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Getting Schooled: Buttermilk and A-Basin Take Instruction to the Next Level

Aspen Snowmass Aspen Snowmass

By Rachel Walker

When the planners at Aspen Skiing Company began designing the Hideout, the new childrens center at the base of Buttermilk, they turned to the expertsthe actual ski instructors and program administratorsto help customize the space. The result is a 7,500-square foot facility that makes dropping off the little ones (kids six and under) for snow school easy.

My family spent a long weekend in Aspen in February and got to experience the Hideout first hand. It was awesome. Heres why:

Parents will appreciate the straightforward registration. There are no mazes to navigate, no just sign this form in this building, then go outside, up the stairs, and into the building straight across the courtyard confusing directions. You simply walk into the Hideout and head to the counters (unless youve pre-registered online).

Kids will appreciate the indoor play spaces. Designed to appeal to imaginative minds, these comfortable nooks and areas are stimulating and engaging. My two-year-old, who spent a day at the Buttermilk Panda Program, was right at home in the playroom (he especially liked the fish tank). My older son reveled in the indoor play space, which is open to the general public. He climbed rope ladders, laughed at himself in the silly, carnival-style mirrors, and mantled up the small rock-gym wall.

As for the actual ski instructionits world class. The Hideout offers convenient access to the slopes (as in: theyre right outside). My little guy cruised the bunny lift and my older one hopped aboard the people mover (with his instructor and fellow classmates) and rode Buttermilks lift for the day.

Its no surprise that Aspens newest ski school is superlative. This is Aspen, after all, and the Treehouse at Snowmass has been earning raving accolades since for years.

Granted, not everyone makes it to Aspen in the winter.

Fortunately, Colorado resorts have mastered the art of teaching kids how to ski and snowboard and making it fun.

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area Arapahoe Basin Ski Area

Arapahoe Basin is set to unveil its brand new kids center thisweek. A Basins personalized instruction has earned it a cult-like following from Front Range parents. Now the new center offers a facility to match the level of instruction. Its conveniently located, has easy access to beginner terrain, and was built with the intention of turning your little kids into budding rippers.

Ive written before about the different multi-week lesson packages available at Colorado ski areas and also about the incredible ski school in Steamboat, and in both posts, I focused on the quality of the instruction. Yes, that is paramount!

But also important is having a place insidewhether its for snacks and cocoa, for resting, or to watch video of your lesson. As we work our way around the state, Im continually impressed with the facilities were discovering.