For the sake of the blog, I am exploring all that our teen boy can do this summer that won’t cost us a fortune, beginning with exploring the Aspen Snowmass Lost Forest. My commitment to the boys (not promise) is to try my best to do everything they do, even though I’m one of the worlds pluckiest chickens when it comes to going outside my comfort zone.
With two teenagers taking flight, I am thankful to still have one adventurous 13 year old boy remaining who will still get out there with me. We don’t need the evidence to prove that a few hours on Fortnight and he emerges a dark and moody teen, his sunny disposition gone, and thus I do my best to steer him away from the indoors.
During the first week of Aspen Snowmass summer operations passholders received one free Lost Forest daily admission, including the alpine coaster and the treeline challenge course, as well as one free lift haul ticket to the Snowmass Bike Park. We took advantage of the offer and went up to explore the Lost Forest in Snowmass.
The boys ran to the Alpine Coaster line and lapped it full throttle until they were ready to take on the Challenge Course, that I kid you not, is a total challenge of abilities with five different courses moving from challenging to exhausting.
There were people up there of all ages with the common thread being parents with children over ten years old and 40 pounds who were up for the challenge of learning how to clip in and out to each station and challenge their fearless sense of adventure and skills. There were a few daddys with daughters who will definitely rule something when they grow up. There also were adventurous grandpas lovingly watching their grandchildren navigate the courses, and young adults and locals such as ourselves ready to test our abilities on something quite different than what we were accustomed to.
The prep talk by the accomplished and well trained staff did not take too long, and the boys were off going through the five courses, each one more difficult than the last. Baddy and I stayed together, laughing at our struggles as we awakened dormant muscles, praising one another with our successes. By the time I finished my second course the boys were done, racing off to refuel themselves at Elk Camp. Exhausted both physically and mentally, I was happy to forego the remaining courses and join them while Baddy kept going with a need to rule and conquer.
Sitting down on a deliciously comfortable couch, I observed the activity as I drank down a well earned beer. It’s always fun to chat with those visiting and get their stories, but the scene on the opposite side of the plush couch told it’s own story with a passed out and sprawled out couple dozing in the burning hot mountain sun, an upside down empty Champagne bottle laying in the bucket next to them.
On our way home the boys chatted like little squirrels about all the other activities we needed to explore up in Snowmass, and I made a note to reach out and see what else we could cover in the following months. What I’m most interested in is the Canopy Run Zipline tour, and a downhill mountain biking clinic – just pad me up, I’ll do my best to not embarrass the boys, although it would definitely make for good content!
What is the Lost Forest?
The Lost Forest provides guests an opportunity to be completely immersed in nature while enjoying an array of activities and is designed to be intertwined with nature, not detached from it. The Lost Forest has something to offer no matter what age or activity level desired and offers the following: alpine coaster, canopy tour, challenge course, climbing wall, expanded hiking and biking trails and more.
The Coaster features a 5,700 foot track with a total ride time of seven to nine minutes spanning 410 vertical feet. The speed is controlled by the rider. The coaster winds through trees between Gunner’s View and Sandy Park. This is the most accessible activity offered in the Lost Forest.
Canopy Run Ziptour
The zip line canopy tour is for guests with a high sense of adventure. This is a long-duration activity that will take up to three hours total from shuttle to finish back at Elk Camp. The canopy tour is guided experience with two guides per group of eight to ten people. There are eight zip lines and two sky bridges spanning tree-based and pole-based platforms. The tree-based design is unique in Colorado. The speed is controlled by the rider and the guide operates a safety system for backup. This is a high-touch activity with an opportunity to educate and encourage guests about the mountain environment.
Treeline Trail Challenge Course
The challenging high ropes course is located in the trees above the Meadows Carpet lift. This includes five separate paths of varying difficulty across multiple levels. There is one very easy course meant for children, and one easy, two medium and one difficult course for the rest of the guests. The different ropes courses test participant’s strength, balance and coordination. Each guest is on a constant belay system for safety and the guest will always be anchored into a cable system. The whole course from start to finish takes anywhere from 30 and 90 minutes.
Rugged Ascent Climbing Wall
A permanent climbing wall is installed at Elk Camp to introduce guests to rock climbing in an approachable and safe way. The climbing wall is approximately 40 feet tall and 60 feet wide. There are 13-15 lanes equipped with auto belay devices and REALRock ™ construction to make the rock wall look authentic. This is a medium duration activity lasting between 30 and 90 minutes and is accessible to a wide range of ages and abilities.
Multi-Purpose Activity Areas
There are two locations for the multiuse gathering sites: Rayburn’s Pond and Maroon Vista at the top of Elk Camp chairlift. Rayburn’s Pond will be for smaller groups and naturalist talks. The site is a viewpoint and prime spot for photo opportunities and naturalist talks. Both sites are designed to fit in with each landscape and its surroundings, featuring natural material, interpretative signage and ADA accessible paths for access.
Hiking and Biking Trails
There are expanded hiking and biking trails to improve guest experience and provide more mountain accessibility with 1.4 miles of new hiking trails, Spruce Spar, along with 1 mile of hiking trail reroutes to Sierra Loop and Rabbit Run. This will reduce the number of intersections with bike trails and other activities to provide a more exclusive experience for each activity. There are 15.1 miles of new bike trails designed by Gravity Logic which include a mix of flow and hybrid trails ranging from beginner to expert. These trails will include improvements to the Meadows Skills Park. Aspen Snowmass aims to create a world-class bike park with a variety of trails for guests to experience and will continue to build out new trail systems year over year. The new bike park trails will be built over a 2-3 year period.