Prepping for the free après-ski s’mores roast at Snowmass

ASPEN
On mountain: Top off lunch at Bonnie’s with a piece of its famous apple strudel, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Off mountain: The counter-service 520 Grill (520 E Cooper Ave) has plenty of kid-pleasers like hot dogs and mac and cheese, although owner (and father of a 5-year-old) Troy Selby focuses on healthy ingredients and parent-pleasers, such as a mouthwatering bison burger, sweet potato fries, and town’s best kale and quinoa salad (top it with tuna to make it extra delectable). > Because pizza always hits the spot, don’t leave town without stopping by New York Pizza (409 E Hyman Ave) for a huge slice—sufficient as a meal for most, or supplement it with a shareable salad—or have a whole pie delivered. > Ryno’s (420 E Cooper Ave) is a local family favorite for its fresh and local pub fare—and for its kid-magnet video-game arcade with foosball and shuffleboard. Get your après-ski gelato (24 flavors to choose from) or fresh-from-the-oven cookies (10 flavors, including gluten-free chocolate chip) at 40-year downtown staple Paradise Bakery (320 S Galena St). 

ASPEN HIGHLANDS
On mountain: Families are best off at the Merry-Go-Round, with its kids’ menu items, cozy fireplace, and huge outdoor deck, rather than at the raucous party scene of Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro. 

Off mountain: Order up a specialty pizza or some pub grub at Highlands Alehouse at the ski area’s base.

BUTTERMILK
On mountain: For a unique spin on stir-fry, try the Mongolian grill—your choice of protein, veggies, and sauces is cooked in a giant wok—at the mountaintop Cliffhouse.

Off mountain: It’s worth the trip here alone for lunch or dinner at Home Team BBQ, in the Inn at Aspen (38750 Highway 82). This local favorite with deep Southern roots satisfies with flavorful twists on slow-cooked meats, a variety of veggies, and family-style options. From the kids’ menu, try the Lil Q pulled pork or chicken slider.

SNOWMASS
On mountain: Young diners can create a well-rounded meal at Elk Camp with their choice of two items out of the Kids’ Cooler, which stocks fresh fruit, veggies, hummus, and yogurt.

Off mountain: Kids love the free Snowmass S’mores (3:30–4:30 p.m. daily)—look for the tiny trailers resembling oversize marshmallows that dole out fixings to roast over the Base Village or Snowmass Mall fire pits. In Base Village, the Base Camp Bar and Grill has plenty of seating and a varied menu, while the lounge at the new Limelight Hotel serves up Italian comfort fare and offers a large children’s game area. On the seasonally influenced menu at The Artisan in the Stonebridge Inn (300 Carriage Way), healthy kids’ items include grilled salmon and a side of carrot sticks. Taster’s Great Pizza, at the Snowmass Center, also serves up kid-size portions of four kinds of pasta. Make it family game night with bowling, plus wood-fired pizza or burgers, at Snowmass Lanes on the Snowmass Mall.

Teen Scene

What’s fun for a 5-year-old may not resonate with an oh-so-cool kid who’s 15. Here, local teens share some favorite hangs.

Aspen
> Big Wrap and City Market for cheap eats
> CP Burger for its outdoor skating rink
> The three connected pedestrian malls for good people watching and meeting up with friends.
> Aspen Recreation Center for swimming, climbing, and sledding (favored by younger teens)
>  Isis Theater for first-run films 

Snowmass
> Fuel Café for inexpensive breakfast and lunch take-out options
>  New Belgium Ranger Station for its small bites, slopeside patio, and fire pit
> Snowmass Recreation Center for the outdoor pool and drop-in sports like basketball and pickleball
> Fire pits on the Snowmass Mall and in Base Village for free après-ski s’mores

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