Tag Archives: parents

Hiking on Aspen Mountain

When it comes to “reasons why we all love summer,” few things rank higher on the list than the classic family vacation. Its that rare time in the year when you can reconnect and rejuvenate as a family, and build memories for your kids that they’ll carry into adulthood.

With all that in mind, there is also nothing wrong in cherishing time away with your spouse while your kids dive head-first into the Camp Aspen Snowmass experience. Reconnect? Rejuvenate? Build memories to last a lifetime? Do for each other what you’re doing for your kids by enjoying these six “grown-up-centric” things to do in and around Aspen Snowmass.

Bike Snowmass, couple, Colorado1. Bike Snowmass

While there are plenty of kid-friendly mountain biking trails at Bike Snowmass — as well as around the valley — there are plenty you’ll pass up due to difficulty if the kids come along. Chase each other up and down the mountain on such trails as the Vapor Trail and Cross Mountain Trail. It’s the ultimate couples workout.

2. Yoga at Sundeck

At 10:20am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through the summer, we offer free yoga classes at the Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain (with gondola ticket purchase). It’s the perfect opportunity for couples to open their minds, stretch their bodies and savor the remarkable views of the Elk Mountains. Follow the class with an easy mountain-top hike.

Dining al fresco at Element 47, Little Nell, Aspen, CO3. Linger Over an Exquisite Lunch

With the kids at Camp Aspen Snowmass for the day, now is the time for you two to indulge your inner foodie and not worry about pleasing a fussy eater or two (or three). No other mountain town in the United States offers a better collection of gourmet restaurants than Aspen (there’s a reason the FOOD & WINE Classic is held here). This higher standard of dining even carries over to the on-mountain offerings at Elk Camp, Sundeck and Ajax Tavern, where you’ll savor exceptional cuisine in a casual, laidback environment.

4. Indulge in a Little Shopping

If you are in need of some new threads — or just want to rediscover the joys of shopping without the kids in tow — Aspen is tailor-made for this moment. Throughout the walkable and charming downtown, you’ll find a blend of haute couture brands (e.g. Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna, Burberry), upscale consignment stores, shoe boutiques, jewelers, art galleries and wine shops.

Hiking in wildflowers near Aspen, CO5. Rise Above It All On a Strenuous Hike

Rediscover the joys of solitude with each other by taking a pulse-quickening hike in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Here, in the shadows of six 14,000-foot peaks, you can reach unbelievable heights and take in some of Colorado’s best scenic vistas. Find trail suggestions on our complete guide to the area.

6. Speaking of Indulgence … Hit the Spa

Everybody could use a little pampering now and again, and here’s your chance. Swing by the Remède Spa at the St. Regis Aspen, the Auberge Spa at the Hotel Jerome, the Aspen Club & Spa at the Sky Hotel, or any of a number of local day spas and take your unwinding to a new level.

7. Savor a Night on the Town

Camp Aspen Snowmass’ overnight campouts for kids serve a dual purpose. Foremost is the unforgettable experience your children will have sleeping out under the stars. But we also can’t forget what it affords the two of you: the chance to savor Aspen and Snowmass’ dining, nightlife, and arts and culture scene on your own terms. Begin your evening with a stroll through the Aspen Art Museum, take in a performance by the renowned Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, dine at any of a handful of acclaimed restaurants (such as Element 47, Rustique or Matsuhisa) and then take in a concert at Belly Up. When you pick-up the kids in the morning, they might think they had more fun than the two of you… just let them believe what they want.

Shuttles to Camp Aspen Snowmass

Parents: as you plan out your day without the kiddos, take note that we offer free shuttles from Aspen (pickup is at 8am at the Yellow Brick Schoolhouse between First & Garmisch on Bleeker St.) to Camp Aspen Snowmass. This gives you a great option to get your day together started quickly if you are Aspen-based. Learn more on our Parent Information page for Camp Aspen Snowmass.

Ski school for kids at Aspen Snowmass

The practical part of preparing your child for ski school — having proper equipment and how to layer, for example — is only one aspect of it. Equally important (if not more so) is emotional preparedness, which will help the child get the most out of his or her lesson, plus provide the foundation for a long-term interest in skiing or snowboarding.

At Aspen/Snowmass, this less-tangible side of learning to ski or snowboard is at the heart of every lesson. Pros use the CAT model (which has cognitive, affective, and physical components) to help their students achieve. And the “affective” piece of the equation — the emotional aspect — “almost supersedes all other things,” says Alex Kendrick, Buttermilk Children’s Coordinator for the ski schools.
Children enjoying Aspen-Snowmass
“If a child is a very strong skier but they’re afraid or don’t feel included, it doesn’t matter what they physically can do,” says Kendrick. “We want to make sure they’re comfortable before anything else. We’re teaching people here — I call them little humans — and everyone comes to us with different needs and different experiences.”

Here are some questions to consider when enrolling your children in ski school, along with Kendrick’s tips to help them have a positive experience that can translate into a long-term affinity for the sport:

How can I, as a parent, help prepare my child emotionally for a ski or snowboard lesson?

Ask your child what they’d like to do, what their goals are (the way you ask the questions will depend on the child’s age). Ask what they’re excited about and what they’re concerned about. Understanding what the child’s expectations are can help mold the parents’ expectations.

Especially with kids who are tentative and may not want to go, it’s important to have this conversation. Tell them that this is an opportunity to learn a lot, to make new friends, or to have an instructor who can show them all the cool stuff on the mountain. Sometimes, it’s just about taking the time to introduce them to their instructor and talk to them about what they’re going to be doing that day, and who they’re going to be with.

What about at the end of the day, especially the first day? What should I talk to my child about to make sure the remainder of the lesson goes well?

As a parent, we want to ask our kids, “What did you learn today?” But typically a child will not know how to answer that; they’ll say, “Nothing.”

A good set of questions starts with, “Did you have fun?” To find out what they learned, you have to be more creative. Ask them what the best part of the day was, and what would they have changed if they could. If they say they wished they could go faster, maybe they need a higher-level lesson. But if they say they were scared or had trouble getting down the slope, maybe it’s worth talking to the instructor about whether they’re in too advanced of a class.

What can I do at the end of the lesson to best prepare us for skiing or snowboarding together as a family?

We strongly recommend that the parents talk to the children’s instructor at the end of the lesson. Ask what runs are appropriate for the family to ski together. Ask what skills they’ve worked on throughout the lesson. Then, allow your child to shine and to show off the skills he or she learned in ski school. Let them lead you down the run.

We also talk a lot about safety, so let the child tell the parents about the safety tips he or she learned as well.

Some additional tips for getting ready:

  • If you have a child who is tentative or has never experienced snowsports before, there are plenty of online opportunities to get them prepared visually before leaving home. Look at the website of the resort you’re going to; show them trail maps and photos. If they can start to see some of things they’re going to experience online, then when they arrive it won’t all be so brand-new looking.
  • Talk to your kids about what the experience is going to be like. In order to set them up for success, sometimes kids need to know in advance what it will be like to get that emotional reinforcement.
  • If possible, come out to the mountain the day before the lesson starts. This gives children the opportunity to see where they’re going to be, to see the instructors dressed in red uniforms, and to get a feel for what they’re going to be doing. For a child, information is power; it can assuage a lot of fears.