Happy birthday, Aspen style!

Despite having Aspen, one of the world’s most famous resorts a mere 3.5-hour drive from our house, we had only skied there once many years ago. But I’ve been dying to get back so when we were invited to visit “The Power of Four” resorts–Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Snowmass and Buttermilk–over my birthday weekend, I was ecstatic. We opted to ski Snowmass and Buttermilk, the more family-friendly of the resorts and I can understand why people love the area.

The Birthday Presents

We arrived to Timberline Condos in Snowmass late Thursday night. Occasionally, publicists will gift swag–a neck gator, some mints or a hat. But Aspen/Snowmass were so generous. Check-out this haul for my birthday, including the shirt I’m wearing!

Twinners. Or rather, quadruplers

That would have been plenty (in addition to just being there) but Jamie and the kids bought me a much-needed Sherpani purse and an iPhone 6. My phone has been on the brink of death for months and the battery dies whenever it comes into contact with cold air, a wee problem if you’ve ever been to Colorado. So, the iPhone was a great surprise!

The Skiing

We only stayed one night at the condo, which was located above the base area. Jamie and I have our own skis so we strapped ‘em on. The kids were ski-school bound where they’d get rentals at Snowmass so good parents we are, we made them run down the mountain. “Run Forrest, Run!”

We’ll call that their warmup.

Out of Aspen’s four area resorts, 3,362-acre Snowmass has something for everyone—from long, cruising green and blue runs to glades to double black extreme terrain to terrain parks to excellent learning areas. Aspen Skiing Co. beautifully caters to kids and mine fell in love with the Treehouse, Snowmass’ 25,000-square-foot children’s center with seven interactive nature-themed rooms intended for specific ages as well as a 700-square-foot climbing room.

But forget the indoors, outdoor fun was where it was at!

As you can see, Bode was really sad to have a class full of fellow dudes. Hadley had a blast in her class as well.

I was left alone with my favorite ski buddy to conquer Snowmass. The resort had not received much snow since Christmas did a great job of snow-making to compensate. That said, I really really want to ski Snowmass on a powder day because I think it would be phenomenal.We lunched at Elk Camp, Snowmass’ newest on-mountain restaurant with a creative menu of organic items prepared in their rotisserie, pizza hearth and bake shop. I told Jamie to order me a panini while I hit the salad bar, intending to get just a small for the side. That didn’t happen. It was, hands down, the best ski resort salad bar ever and I ended up with a salad the height of Everest. When Jamie started to judge me for ordering two full meals and a caramel brownie for dessert, I told him it was my birthday, something he needed to be reminded of throughout the day. :-)

Mid-afternoon, the heavens opened and God gave me my birthday gift: a huge dump of snow.

It’s like He totally knows me.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to enjoy the new snow because we had to grab the kids from ski school. We spent over an hour at the free Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center in Snowmass Village and marveled at the ice age discoveries in the area!

The Ullr Night Out

Though some might enjoy a distinguished night out on the town, I preferred family fun at Ullr Nights. Every Friday from 5:30-9 p.m. Ullr, the Norse God of Snow, comes to life. For just $8 per person (kids 3 and under are complimentary), we were whisked up the gondola to Elk Camp’s hoarfrost land of Norse mythology with live music, bonfires, ice skating, treats, entertainment in The Tent and guided snowshoe tours hosted by ACES.

SnowBikin’. Upon arrival, Bode grabbed a Strider snowbike, took the magic carpet up the mountain and skated ?Slid? Biked down the hill. (Whatever the verb, the result was the same: exuberance). Children’s bikes are free with admission; for intermediate skiers ages 12+, a snowbike tour is offered for $69.

Slip Slidin’ Away. What would Ullr Nights be without a gargantuan snow sculpture of Ullr’s face with a slide running through the middle of it? I was content to watch Hadley and Bode at play until they played they taunted me to follow. “What’s the matter, Mom? Too old?”

If careening down Ullr’s nasal passages proved that I’ve still got it on my birthday, so be it. I climbed the slippery slope, lay on my back, crossed my arms and shot outta there like a booger gone bad. Turns out I’ve still got it…and also got a blanket of snow up my back at the bottom.

It was just a reminder of how young (or old?) I really am.

Lift-serviced tubing is a welcome new addition this year and cozily lit multiple lanes are carved into The Meadows at Elk Camp. We linked up, went solo, joked with the staff and laughed as we banked off the turns. Tubing is an additional $24 and be sure to pre-reserve your time.

I’ll tell you later about the woman who did not pre-schedule and the lovely meltdown that ensued.

We had a blast at Ullr Nights but my favorite part of the evening was our ride down the mountain in our gondola.  “It was a dark, snowy night,” I whispered and our impromptu ghost stories began as snow flew around our frosty expanse and the wind clinked through patches of crystals and aspens. Enraptured, the kids wove in their own ghost stories, a befitting end to a mysterious night that gives homage to all things snow.

As far as birthdays goes, this one was pretty darn perfect.

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