirque headwall after a friendly female ski patroller on the lift told me we could do it when she heard where else we had been and there were good conditions. In later years they took me where their instructors took them. Most recently, my 19 y.o. son and I went to Aspen Highlands on a Wednesday when the ski patrol does Highland Bowl excursions FOR FREE!! I'm too old to want to do the hike and he was eager and I did not want him to do it "on his own." While he was on his adventure I peaked into Cloud Nine at lunchtime, and it was sedate with sane folks having lunch/fondue inside and a few people having drinks outside. I'm sure the champagne spraying happens but it seems like a lovely place for slightly pricey sit-down lunch if you want to get there ahead of "the festivities." I skied many runs on Scarlett's which has exactly the perfect pitch and bumps for these old bones. And I hung out at the ski patrol hut deck awaiting his return and the view was tremendous So Aspen Highlands and Snowmass get thumbs up from me. Haven't skied Buttermilk or Ajax.
Bottom line . . . the Aspen/Snowmass resorts are a wonderful destination and don't have to be super pricey, wild, or status oriented. The amount and variety of terrain at Snowmass can't be beat. An intermediate can do the alpine Rocky Mountain High trail at the tippy top of Snowmass on a good weather day, if they are willing to ride a poma/disc lift, for an amazing experience. It is a little harder to get to from the east coast but once you are there, you don't need a car and it feels like a real escape. Oh . . . I don't wear Bogner.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
I've skied at Snowmass several years in a row with my hardly skiing husband and improving teens in tow. We found less expensive ski in/out condos at the older complex Willows, but have also stayed at Wildwood and Westin, which both are ski in /out. The kids did ski school on alternate days and advanced tremendously. I took them to the Cirque headwall after a friendly female ski patroller on the lift told me we could do it when she heard where else we had been and there were good conditions. In later years they took me where their instructors took them. Most recently, my 19 y.o. son and I went to Aspen Highlands on a Wednesday when the ski patrol does Highland Bowl excursions FOR FREE!! I'm too old to want to do the hike and he was eager and I did not want him to do it "on his own." While he was on his adventure I peaked into Cloud Nine at lunchtime, and it was sedate with sane folks having lunch/fondue inside and a few people having drinks outside. I'm sure the champagne spraying happens but it seems like a lovely place for slightly pricey sit-down lunch if you want to get there ahead of "the festivities." I skied many runs on Scarlett's which has exactly the perfect pitch and bumps for these old bones. And I hung out at the ski patrol hut deck awaiting his return and the view was tremendous So Aspen Highlands and Snowmass get thumbs up from me. Haven't skied Buttermilk or Ajax.
Bottom line . . . the Aspen/Snowmass resorts are a wonderful destination and don't have to be super pricey, wild, or status oriented. The amount and variety of terrain at Snowmass can't be beat. An intermediate can do the alpine Rocky Mountain High trail at the tippy top of Snowmass on a good weather day, if they are willing to ride a poma/disc lift, for an amazing experience. It is a little harder to get to from the east coast but once you are there, you don't need a car and it feels like a real escape. Oh . . . I don't wear Bogner.
Did you fly in directly? Or fly into Denver & drive/shuttle or...?

How did you happen to find the Willows condo complex? I need to research that now as a possible spot for a trip w my sister. We like a condo so I can cook us dinner and we can hang out in PJs after a day on the mountain.
 

DebbieSue

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I have done every variation of flying to Denver, to Eagle/Vail, to Aspen, rented car or done shuttle; we were 4 people so shuttle at $100pp ends up costing more than rental, except when there's a storm, flights cancelled and shortage of rentals. One time had to pay $500 for one day SUV rental to get Aspen to Denver when flights got cancelled / rearranged!!!
My experience is that the drive from Denver in daylight is glorious for those who haven't been to to the rockies and allows time to acclimate to altitude. This is good if you have time on either end of the trip. Road conditions are subject to weather and can be treacherous. I recommend not scheduling too tight with at home commitments for any travel to Aspen/Snowmass.
Flying into and out of Aspen is subject to weather, and flights are often cancelled/changed.
Flying in and out of Eagle and taking shuttle or renting car there is prob the most predictable.
I found Willows on VRBO, mostly 2BR units, some 1 BR. Not many listings.There is another complex nearby, shares the pool called Lichenhearth, units are studio or 1BR. You may have to book directly with them. There's also a complex across the road called Tamarack. These are older, less pricey according to my info, now 2 years old. There's Wildwood Hotel, no kitchen, some rooms better than others. We thought it was fine, but we're not picky. Lower budget folks are loyal to Pokolodoki Lodge, again no kitchens. There are many, many higher end condos available through the resort website.
 

Amie H

Angel Diva
I flew into Eagle this year and loved it. SOOOOO easy. My trips are usually quick turnaround so I always try to minimize transportation time, which isn't too tough since I have a slew of nonstops available from my home airport (ORD.) Good to know about Aspen having cancellations often. I know that's true of flying into Telluride directly, thus I haven't scheduled anything there yet.
As far as lodging, I'm not picky BUT I do prefer slopeside or walkable. I will look into those condo complexes you noted. Thanks for the intel!
 

alison wong

Angel Diva
I flew into Eagle this year and loved it.
Do you ski both Beaver Creek and Vail in 1 trip? If so where do you normally stay? I have looked at Minturn but heard it is not so easy to get to Beaver Creek, I am not planning to get rental car. I may only do quick turnaround trips next season, due to work. I will have Epic Local pass.

My experience is that the drive from Denver in daylight is glorious
Agreed 100%. The drive from Denver to Aspen is quite scenic. I think one should do it at least once.

I do like Aspen / Snowmass a lot, been there 2x only, enjoyed it much more the 2nd time. I'd say it is now my top 3, Banff is still my #1.

Both times to Aspen/Snowmass I stayed in Basalt. My friend thought it was a bit far, for me it was fine. Likely I will stay in Basalt if I go again.
 

Après Skier

Ski Diva Extraordinaire
I've skied at Snowmass several years in a row with my hardly skiing husband and improving teens in tow. We found less expensive ski in/out condos at the older complex Willows, but have also stayed at Wildwood and Westin, which both are ski in /out. The kids did ski school on alternate days and advanced tremendously. I took them to the Cirque headwall after a friendly female ski patroller on the lift told me we could do it when she heard where else we had been and there were good conditions. In later years they took me where their instructors took them. Most recently, my 19 y.o. son and I went to Aspen Highlands on a Wednesday when the ski patrol does Highland Bowl excursions FOR FREE!! I'm too old to want to do the hike and he was eager and I did not want him to do it "on his own." While he was on his adventure I peaked into Cloud Nine at lunchtime, and it was sedate with sane folks having lunch/fondue inside and a few people having drinks outside. I'm sure the champagne spraying happens but it seems like a lovely place for slightly pricey sit-down lunch if you want to get there ahead of "the festivities." I skied many runs on Scarlett's which has exactly the perfect pitch and bumps for these old bones. And I hung out at the ski patrol hut deck awaiting his return and the view was tremendous So Aspen Highlands and Snowmass get thumbs up from me. Haven't skied Buttermilk or Ajax.
Bottom line . . . the Aspen/Snowmass resorts are a wonderful destination and don't have to be super pricey, wild, or status oriented. The amount and variety of terrain at Snowmass can't be beat. An intermediate can do the alpine Rocky Mountain High trail at the tippy top of Snowmass on a good weather day, if they are willing to ride a poma/disc lift, for an amazing experience. It is a little harder to get to from the east coast but once you are there, you don't need a car and it feels like a real escape. Oh . . . I don't wear Bogner.
Thank you. Your trip report brought me great joy. I too have wonderful memories of Aspen and reading about your trips made me feel I was there. Next time you are in Aspen on a powder day treat yourself to Aspen Ajax. The top-to-bottom tree-lined runs warming up in the gondola between laps and finishing the day with skiboot-clad après in swanky downtown Aspen is nothing short of magical.
 

ski diva

Administrator
Staff member
I've skied at Aspen Snowmass three times without breaking the bank -- two of them on Diva West trips -- and I absolutely loved it. I'd go there again anytime.

That said, today I saw this in outherecoloradocom, and my jaw dropped. Wow. Just wow.

Aspen Snowmass recently announced their season ticket prices for the upcoming season and unlimited access via the 'Premier' Pass will cost $2,399 if purchased today, $2,599 if purchased from September 18 through December 3, and $2,899 if purchased on or after December 4. Insurance also increases based on date, starting at $168, then moving to $182, and eventually hitting $203. This brings the total of a season pass and pass insurance purchased after December 4 to $3,102.

It's worth noting that the 'Premier' season pass includes a complimentary Ikon Base Pass and summer gondola access, along with a number of other benefits. Cheaper passes are also available, along with discounts on the Premier pass for special groups. One pass option limits days on the mountain to either one or two days weekly, with a full price of $1,379 and $1,999, respectively. This is likely the top option for many weekend warriors planning to frequent Aspen this winter.
 

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