We’re not morning people at our house. We don’t like alarm clocks and we’re prone to sleeping in — unless we’re skiing. Then we have no problem getting out of bed.
It’s all about First Tracks.
First Tracks at Snowmass
Like many resorts, Aspen Snowmass offers a First Tracks program with early mountain access. Unlike many resorts, they don’t charge for it. First Tracks on both Aspen and Snowmass Mountains is free and one of the best deals in Ski Country!
First Tracks starts at 8:00 a.m. every day at Aspen and on Wednesday and Friday mornings at Snowmass. Space is limited and reservations are required. You have to be at least 11 years old and an upper-level intermediate or above skier or snowboarder.
When there is powder in the forecast, the spaces fill quickly. Since your name has to be on “the list,” there’s no point trying to poach a spot in line.
But even when its a bluebird morning, it’s worth waking early for First Tracks.
The mountains are sublime in early morning. In early January, when we did First Tracks at Snowmass, the days are short and the sun hadn’t yet crested the mountains to the east. As we rode up the lift, the sun rose over the mountains. By the time we reached the top, the summit was bathed in light.
Based on this visual experience alone, First Tracks was worth it. And we hadn’t even started skiing!
Perfect, Pristine Corduroy.
Crowds line up at 11:55 a.m. each day at Snowmass, awaiting the rope drop on the “Noon Groom.”
First Tracks offers the same untouched experience with many fewer people and no waiting.
Our First Tracks experience took us to the top of Sheer Bliss, where we had our choice of three immaculate runs from the top of the Big Burn. While we all yearn for untouched powder, carving up untouched corduroy is surprisingly rewarding and exhilarating.
The silky smooth runs will make you a hero.
Your Personal Mountain.
When you ski First Tracks, you’re paired with mountain hosts and pros from the Aspen Snowmass Ski and Snowboard Schools. While some of them bring their clients and quickly disperse to start the day’s lessons, independent skiers are grouped with a pro and perhaps 5 other people.
Wait for a quick safety talk, alerting you to snow cats and machines working the mountain. Then, be prepared to ski behind your guide. Since these folks really rip, that’s not much of a problem.
When the lifts start turning for everyone, you’re free to ski on your own, having just jump-started your day, in a most rewarding way.
Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance. Sign up at the gondola ticket office in Aspen or call 970-920-0755. For Snowmass, call or stop by the information desk in the ticket pavilion, 970-923-0560.
Also, here’s a fun tip: After First Tracks, grab some breakfast. If you want to stay on the mountain, try Gwyn’s at the top of the Alpine Springs lift or ski down to the Artisan Restaurant at the Stonebridge Inn. In Aspen, we recommend Poppycock’s.
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