There's nothing like skibiking at Snowmass on a powder day! I first experienced Snowmass in 1989 on a snowboard, gotta say this is even better.
I packed up the bike in the back of the pickup and headed west last Friday morning and arrived in Snowmass around 11:00 a.m. They had just received 11 inches of fresh powder so the slopes were calling my name.
Bikes are not allowed on the Snowmass Village shuttles or the RFTA buses so I had a bit of a dilemma. I ended up locking the bike to the railing in front of the Treehouse base area and drove back down to the Rodeo Lot free parking. It was then a 10 minute shuttle ride back up to the ski area.
After turning in my Real Deal vouchers, they issued me a Aspen/Snowmass RFID card upon paying a $5 deposit. I stuck it in an upper jacket pocket and I was set for three days of lift tickets. They don't use human ticket scanners there anymore, you have to go through a gate that scans the card and it lets you in.
|Plastic RFID lift ticket card|
The Elk Camp area was first on my agenda. It's always fun on a powder day. I got in the Elk Camp Gondola line and nobody shooed me out. The lifties loaded it inside the gondola car for me and then enjoyed a 15 minute ride to the top. I jumped out and then loaded on the Elk Camp Lift.
At the top I headed down the slope under the lift. Pure untracked powder bliss. Faceshots even. I was in pure heaven. No people on the slope either. Lots of cheering from the lift above.
I blew through hero moguls, jumps, and other awesomeness. Didn't get any of those "You can only take those on green or blue runs" questions back at the bottom of the Elk Camp Lift.
It was so much fun, I did it a few more times. When people starting stealing my powder, I moved over to The Burn.
If you only have a short time to skibike at Snowmass, head for the Burn. It's terrain I've been dying to try on a bike for the past two seasons. It was everything I expected it to be. Pure awesomeness!
Trees, deep powder, jumps, and drops can all be found up there. It got pretty foggy up there and the snow was coming down hard so I headed down to lower slopes.
Ran into several friends there. The NASTAR National Championships were being held. I went and said "hello" to my racing friends, a few former U.S. Olympians (pacesetters), and Franz 'Fuxi' Fuchsburger. Franz had his trailer stolen back in January and I was curious if he had gotten it back.
It was then time for some freestyle. I tried out the 12 foot halfpipe and the rollers near the base area. One kid was yelling for me to do a backflip. I cleared the lip but that was it. Total fun. The rollers were just plain fun too. Eight quick jumps in succession.
I then repeated the above for the next two days.
The skibike beta on Snowmass:
Ride any lift you want. Peggers have plenty of room in the gondola. Use a leash on the lifts.
Lots of curious people. Many asked where to rent one or get lessons. No haters. Numerous employees asking where to buy one.
Ride anything that looks fun. I recommend Elk Camp, The Burn, and Sam's Knob. The place is huge and I didn't get up to Hanging Valley or The Cirque. The Lowdown Park is a great beginner park.
Bike types allowed:
Not sure. I wouldn't bring anything too ghetto. Most of the lifties either drooled over the bike and asked questions or stood back and observed to make sure you knew how to load.
Don't load on chairs with little kids. You can't put the bar down and there are anxious parents. Tell adults too - there are nervous adults that like the bar down too.
Bikes aren't allowed on any available public transport. Unless you like paying $20/day for the parking garage you are screwed. The garage was full for the weekend too.
The Aspen SkiCo Overnight Ski Storage Rack people + Snowmass Mall Guest Services worked out a solution. SkiCo Snowmass Mall Pavillion Guest Services let me store the bike overnight behind the desk. The Pavillion is totally locked up overnight. I paid $7/night + tips.
Total pain in the kester:
The gates for the lifts are a pain. It's hard to get the bike through before the metal bar swings around. It can snag the bike and trap it. You're then jammed in the gate. The lifties will come and help you get unstuck. Some gates are narrower than others.
In all, Snowmass is a fantastic place to ride. Do it!
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