Top Lift: 12,510ft
Ski Area: 5,246 acres of terrain
Adult Lift Pass: $385- $594 for six days
In a Nutshell
The quaint Victorian streets of neat redbrick houses are more reminiscent of Dickensian Chiswick than cool Colorado. And if money’s no object, then Aspen is the best resort for intermediate skiers, bar none. It’s one of the best for beginners, too. And the slopes are never crowded.
Essential Advice for the Perfect Trip
The skiing in Aspen is awesome. Make no mistake about that. And there’s some glorious scenery too. In fact, Aspen’s list of ticks is one of the longest we know.
In the boom years of the early noughties, the town seemed to be getting ritzier, and more conservative, with every passing minute. The days when gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson ran for the job of sheriff, on the Freak Power ticket – when Aspen was a by-word for fresh ways of thinking and living – seemed long, long gone. The place seemed poorer for it.
But we all know what’s happened to the American economy since then – and Aspen hasn’t been immune from the effects. We wouldn’t wish economic misfortune on anybody – but one positive side-effect has been the fact that the resort seems less frenetic and more welcoming once more. You can even eat more cheaply – by sitting at the restaurant bar and ordering bar food: slightly smaller portions but otherwise exactly the same quality.
It’s been said that it’s easier to buy a Picasso than a pair of socks in Aspen, since art galleries outnumber the more humdrum clothes stores by three to one. Certainly the designer boutiques are still going strong, ranging from Prada and Ralph Lauren to chic sportswear outlets. As a result, the town’s vintage stores, Replay Sports (+1 970 925 2483), Susie’s on the Alley and Susie’s Limited (+1 970 920 2376) are goldmines for when it comes to finding second-hand designer goods.
Changes at Snowmass
A big change in recent years has been the redevelopment of Snowmass – the ski village set at the bottom of its own mountain, eight miles west of Aspen. A billion dollars were spent, and Snowmass got new ski-in, ski-out lodging, as well as new bars, restaurants and shops. In some respects, it rivals Aspen as a base to explore the combined Aspen Snowmass ski area – but only if you’ve got children in tow, or you really can’t be bothered riding the free bus system. If you’re looking for the character which has made Aspen famous, you need to stay in the town itself.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the quality of the skiing. Just looking at pictures of the Highlands groomers makes us yearn to ski them again. The same goes for the open, gladed trees under the Big Burn Chair on Snowmass, and Ruthie’s – the breaktakingly long run down the middle of Ajax. These runs are only ever (slightly) busy over Christmas, New Year, and President’s Weekend (mid-February) – and it’s hard to think of a better place for intermediate skiers to build their confidence, and push their skills to the next level – provided they’ve got a healthy holiday budget.
May 16, 2015martin bright
Hi Felice. Love the website and keen to try and add where I can in terms of ski pass info, ski hire etc. With free skiing for kids, Aspen is more affordable and you can ski 7 or 30 days now at one rate! More importantly we are trying to promote our excellent catered chalet options in Aspen, Snowmass, Breckenridge, Keystone, Winter Park, Steamboat, Heavenly, Vail, Beaver Creek, Park City so any help appreciated. We are pretty unique and have glowing reviews from ALL customers!!
I mostly agree with your comments though on Aspen, I have never experienced any snobbiness in 20 years of going there! Always been very friendly and as regards expense there are many bars and eateries that buck the trend and given you can still get a fab burger and fries at the 5 star Jerome for a tenner (April 2015 prices) with a beer for 5 USD. I would say that’s a veritable bargain, though apres ski at the Nell can be a tad pricey!! The Micro brewery offers great beer and Jimmys is still awesome for a fillet steak and at £25 for a steak meal – again I don’t think thats over the top. Staying too anywhere from the end of March sees a massive drop in prices though there are still great and affordable options everywhere in Aspen and Snowmass.
Kind Regards and keep up the good work
May 18, 2015Felice Hardy
Great to have your feedback Martin. It’s only the flights from Europe that are expensive – North America is good value once you get there!