Families flock to Aspen’s ski trails each winter – after all, the four mountains offer incredibly varied terrain, plus stellar ski schools and upbeat on-mountain dining. But there’s so much outdoor adventure for families to enjoy off the slopes as well. Here are just a few suggestions:
Take a sleigh ride to Pine Country Cookhouse. Surrounded by jagged, snow-covered mountain peaks and pristine forest, you ride in a sleigh for about 20 minutes to a remote log cabin for a gourmet lunch or dinner. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can certainly snowshoe or cross-country ski on the flat trail, as well. The “mountain gourmet” menu is delicious, though pricey; there is a children’s menu available. I consider a meal at Pine Country Cookhouse a “special occasion” event.
Ride in a dogsled. This is another relatively expensive endeavor, but certainly memorable! Behind a team of 10 Alaskan sled dogs, and guided by an experienced musher, you speed across meadows and around twisting turns through pretty Aspen/Snowmass wilderness. Choose a morning or afternoon ride; each adventure with Krabloonik Restaurant & Dogsledding is accompanied by a three-course gourmet lunch. Each sled fits two adults and a small child; children under 3 not permitted.
Go on a snowmobile tour: T-Lazy-7 is Aspen’s oldest working ranch, and in the winter it operates fun snowmobile rides up to the picturesque Maroon Bells. Zooming through aspen groves and ultimately reaching the base of North America’s most photographed peaks is an outstanding experience! Riders must be 18 years old to operate the snowmobiles, but children over age 3 can ride along. In addition to the two-hour tour to Maroon Bells, consider a three-hour lunch tour to Klondike Cabin, for views of pointy Pyramid Peak.
Spin around on the ice: Silver Circle ice rink is an outdoor arena in the middle of downtown Aspen, charging reasonable rates for skate rentals – or bring your own! It’s particularly fun to take some twirls in the early evening under the twinkling lights. Other spots to skate include the free ice outside the Aspen Recreation Center, or pay to skate on its indoor, NHL-sized Lewis Ice Arena. (There’s a great pool and water slide inside the ARC, too!)
Colorado freelance writer Kara Williams can’t wait for the flakes of snow to fall at her Aspen-area home.