Aspen Snowmass is an uphill-friendly ski resort, meaning uphillers can enjoy climbing the four mountains and skiing down them via designated routes. Locals across the Roaring Fork Valley — and Colorado — have taken up a passion for uphilling here, and you can get in the game by renting uphilling skis of your own.
5 Unusual Winter Sports At Aspen Snowmass
By Oliver Sharpe
Updated February 2023
Updated February 2023
While skiing and snowboarding are the obvious options, Aspen Snowmass offers numerous chances to expand your sporting horizons beyond the slopes. From sliding stones across a sheet of ice to pedaling a fat bike up a snowy path, opportunities abound to get outside, get some exercise, and have some fun.
If you’ve ever been bowling and thought, “we should be doing this on ice” then curling is for you! Dating back to 16th century Scotland, curling pits two teams of players against one another, but rather than rolling balls at pins, competitors slide 40-pound stones across a sheet of ice towards targets of concentric circles. The name references the rotation of the stones which causes them to “curl” towards their targets. The Aspen Curling Club hosts matches every Wednesday at the Aspen Ice Garden, and Aspen Snowmass offers a quick introduction to the sport at Game Of Stones each Thursday at the Snowmass Base Village Ice Rink.Learn more
The utilitarian origins of skiing date back to the 18th century when Norwegians strapped skis to their feet to travel quickly and safely over snow. Nordic equipment is more technologically advanced these days, but the methods are largely unchanged. There’s classic cross-country skiing, which places practitioners in tracks as they propel themselves with alternating forward strides; and skate skiing, which incorporates a side-to-side motion on the skis’ edges similar to ice skating. Gear for both disciplines is available at the Aspen Nordic Center, the gateway to more than 50 miles of groomed Nordic trails in Aspen Snowmass.Learn more
Aspen is a cycling mecca in the summertime, but a little snow on the ground doesn't mean the wheels stop spinning. “Fat bikes,” with oversized tires and fenders to protect riders from the elements, allow for comfortable year-round riding. The fat tires are typically run at a lower PSI, allowing more surface area to contact the ground, providing better grip and stability even on snow. Fat bikes are available for rent at bike shops around town or at the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Center. They are perfect for conquering trails around town or for a ride to the Maroon Bells if you’re feeling especially adventurous.
Snowbikes—not to be confused with fat bikes—do not have pedals and are actually ridden downhill on ski slopes. Originally known as skibobs, snowbikes have seats and frames similar to bicycles, but the wheels are replaced with skis. Riders also wear boots and small skis on their feet to assist in steering. Rentals and lessons are available on Snowmass.Learn more
Sliding sideways behind the wheel of a vehicle is typically a harrowing experience. But it’s all part of the fun at Aspen Ice Karting, a pop-up cart racing operation on Kodiak Lake in Willits. Karts are equipped with spiked tires for traction on their frozen lake, but a little drift is expected—and even welcomed—through the turns. Speeds reach 50mph on the straightaways ensuring a heart pumping winter driving experience.Learn more