Snowmass ponied up more than $16 million in the off-season to improve what already was a pretty nice place.

A big chunk of change went into converting the Sheer Bliss chair, which serves 700 acres of black diamond glades and blue cruisers, into a high-speed detachable quad. The new lift can carry up to 2,000 people per hour and takes riders 2,212 vertical feet, 155 feet more than the old Sheer Bliss chair. The ride time is a little more than nine minutes.

A person can work up quite an appetite with more than 3,132 acres of fine Colorado snow to play in and more than 4,400 feet vertical rise to negotiate. But Snowmass has got that covered.

Another $9 million went into the construction of Sam's Smokehouse, a 7,800-square-foot restaurant and lounge that is situated at the upper terminus of the Village Express six-pack lift. With spectacular views of Garret's Peak, Mount Daly and the surrounding backcountry, Sam's features a barbecue-style smokehouse menu. The new restaurant boasts floor-to-ceiling windows and table service for 175, plus outdoor seating. In addition to the main restaurant, there is a lounge area where guests can grab a quick coffee, breakfast, or lunch.