There are a lot of things I love about the X Games at Buttermilk in Aspen. One of the most important being that families (and everyone) can attend the events for free.
It’s one of my favorite free things at Aspen Snowmass.
X Games 2016 starts this week and so today I have a rundown of all things free (and a couple good deals that are either low-cost or will save you money) on the four mountains and in the towns. Take advantage of some of these while you’re at X Games or anytime you find yourself in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Free Activities and Events
- While many resorts charge for First Tracks, Aspen Snowmass gives the privilege away to a limited number of people on certain days. Register the night before by calling or register as a guest at the Limelight Hotel.
- If you have your own Nordic/cross-country gear, work up a sweat and an appetite on over 60 miles of free access maintained trails.
- Hike Highland Bowl. A bucket-list journey for many, score a free snowcat ride partway up the mountain. From there you earn your turns, but each step is worth it.
- Make your kid a VIK. Snowmass offers daily Very-Important-Kid programming, with a diverse array of activities from crafts and s’mores to up-close and personal interaction with wildlife from the Aspen Center for Environmental Studes (ACES). Most activities are free. Some like Ullr nights have a nominal charge.
- Visit the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center to learn more about the 2010 dig that uncovered amazing 150,000 year old fossils. The Center is hands-on and informative with interpreters to answer all of your questions
- Ski a run at Snowmass with an ACES Ambassador and learn more about the high Rockies environment. Or take a free history tour with the Aspen Historical Society on Mondays at Aspen Highlands. All four mountains also offer daily Ambassador tours.
- Off-mountain, learn more about the local landscape and its inhabitants. Visit the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) at Hallam Lake and take a free tour of the grounds.
- One of my favorite on-mountain features at Aspen Snowmass is Art in Unexpected Places, an initiative with the Aspen Art Museum. Notice that your lift pass is actually a piece of art. Look beyond your pocket and be amazed at what you’ll find each season on the mountains. Then, visit the museum, with free daily admission.
- For culture of a different sort, catch a free Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert throughout the season. Next up? Ra Ra Riot on February 13th.
- Not quite free, but for only $5 enjoy yoga on top of Aspen Mountain. Yoga for Skiers is offered Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:30-10:30 a.m. at the Sundeck.
Tips and Tricks for Saving Money
- Don’t go hungry. Aspen Snowmass offers free Lavazza coffee at the bottom of each mountain every morning. The resort also hands out free mini cliff bars and hot cider at on-mountain guest service locations throughout the day.
- Park for free. All parking at Buttermilk is free and you can get to Highlands via a skier shuttle that runs every 15 minutes. HOV parking (4 or more people) let’s you park for free at Highlands and Snowmass (free for all after 12:00 noon). Or park at the Snowmass Rec Center and take the free bus.
- Dine with a view. Bring your lunch and find an on-mountain picnic tables. At Snowmass, look for tables at Gunner’s View, Sandy Park and Whispering Jessie. Our favorite is just below the new High Alpine lift. It’s a smart place to take a break and look for your tracks after skiing the mountain’s double black terrain in the Cirque. At Buttermilk, there are picnic tables at the summit as well as near the West Buttermilk magic carpet and near Homestead Road. For the best view at Aspen Highlands, stake your claim to the Upper Robinson’s picnic table, with an amazing view of the Maroon Bells. Finally, on Aspen Mountain look for tables near Buckhorn Cabin.
- Rent skis or snowboards from Four Mountain Sports and they’ll store and transfer your gear. Rent gear for kids ages 7-12 from Four Mountain Sports and your kids will ski free.
- Speaking of kids, those six and under always ski for free.
- To save money on everyone else’s lift tickets, purchase them online, at least seven days out.
- Finally, ski in spring. The snow can be divine, plus rates drop on most everything, and special deals abound, after April 1st.
More X Games:
- A Family Guide to the Winter X Games, January 5, 2012.
- Buttermilk Deluxe: X Games, A Purple Moose and the Best Deal in Aspen, January 14, 2013.
- A Fireside Chat with Tom Wallisch at the X Games, January 31, 2014.
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