01.05.17 update: Full Moon Powder Tours are on hold for now, as we await approval from the US Forest Service. We’ll share news once we receive an update – if these will be offered this winter.
Adding to The Little Nell’s popular roster of Skiing & Winter Adventures is quite possibly the most anticipated outing to date – Full Moon Powder Tours. The nighttime adventures debut in early 2017, with three nights offered per month in January, February and March, on nights leading up to the full moon. Please see below for details about this program, which is exclusively available to guests of The Little Nell, Residences at The Little Nell and The Limelight Hotel.
Aspen Mountain Powder Tours will guide these adventures just as they do daily via Aspen Skiing Company, with The Little Nell’s private powder cat on Wednesdays and Fridays. The concept for nighttime skiing was hatched by Simon Chen, Managing Director at The Little Nell, with the guides from Aspen Mountain Powder Tours. Knowing The Nell’s clientele craves adventure, Simon felt it was time to take this adventure to the next step, pitching the full moon powder tours idea to guides Murray Cunningham and Bob Perlmutter. “We’d been thinking about this for decades,” noted Murray. (Both he and Bob aka “Perl” have each worked for Aspen Mountain Powder Tours 30 + years.)
In Aspen, many locals and guests embrace full moon activities regardless of the season – night hikes in summer and fall, ski tours in winter and spring. This is the perfect complement to those options. Being out under the light of the moon and enjoying the exclusivity of the ski terrain through Aspen Mountain Powder Tours is what sets this adventure apart from others.
A few variables are to be considered for night skiing. “One – the conditions need to be pristine for powder skiing and there needs to be a virtually cloudless sky as the primary source of light is the full moon,” added Perl. During the daytime powder tours, guests get approximately 10 – 12 runs. At night, the guides anticipate six are likely. Ski terrain at night will be no hazard terrain consisting of open meadows (no tree runs, which are typical during the day), with moderate angle skiing. For those familiar with the terrain, some of the runs at night will be Prudence, Figure 8 and Luchene’s, all on the east side of Richmond Ridge, facing the moon.
Given the light is from the moon, guests will be illuminated so they’re visible with a glow stick around their necks, red flashing light on the back of their helmets. No headlamps. Clear goggles will be provided for all.
It’s important to note skier ability during the daytime powder tours is PSIA Level 7 – described as comfortable on all blue square runs and groomed black runs. For nighttime, skier ability is PSIA Level 9 – which is much more advanced.
As always, safety is paramount. Each tour is led by two Aspen Mountain Powder Tours guides, a driver and two Little Nell representatives as well making it a one staff member: two guests ratio. Aspen Mountain Ski Patrol will have three patrollers stationed at Patrol Headquarters at the top of Aspen Mountain, accessible for the duration of the tour.
Light snacks from The Nell will be provided for guests on the cat – think granola, cookies and finger food, as well as water and hot drinks with Little Nell sommelier-selected bubbles or cuvee wine for the ride down afterward.
Tours are scheduled in advance of the full moon for maximum light. On the night of the full moon, the moon is at its brightest at midnight. For each day before the full moon, it’s a full hour earlier. So the tours are scheduled in front of the full moon so the tours can go earlier (and guests aren’t skiing at midnight). Each tour is cloud dependent so if it is an overcast evening, then the tour will be cancelled.
Departing from The Little Nell ski concierge with an expected 45-minute travel time from the base of the mountain to the top of the first run, Full Moon Powder Tours are scheduled as follows:
Saturday, January 7- Monday, January 9 at 5 pm (Thursday, January 12, is the full moon)
Tuesday, February 7 – Thursday, February 9 at 6 pm (Friday, Feb 10, is the full moon)
Wednesday, March 8 – Friday, March 10, at 7 pm. (Sunday, March 12, is the full moon)
Pricing is $500/person or $425/person with a 10-seat buyout. Guests can sign up with The Little Nell ski concierge at 970.920.6315.