Aspen Mountain sets the standard when it comes to combining world-class skiing with an authentic mountain town, leaving most resorts emulating. The mountain pulls no punches with its renowned skiing, legendary nightlife, fine dining, celebrated art scene, and authentic downtown atmosphere. It’s no wonder that Hollywood’s elite, Manhattan’s glitterati, and the ski world’s legends congregate in this mountain hamlet.
Aspen Mountain’s steeps and glades have been the favorite stomping and schussing grounds of iconic skiers since the mountain’s first season in 1947, from Fred Iselin and Dick Durrance to Klaus Obermeyer and Chris Davenport. While Aspen Mountain proudly doesn’t have a terrain park, some of the best snowboarders in the world—such as Gretchen Bleiler and Chris Klug—weave in and out of the trees on “Ajax.”
Once in downtown Aspen, it is impossible to ignore the omnipresent mountain. Ajax jumps off of Durant Avenue and quickly climbs 3,267 feet up to the Sundeck. After soaking in the stunning panoramic views from the top of the Silver Queen Gondola, you’ll find a myriad of descent options. Keep in mind, however, that Ajax is not the best choice for a beginner skier or boarder. There are fun, rolling groomers under the Ruthie’s and Gent’s Ridge (call it “the couch” if you’re speaking Aspenite) chairlifts, perfect for the intermediate skier looking to get a bit more vertical. Blue square skiers can link a leg-burning top-to-bottom run from the summit of the Silver Queen via Spar Gulch or Copper Bowl, both runs drop you right into downtown Aspen.
Loads of double black terrain colors the trail map, and it can take years to explore all of the mountain’s nooks and crannies. A good place to start is on Bell Mountain. Back of Bell in the morning, the Ridge of Bell at lunchtime, and the Face of Bell in the afternoon is the best way to catch the right conditions. The area collectively known as “The Dumps”—dating back to Aspen’s silver mining history—is a local favorite because of the deep snow that accumulates and steep, glade runs. For the extreme skier, Trainor’s offers some of the most challenging and exposed terrain in Aspen (bring you’re A-game if you’re so inclined).
There’s not a better town on the continent to rest your weary legs after a day on the slopes than Aspen. For one, we take our après-ski scene very seriously. The swanky and infamous 39 Degrees in the Sky Hotel is THE spot, complete with a hot tub, DJ, and local revelers. Ajax Tavern, located a mere four steps from the slopes, is another hot spot. Regardless of where you après, two things are bound to happen on a night out in Aspen. First, you will inevitably see people dancing in their ski boots like the good ’ole days. Second, you’ll always end up after hours at Eric’s. Both are worth the aches you’ll feel the next morning.
With a culinary scene that complements the ski terrain, there aren’t many bad options in Aspen. Fine dining is part of the Aspen experience; whether it’s sushi (Matsuhisa and Kenichi are fantastic), Italian (Campo de Fiori and L’Hostaria are delicioso), French (Cache Cache has a beautiful wine list to go with their Provencal cuisine). For more family-centric dinners check out Brunelleschi’s, Little Annie’s, or La Cantina (but be warned: La Cantina has a wide assortment of fine tequilas that beckon the masses after dinner time).
There’s an assortment of accommodations, and deciding on which one depends on what you’re looking for. Slopeside luxury at The Little Nell, family-friendly condominiums at The Gant, newly remodeled accoutrements at The Limelight Lodge, and historic comfort at The Hotel Jerome are just a few examples.
Long story short, Aspen does it all, and does all of it really well.
1. FYI… You don’t have to break the bank on your Aspen ski getaway. One easy way to minimize the damage is to stick to free coffee. Every morning Aspen Skiing Company wheels out a cart of delicious brews in the Gondola Plaza (right in front of Starbucks). Grab a free cup of joe and jump in the bucket. (Check back in a few weeks to learn nine more ways to save in Aspen.)
*photo courtesy of Jon Barnes and his Ultimate Taxi
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PO Box 1248, Aspen, 81612 Phone: 800-525-6200 Snow Report: 970-925-1221
Aspen/Snowmass is one of the most accessible Rocky Mountain resorts, with hundreds of nonstop and connecting flights weekly into Aspen, Eagle, Denver and other Colorado airports, you have lots of options...
Aspen/Pitkin County Airport (ASE): Tucked neatly into the Roaring Fork Valley, the Aspen airport is just three miles from the town of Aspen and six miles from Snowmass Village.
Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE): Located just 70 miles from Aspen and Snowmass Village, flights into Eagle are offered on major airlines, permitting one-stop connections from across the globe.
Denver International Airport (DIA): 220 miles from Aspen/Snowmass, visitors can also choose to fly into Denver International (DIA) and then take ground transportation to reach Aspen/Snowmass. More than 400 flights are offered into DIA from over 80 cities on 14 airlines, plus daily nonstop service from London/Gatwick on British Airways and daily nonstop service from Frankfurt on Lufthansa.
Grand Junction - Walker Field (GJT): Visitors can also choose to fly into Grand Junction (just 125 miles from Aspen/Snowmass) and then take ground transportation to reach Aspen/Snowmass.
Colorado Springs Airport (COS): 270 miles from Aspen/Snowmass. Up to 70 daily flights from 25 cities on 10 airlines. Reminder: during winter, Independence Pass is closed.
Aspen/Snowmass Express: Introducing new ground transportation to Aspen/Snowmass from Gray Line. Gray Line Colorado offers luxury nonstop express service between Denver International Airport and Aspen/Snowmass. Gray Line Worldwide, based in Colorado, brings nearly 100 years of experience as the world's largest operator of sightseeing and transportation services in premier resort destinations.
Colorado Mountain Express: Arriving into Denver, Eagle, or Grand Junction? Choose Colorado Mountain Express, the leader in ground transportation for over twenty-two years. Colorado Mountain Express offers door-to-door service to and from Aspen/Snowmass and has shuttles and private vehicles running every day.
CME Premier: Enjoy the luxury, convenience and personalized service of private chauffeured travel from Colorado's most respected ground transportation company. CME Premier provides service to and from Aspen airport and all Colorado airports.
High Mountain Taxi: Serving the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport, Vail/Eagle County Airport and Glenwood Springs Amtrak. Our taxis accommodate up to 6 passengers. The vehicles are equipped with roof racks for additional luggage and skis.