Affordable Snowmass? Yes, You Can

This was our third trip to Snowmass, and I have finally discovered that Snowmass is Aspen. Yep, Snowmass does not have its own address. It is a part of Aspen. Now that I know, the restaurant prices make more sense. I hadn’t noticed extraordinarily high prices here before inflation, but now they are a little painful.

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However, on this visit, we found a few ways to make Snowmass an affordable escape. Our trip was in February, but much of this post isn’t season-sensitive. We escaped for a few days with our friends Mechelle and Caleb.

Whether visiting with family or friends, Top of the Village is a good lodging choice. There are two to five-bedroom condos, and excellent amenities. The pool deck at the Gatehouse features three hot tubs. We had a two-bedroom with a view of the ski slope.

The condos are ski-in/ski-out and have patios with a barbecue (a helpful way to save some pennies on a delicious supper). More on that later. With a fireplace, comfy beds, and pillows (always a big deal to me), a stay here is comfortable and relaxing. Plus, there is a free shuttle up and down the mountain, because even though it isn’t far, the mountain is steep, perfect for skiing, but at more than 8,000 feet above sea level, it’s a bit of a slog to walk up.

Snowmass is broken into several villages, all slopeside, so getting around is either hiking up and downhill, shuttling, or taking Skittles, a cool little people mover from the lower village to the other.

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Riding Skittles in Snowmass, Colorado.

We’ve been to Snowmass twice in the summer (this was our first winter visit). Wildflowers are thick here in the summer and hiking is a must. Beautiful hikes can be taken from your condo door, with no need to drive. Some fascinating, free hiking tours are available with guides from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES). This area is full of prehistoric history, and I encourage you to explore this further. A free, guided hike is one way to do just that.

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Our first trip to Snowmass in 2015.

Since we visited this February, we could have done a free snowshoe tour, but instead, we decided to go to the Snowmass Club for some free snowshoeing without a guide. Snowshoeing or cross-country skiing is available and it’s relatively flat for those not keen on hilly terrain (at least the part close to the clubhouse is flat).

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Snowshoeing at the Snowmass Club.

We were with friends, not kiddos, but if you are traveling with children in tow, check out this page.

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View from the gondola in Snowmass, Colorado.

You’ll have to buy a pass but whether you go in the winter (and don’t ski) or the summer, a Sightseeing Ticket on the gondola is a must. This will get you up the mountain and this is where you want to be, especially during the summer.

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Top of the world in Snowmass, Colorado.

My first tip for saving money in Snowmass is to head to the grocery store, Clark’s. Located just south of the lower village, it is hidden and I hadn’t seen it on previous trips. I’m a sucker for a small grocery store. The prices didn’t seem to be any higher than at my home grocery store (thanks inflation).

Mechelle and Caleb treated us to a dinner of hamburgers on the grill with french fries and a dessert of peanut butter banana cake that Mechelle had made. We also ate breakfast on Saturday morning at our condo. I made bagel egg sandwiches in our condo’s kitchen. Eating in is an excellent way to save a few pennies, and with a view of skiers, it is a pleasant option as well.

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Our slopeside condo at Top of the Village in Snowmass, Colorado.

We visited the Ranger Station, which is a New Belgian Brewery bar at Snowmass. Stop here for slopeside seating, a tiny bar, and craft beer at the same price as one would pay at the brewery. No ski resort upcharge here!

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We spent a glorious afternoon swimming in the warm pool, and soaking in the hot tubs at Top of the Village’s gatehouse. The sun shone for our entire visit, which isn’t rare in Colorado, so don’t forget to bring a hat and sunscreen.

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One evening, we splurged on dinner and drinks in the village. I’ve been a fan of the tableside guacamole at Venga Venga Cantina & Tequila Bar for many years. So, that’s where we ended up. Of course, the entire experience was delicious and pricey.

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Before dinner, we hit Tavern Kitchen & Bar for a drink, a new spot in Snowmass. A DJ was on the mic and a band was setting up on stage. Filled with a much younger crowd it was still fun and I would go again. The dinner menu was expensive, but the drink prices were well-priced. Lunch prices seem reasonable, by the way.

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Tavern Kitchen & Bar

After dinner, we stopped at Zane’s Tavern, which, “Aspen Times” has called one of Valley’s Only (Five) Dive Bars. Zane’s is all dark wood and exactly what I want in a good dive bar. I’d return, for sure. We had a nightcap and even though I was full, a hamburger that came to the patron next to me looked mighty good.

Snowmass isn’t a place to go for a cheap Colorado getaway, however, if the goal is to save a few pennies while visiting, it is possible. Go to the local grocery store and eat in for several meals. Spend time doing free stuff like hot tubbing and hiking, and hit the local dive bars for affordable drinks. If you play your cards right, Snowmass/Aspen doesn’t have to break the bank.

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Thank you to Top of the Village & CoralTree Hospitality for hosting our stay.

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