Aspen doesn't do anything half way, whether it's an epic day of skiing Highlands Bowl or a night on the town with drinks. But Aspen Snowmass's ski and snowboard school flies under the radar, an underrated program that's setting the standard when it comes to ski lessons. After traveling extensively around mountain towns and experiencing the ups and downs of ski schools, Curbed Ski can definitively say that Aspen Snowmass is our favorite. From the teachers to its safety standards, here are five reasons why it's a top choice for families looking to get those kids on one plank or two.
- It's convenient: Aspen Snowmass runs its ski school program out of all four of its mountains, Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Highlands, and Buttermilk. But due to the ski area's terrain, beginner lessons are only available at Snowmass and Buttermilk. At both mountains there are amazing ski school centers; Buttermilk has The Hideout and Snowmass boasts the Treehouse Adventure Center. Whichever you choose, you can catch buses from town or drop off kids in dedicated drop off areas. We prefer the Snowmass location so that after ditching the kiddos, we can go ski Snowmass's 3,128 acres.
- The facilities are awesome: Your kids will be thrilled with either The Hideout or the Treehouse Adventure Center. Play rooms, childcare for infants and toddlers, and lots of fun toys make ski school a treat. The Treehouse is particularly inviting; located at the base of the Village Express Lift there's a dedicated check-in, ski rental, and gear shop packed with kids items.
- It's safe and organized: Peace of mind as a parent is a key factor when choosing ski school. Instructors label and keep track of all of your kids' gear so that you won't return home with only half a ski kit. There's also dedicated learning areas (think magic carpet) for beginner skiers and snowboarders at both Snowmass and Buttermilk. From the moment your child is dropped off, friendly staff ensure that they are well taken care of and safe.
- The instructors are great: Whether your child is learning to ski or snowboard, the instructors at Aspen Snowmass are top notch. These aren't ski bums just looking to score some cash; the instructors really enjoy kids. Little touches like handing out nicknames, giving kids trinkets like feathers, and playing games are all in a day's work.
- Kids learn quickly: Sign up for a three days worth of lessons and your child will make tons of progress with skiing or snowboarding. It's usually possible to get the same instructor multiple days in a row, and each instructor keeps track of a student's progress on handy ID badges. Class sizes are small so each skier or snowboarder gets lots of individualized attention. Instructors are also available after class to talk to parents and give tips on what kids need to work on in the future.
No matter where you enroll your kids, ski school isn't cheap. But if you think about it as an investment in your favorite winter pastime, it's worth it. The most important factor is to make sure that you're getting a good value; ski school is pointless if after several days in lessons your child is still stuck on the magic carpet. Fortunately, the crew at Aspen Snowmass have every element of ski lessons down pat.