If you’re not in the mood for a seated, multicourse lunch with slippers, grab a seat in the bar or on the patio for a quick bowl of Ribbolita, a hearty Tuscan stew that makes a perfect snack before getting back on the slopes.
Snowmass Gets Savory With Sam's
By Oliver Sharpe, updated November 2022
Aspen Snowmass is known for delivering exceptional experiences in unexpected places. Sam’s, perched atop Snowmass, continues the tradition of high-country hospitality with exquisite Italian fare served at 10,000 feet.
Located at the top of the Village Express lift, Sam’s is both convenient to access and perfectly situated to highlight views from Big Burn to Mt. Sopris. The name—of both the restaurant and the peak on which it sits—honors Sam Stapleton, a local rancher who spent his teenage years tending his family’s sheep on the lower slopes in the summer and exploring the higher mountains on skis in the winter.
The restaurant, which opened in 1967 alongside the first lifts on Snowmass, has a rich history of revelry. In its most recent incarnation, the fully renovated Sam’s provides a true mountain oasis. Welcomed by a warm fire and plush couches, guests are invited to slide out of their ski boots and into some slippers. Comfortable feet are critical when leaning into a long lunch, and once your feet are cozily ensconced in the complimentary slippers you can get serious about your meal.
If you have room for more, the Pizza a la Nonna, a doughy homage to Sicilian grandmothers, is not to be missed. A square pie with perfectly caramelized edges, it is served with shears to cut your own slices. (Personally, I am a fan of food that comes with specialty tools). The pasta dishes are all handmade in-house and generously offered in two sizes, to avoid the embarrassing situation of being taken down by ski patrol in a toboggan after crushing too many carbs. The Rigatoni Bolognese and Bucatini Pomodoro are simple dishes executed excellently with locally-sourced ingredients.
How to Do Sam's Fast
Between the majestic views, exceptional ambiance and authentic food, Sam’s is once again the center of the dining universe on Snowmass. Walk-ins are welcome but it fills up fast, reservations are recommended.