Snow machine technology has come a long way. Modern snowcats feature cozy cabins with sound systems, smooth riding suspension, and powerful tracks that grant access to the most intimidating of terrain. They are deployed across Aspen Snowmass for a myriad of mountain operations, including grooming runs, shaping halfpipes and delivering supplies. And the winter workhorses also deliver human “cargo” to some of the most unique experiences available to Aspen Snowmass guests: Snowcat Dinners.

Lynn Britt Cabin on Snowmass and Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro on Aspen Highlands are both open for lunch, but the Snowcat Dinners offer visitors the opportunity to experience the quiet splendor of the mountains after the lifts have stopped spinning and the sun has set. Whether you are looking for an authentic Western evening, romantic fine dining or a fun family affair, there is a Snowcat Dinner for you.
Interior of an Aspen Snowmass snowcat
Interior of an Aspen Snowmass snowcat

Highlands Snowcat
Highlands Snowcat

Lynn Britt Cabin

Lynn Britt Cabin Snowcat Dinner
Lynn Britt Cabin Snowcat Dinner

If you’ve ridden the Village Express lift on Snowmass, you’ve likely seen the Lynn Britt Cabin as you passed the midway station. The historic structure was hand built in the early 20th century with trees from the surrounding Aspen groves as the summer homestead for an Aspen family. From the covered wagon parked next to the fire pit out front, to the moose mounted on the wall, and the Cowboy strumming acoustic tunes, Lynn Britt Cabin is a classic Rocky Mountain retreat.
The twenty-minute journey from Base Village to the cabin in the enclosed snowcats is very much like a taxi ride, if your taxi was a well-appointed tank.
Lynn Britt is cozy and guests are encouraged to settle in for a relaxed four-course meal consisting of locally-sourced, New American fare. There is live music throughout the evening, and often dancing between courses. It’s an intimate environment that promotes camaraderie, don’t be surprised if you leave with more friends than you came with. A nightcap by the firepit is highly recommended.

While Lynn Britt evenings are always family friendly, the Chuckwagon Dinners are geared specifically towards dining with youngsters. The set list swings towards sing alongs and Disney tunes, while the menu tends towards tomato soup, grilled cheese and chicken. Best of all, the cats depart at 7:30pm to ensure that everyone makes it home by bedtime.

Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro

Cloud 9 Alpine Bistro
Cloud 9 Alpine Bistro

The Aspen Highlands snowcat pulls double duty on a daily basis.

It is responsible for shuttling ambitious skiers to the base of Highland Bowl by day, and hauling hungry diners to Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro by night. Cloud Nine leads somewhat of a double life itself. World-renowned for raclette lunches and Veuve-drenched revelry by day, the mountainside refuge transforms into a romantic fine dining establishment after the skiers leave. White linens cover tabletops that were dance floors just hours ago, and the champagne — and wine from an impressive list — actually makes it into glasses.
Executive Chef Michael Johnston, who has helmed Cloud Nine for eight years, delivers decadence through each of the three courses. “I source the highest quality ingredients I can find,” he says. “From Superior Osetra Caviar, Alaskan King Crab, and Maine Lobster, to Colorado Lamb, Wagyu Beef, and Mangalista Pork.” He also works with local producers to incorporate as many regional and seasonal products as possible, going as far as to add a local farm owner to his culinary team this year.

The Highlands snowcat has an open air, bench seat configuration. Warm beverages and waterproof blankets are provided at pickup, but definitely prepare for an outdoor adventure. Outerwear is recommended, and goggles are the mark of a professional when it is snowing. Also, keep in mind that cats depart Cloud Nine at 10 pm and reach the base around 10:30. Part of the magic of the experience is the remoteness of the location, but that also means that you can’t skip a course and leave early. As Hunter S. Thompson said, “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

About the Author

Oliver Sharpe, contributor to AspenSnowmass.com
Oliver Sharpe, contributor to AspenSnowmass.com

OLIVER SHARPE

Oliver Sharpe is a content creator across multiple mediums primarily focused on snacks, travel and leisure pursuits. He is an Emmy-winning television producer and the host of "Après," on Aspen 82. Loves pancakes, hates clowns and only lives to get radical.

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