The Aspen-Snowmass ski area encompasses 5,300 acres over four mountains (Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass, and Buttermilk). In the middle of it all, the town of Aspen has loomed large for decades, with every new development setting off an avalanche of news in the ski world.
The big news this season, however, is unfolding 9 miles west of Aspen at the base of Snowmass Mountain. There, the developer Related WestPac is unveiling an entirely new village on what was previously just gravel parking lots. Of the four peaks, Snowmass is known for its sheer size, with more skiable acreage than the other three mountains combined. Over the past two years some 90 ski-in, ski-out condos have opened in the new Snowmass Village along with a smattering of restaurants, a kids’ activity center, and a beginners’ ski school.
November marked the opening of the new village’s showpiece: the Viceroy Snowmass hotel (from $450/night). The 173-room resort represents a novel venture for the Viceroy brand, which previously cropped up in strictly sunshiney spots (Southern California, Miami, Mexico, and Anguilla). Upon entering Viceroy Snowmass, one of the first things a visitor notices is a glass bar that starts in the lobby before zooming into a lounge, 87 feet later. Outside sits a heated pool with a chairlift sweeping overhead (pictured); nearby, guests can roast s’mores in an alfresco lounge. Belgian designer Jean-Michel Gathy designed the interiors using a Rockies palette of reclaimed timber and heavy stone. The slick yet cozy lodgings range from studios to four-bedroom suites and come with kitchens, decks, and glass-fronted gas fireplaces.
And what gives the Viceroy an edge on its counterparts? For one, it is ski-in, ski-out (only Aspen’s Little Nell can claim the same thing). The resort also hosts a full spa: Treatments range from the traditional, with techniques inspired by the Ute Indian tribe of southwestern Colorado, to the modern, with facials that hydrate using hyperbaric oxygen.
From the Feb/March 2010 issue of Sherman’s Travel magazine. For more trip planning information, see our Aspen Travel Guide.