By Catherine Lutz
When I was growing up, a family ski vacation was simply that — skiing during the day, and a lot of down time after the lifts closed with not much more to do than play board games in the condo. Well, resort offerings have come a long way, and especially at Aspen Snowmass, the younger set shouldn’t ever complain of having nothing to do.

Here’s your guide to winter fun for the younguns, including plenty of options the whole family can appreciate.

Aspen Snowmass Ski & Snowboard School

First things first, let the Ski and Snowboard School of Aspen Snowmass help develop your child’s talent and passion for schussing. Talented and knowledgeable Pros work with kids at every level over a wide variety of terrain, and younger kids even get their own base camp at one of our two dedicated children’s centers: the Treehouse Kids Adventure at Snowmass and The Hideout at Buttermilk.

Family Fun at Snowmass

At Snowmass, Elk Camp is fast becoming the epicenter of family adventure.
New this winter, the Breathtaker Alpine Coaster offers a thrilling ride through over a mile of forest on an elevated track (kids can ride with a parent or driver who is at least 16 years old). Get the Activities Pass that includes unlimited tubing and you’re in for a full two hours of alternative on-mountain fun!
Breathtaker Coaster at Snowmass
Breathtaker Alpine Coaster at Snowmass

Experience the magic of Elk Camp at night during Ullr Nights, every Friday and select Tuesdays through the ski season. A winter wonderland party starting with a ride to the top of the Elk Camp Gondola, these evenings offer families the chance to enjoy an à la carte dinner at Elk Camp Restaurant while listening to live music, plus a smorgasbord of outdoor activities such as snow biking, tubing, the alpine coaster, guided snowshoe tours, and of course, s’mores and hot chocolate by the bonfire.

Having a Blast Around Town

Kids Winter Guide to Aspen Snowmass
Kids Winter Guide to Aspen Snowmass

Get back to the basics of kid-friendly winter fun at the sledding hill behind the Aspen Recreation Center (ARC). Bring your own sled, and consider making it a complete afternoon with some quality time in the ARC pool (the lazy river and water slide are big hits with kids) and on its climbing wall.
Located smack in the middle of downtown, the Silver City Ice Rink is a local family favorite. Offering skate rentals and plenty of those grab-on skate trainers for the less experienced, it’s an awfully fun way to spend a couple hours — not to mention you can easily refuel, or just sip a drink and watch rinkside at casual eatery CP Burger, which runs the operation.
In addition to its Aspen Recreation Center, the Aspen Recreation Department runs a full slate of kids’ (and adult) activities at its Red Brick Recreation Center in the West End. A favorite indoor activity for the 0-5 set is Playhouse, where kids can tumble, jump, and play on an array of fun shaped mats, bolsters and balls. On Friday mornings, Playhouse adds inflatable bouncy houses to the mix — an ideal way to expend some energy when the weather isn’t cooperating.

Need a more calming activity for the kiddos? The children’s room at the newly renovated Pitkin County Library is a thoroughly kid-approved space, with fun reading nooks, comfy seating, and a play area with a wall of manipulative learning toys. Cuddle up with some books, enjoy quiet play, or attend a storytime or after-school event.

Connecting with Nature

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies offers a variety of fun and informative programs to help kids and family get to know the local natural world better. These include kid-friendly snowshoe tours and family events such as the monthly Astronomy Nights.
Or just take the family on a casual stroll around ACES’s Hallam Lake Preserve, an urban oasis with resident wildlife and a very peaceful, natural vibe.
Kids Winter Guide to Aspen Snowmass
Kids Winter Guide to Aspen Snowmass

Back to Snowmass Village

In Snowmass, kids are prioritized with the comprehensive V.I.K. (Very Important Kids) program, which brings together all of the kid- and family-friendly events and activities across the resort under one umbrella. Just grab a lanyard with that week’s happenings or visit the website for details on daily kids’ entertainment, storytelling, arts and crafts, and more.

Enjoy a truly special Rocky Mountain evening with the whole family on a Moonlit Trek (on the Saturday closest to the full moon each month) or Starlit Trek (the Saturday nearest the new moon) in Snowmass. Based out of the Snowmass Cross-Country Center (the golf course in the summer), these popular events include a 1.2-mile snowshoe or cross-country ski tour, with a stop for cocoa and cookies and a discussion about the night sky with a local astronomer. Then enjoy a buffet pasta dinner topped off with s’mores on the campfire at the Black Saddle Bar & Grille, accompanied by live music by local crooner Tom Paxton.

You Might Also Like