Activities for Non-Skiers

We’ve got you covered with off-slope opportunities for recreation and entertainment at Aspen Snowmass, whether you prefer an on-mountain adventure minus the skiing, or a cultural excursion in town.

a group of people walking in a snowy area with trees and lights

By Oliver Sharpe
Published March 2023

Are you the gracious friend, partner, or family member who agrees to a ski vacation so your loved ones can hit the slopes, even if winter sports aren’t for you? Or maybe you’re just skied-out after overindulging in downhill pursuits, and you’re looking for a break? Fear not, intrepid traveler, off -slope opportunities for recreation and entertainment abound in Aspen Snowmass. We’ve got you covered, whether you prefer an on-mountain adventure minus the skiing, or a cultural excursion in town.

Going up

The Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen, CO

The Silver Queen Gondola in Aspen, CO

Riding the gondola is an integral part of the winter resort experience. Gliding through the trees as skiers carve turns below you offers a unique perspective of our local environment, and a Sightseeing Ticket allows guests to enjoy the sensation of going up a mountain without having to ski down.

The Silver Queen Gondola rises out of the center of town to the summit of Aspen Mountain at 11,212 feet, providing glimpses of expert terrain, decommissioned mines and the occasional porcupine along the way. Breathtaking views of the rugged Elk Mountain Range await at the top, where you can enjoy an Italian drinking chocolate or espresso from the Lavazza cafe, or a banh mi sandwich from the Sundeck restaurant.

On Snowmass, the eight person Elk Camp Gondola whisks riders from Base Village to the Elk Camp restaurant, a stylish lodge that boasts an impressive salad bar, fresh sandwiches and an outdoor grill on the sun-filled patio. It’s the perfect staging spot to access the Snowmass activities below.

Sightseeing Tickets are available from ticket offices and at Gondolas run from 9am until 3:30pm daily. Don’t miss the last ride down at 4pm.

Speeding Down

Breathtaker Alpine Coaster on Snowmass

Breathtaker Alpine Coaster on Snowmass

Also accessible from the Elk Camp Gondola are the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster and tubing at Elk Camp Meadows. Featuring a two-person car with brakes controlled by the rider, the Breathtaker lives up to its name by hitting speeds of up to 28mph on the elevated downhill track as it winds through the forest. Bundle up, as it’s a brisk ride regardless of how much you use the brakes.

For those who don’t meet the height requirements for the Coaster, or who are just looking for something a little less speedy, try the lift-served tubing lanes carved into the slopes of Elk Camp Meadows. Tube rentals and unlimited rides are included in each pass.

Activities are weather dependent and operate from 11am until 3:30pm daily. Passes are available for the coaster and tubing individually or as a package.

Nature Walks

The Aspen Snowmass ski areas sit in the White River National Forest, but you don’t necessarily have to ski to enjoy the area’s natural wonders. Guided snowshoe tours led by professional Naturalists from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) offer a glimpse into the high alpine ecosystem and a moderate workout over the course of a 1.5-mile excursion. Tours are available daily at 10am and 1pm and depart from the Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain, and the Elk Camp Gondola on Snowmass. Gondola ride, snowshoes, snowshoe instruction, and a knowledgeable guide are all included. Warm, waterproof boots are highly recommended. Tours daily at 10am and 1pm.
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Ice Skating

If you are intrigued by sliding on frozen surfaces, but not necessarily looking to employ gravity while doing so, ice skating is the perfect fit. The rink in Snowmass Base Village offers free skating and skate rentals from 1pm until 9am daily. Cozy fire pits and cocktails from Limelight Snowmass or The Collective will keep you warm between triple salchows. In Aspen, the Silver Circle Ice rink offers skating under the stars. Skate rentals are available from CP Burger—along with burgers, tots and spiked shakes, which make the skating a little more fun and the falls a bit more bearable.

Après Anytime

It’s a little-known fact that skiing is not actually required to participate in après. While post-ski revelry was traditionally reserved for those who conquered the slopes, these days everyone is invited to the party, no conquering required. In Aspen check out Ajax Tavern, located on the sunny side of Gondola Plaza, for DJs, dancing, and drinks—all of which start well before the mountain closes and continue through dinner. In Base Village, Limelight Snowmass offers live music, wood-fired pizzas, and s’mores.

High Art

The Aspen Art Museum (AAM) features rotating exhibits across three floors of gallery space, and offers the best vista in town from the Rooftop Café, elevated over Aspen’s rooftops and boasting direct views of the Silver Queen Gondola and Aspen Mountain. Admission to the museum is free, as is the wi-fi at the cafe if you’re looking to have a coffee and get some work done. The après party from 5-9pm on Saturday is one of Aspen’s newest—and best—parties, featuring drinks from the Slippery Slope bar and beats by DJ Golden.

Aspen Art Museum is open 10am-6pm Tuesday through Sunday. Admission is free.

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