Vertical rise: 4,406 feet
Skiable terrain: 3,332 acres
Lift hours: 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Base elevation: 8,104 feet
Summit elevation: 12,510 feet
Why we love it: Short (or no) lines, long runs, and a huge selection of fabulous intermediate terrain

Since its opening in 1967, Snowmass has gained a reputation as one of Colorado’s best mountain resorts. Its massive size, diverse terrain, extensive ski-in, ski-out accommodations, and fast lifts often make you feel like you’re the only recreationist on the mountain. Best of all, except during major holidays, you’ll rarely find lift lines here, making Snowmass well worth the 3.5-hour drive from Denver.

From wide-open cruisers to steep mogul runs and glades, Snowmass has more than 94 trails, with enough intermediate and expert runs to keep you busy for days. With recently upgraded base facilities and a small but enjoyable beginner area, the resort is laid back and family-friendly, while still offering perks like Gwyn’s High Alpine, a mid-mountain restaurant atop the Alpine Springs Lift that features fine dining with stunning views, as well as a bar and a relaxed café, at a lofty 10,500 feet.

To get you started, we’ve selected half a dozen of our favorite trails, arranged by difficulty level. The list is designed to give you a good taste of the fabulous intermediate terrain for which the mountain is known, as well as some of the more difficult trails to whet your appetite for more.

Difficult: BLUE

Sneaky’s: At the very top of Snowmass Mountain, hop off the Big Burn or Sheer Bliss lifts and take a hard right to a cat track marked Sneaky’s. Because this wide-open cruiser skirts around the mountain’s edge, it offers unrivaled views of the stunning Roaring Fork Valley below.

Sheer Bliss: Also located at the top of the Sheer Bliss or Big Burn lifts, this run, which is usually groomed, starts above treeline before dropping nearly 2,000 feet through beautiful glades. Its rolling terrain is a fun challenge for intermediate skiers, and the route is a great way to access trails on the mountain’s eastern side.

Bull Run: Isolated from the rest of the mountain, this run, which is just left of the Elk Camp Lift, offers iconic views of Maroon Bells from the top, fun intermediate terrain, and small stands of trees that give it an adventurous feel. It’s a great place to head at the end of the day to enjoy some moderate terrain and a long, last run back down to your après ski destination.

More Difficult: Black

Slot: Easily accessed from the base area via the Village Express Lift, Slot is an ungroomed black that starts by running along the Sam’s Knob lift line. This trail is a great place to test your skills on large bumps knowing that you’ll have the choice of making it a short run, by ending at the Sam’s Knob Lift, or a really long one by finishing at the Campground Lift. Only Sam’s Knob returns you to the top.

Garrett Gulch: One of the mountain’s best “bumped out tree runs,” according to the Snowmass website, Garrett Gulch is tucked into a deep valley beneath the Sheer Bliss Lift. This expert run features tree skiing at the top, followed by a jump into a narrow gulch known for stashing powder.

Most Difficult: Double Black

Powderhorn: This demanding trail drops 2,500 feet down the mountain’s backside from the top of Sam’s Knob down to the Campground Lift. It’s infamous for its steep slope, challenging bumps, and for never letting up.

(Check out the Snowmass trail map here.)

Terri Cook
Terri Cook
Terri Cook is an award-winning freelance writer based in Boulder. More of her work can be found at