Powdery slopes as far as the eye can see, rugged mountain peaks zig-zagging across the horizon, and quaint chalets with smoking chimneys dotted amongst the thick, white blankets of snow – what could be more enchanting than winter in Aspen?
While this stunning resort town is renowned as one of the best skiing destinations in the world, lovers of the great outdoors can enjoy an all-natural wonderland in the summertime too, when hiking, cycling and horseriding give the chillier months a spectacular run for their money.
Skiing while in Aspen is practically mandatory, so make sure you grab your skis and head to the slopes. Adults and kids alike will enjoy kicking off their skiing adventures on the smooth, open slopes of Buttermilk, where beginners can sign on for skiing or snowboarding lessons or just build some confidence. Daredevils can test their mettle on Buttermilk’s awe-inspiring super pipe and X Games-inspired course, while seasoned skiers and boarders looking for a challenge will enjoy the edgier runs at Aspen/Snowmass.
The breathtaking sight of Maroon Bells’ towering peaks will reward those who visit Aspen after the ski season. When viewed from Maroon Lake, the peaks are perfectly mirrored on the lake’s glassy surface, while vibrant wildflowers add splashes of colour to the picturesque view. Don’t forget your camera – Maroon Bells is said to be the most photographed spot in all of Colorado.
For those who are keen to hit the road, rent a car and make time in your itinerary for Independence Pass. Renowned as one of the most beautiful and scenic drives in North America, the 32-kilometre pass rises to an incredible 3,687 metres above sea level at the summit of the Continental Divide, where sightseeing platforms offer sweeping views that may just make your heart skip a beat.
Eat and Drink
To refuel between runs, ski straight into one of the eateries located on the mountains and enjoy dining with an unbeatable view. Back in Aspen/Snowmass Village, a great range of restaurants serve up everything from casual, finger-licking fare to high-end international cuisine. Settle in for a juicy steak, enjoy a Japanese banquet, get spicy with Mexican cuisine or eat your fill of freshly made Italian pizzas and pastas. After dark, warm up with a drink and a dance-off at one of Aspen’s many pubs, bars, live music venues and nightclubs, which run well into the night.
Where to Stay
Aspen Village offers a diverse range of accommodation options for singles, couples and groups travelling together. Check into an affordable hotel, rent out a mid-range apartment, get comfy in a local lodge or chalet, or live large in 5-star luxury where you may just spot a celebrity or two. Staying in the heart of the action ensures you’ll have convenient access to the slopes as well as complimentary shuttle bus transfers that run between all four mountains daily.
When you need to take a day off from the slopes, downtown Aspen offers some very enticing retail therapy. Well known for its selection of premium designer boutiques from Prada to Gucci, this is where credit cards get a serious work out.
If you want designer goods without the designer price tag, check out Aspen’s top-notch consignment shops to grab a bargain – don’t miss Suzy’s Limited Consignment on East Main Street. For something a little bit different, browse the art and antique galleries on East Hyman Avenue and East Cooper Street.
Aspen Like a Local
With an intriguing façade that resembles a large wooden lattice box, the Aspen Art Museum is certainly appealing to the eye – but it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Step inside to discover the latest international contemporary art exhibits along with artist lectures, family workshops and even cult classic movie screenings. The best bit? Entry is free, so there’s no excuse not to pop into this much-loved local hangout for a dose of creative inspiration.