New Italian Cuisine at Snowmass Ski Area

By Tess Weaver Strokes | January 16, 2020 | Food & Drink

Ciao, Sam's! Snowmass’ new restaurant focuses on Italian cuisine and shares it like the Italians do.

Chef Jim Butchart

Aspen Skiing Company isn’t taking any shortcuts on its new mountaintop Italian restaurant. Despite its elevation of 10,620 feet on Snowmass Ski Area, Sam’s will serve fresh baked naturally fermented bread (perfected over two years) and freshly made pasta. Even the restaurant’s cured meats will be cut on a flywheel prosciutto slicer.

Rigatoni Bolognese featuring local beef

The first new restaurant concept on Snowmass since Elk Camp opened in 2012, Sam’s offers everything from a quick espresso and pastry to fuel your morning on the hill to a sit-down shared-plate dining experience or a Negroni Spritz at the end of the day.

Negroni spritz with Tanqueray, Carpano Antica vermouth, Campari and Aperol

The $2.5 million remodel of the restaurant at the top of the Village Express and Sam’s Knob lifts—formerly Sam’s Smokehouse—opened up the already airy floor plan, and features a white marble bar, a live-action kitchen, a fireplace with relaxed seating, an authentic Italian espresso bar and a stylish deck with spectacular alpine views. Skiers and snowboarders can trade their boots for comfy footwear in the slipper room. “Everything in the restaurant has been mindfully sourced,” says Jim Butchart, culinary director for SkiCo, who pulled inspiration from his travels in Sicily, Chicago and New York. “From the china to how we’re serving salt to the flour that goes into our handmade pasta—every element has been chosen for a reason.”

Warm ricotta with local honey, mint and chiles

The menu features 14 antipasto dishes, five housemade pastas and larger plates like eggplant Parmigiana and steak tagliata. “This is the food I love to eat and the way so much of the world likes to eat,” says Butchart. “It’s a start-to-finish shared dining experience, whether you come for a couple snacks or a full Italian lunch. The menu is set up so that guests can try a bunch of things, which is great because you won’t be able to pick just one.” 9am-3:15pm, Snowmass Ski Area


Photography by: Jamie Jaye Fletcher/Courtesy of Aspen Skiing Company