When Marge and Jim Babcock opened the Little Red Ski Haus in 1961, they never imagined that the historic Victorian home would become one of Aspen's legendary ski lodges. For almost 40 years, skiers flocked there for the affordable bunkhouse rooms and unpretentious après-ski atmosphere until, to the dismay of its loyal clientele, the lodge was shuttered in 1998 when Marge retired.
Last December, the venerable Ski Haus reopened as a bed-and-breakfast under new ownership—and while the inn has undergone extensive remodeling, its famously easy conviviality remains. David Fiore and his business partners have returned the 1888 house to top shape, evoking the splendor of Aspen's silver-boom days. Original woodwork and fixtures, painstakingly restored, are gleaming windows into the past. Classic Victorian touches—tapestry-upholstered furniture and beaded-fringe lampshades, to name a few—abound. And, of course, the lodge's cheery namesake exterior boasts a fresh coat of bright red paint.
Inside, the old rabbit warren of '60s-vintage dorm accommodations has given way to 13 guest rooms, each with a private bathroom equipped with a steam shower or whirlpool tub. The rooms, many named for Aspen ski runs, are austere but elegant, furnished with antiques and reproductions. Some can be combined as suites.
The choicest quarters are the three rooms in the original house—all have vaulted ceilings—as well as the top-floor rooms that crown the addition. And, in a nod to the lodge's past, two rooms remain outfitted as dormitories.
As always, the Ski Haus's location on the edge of downtown Aspen means restaurants, shops and the gondola are a five-minute walk. Shuttles to Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass stop half a block away. At breakfast, eggs and granola are served in the cozy new Prospector's Cellar, which also hosts a lively après-ski scene. After a day on the slopes, order a glass of California syrah at the copper-clad granite bar, kick back on a leather couch by the fireplace or soak in the second-story outdoor hot tub. The Little Red Ski Haus may have been reincarnated, but its old social spirit lives on.
Rates $139—$398 per night, including breakfast. All rooms have phones and TVs.Single dorm beds are available for $60—$70. Groups or large families can rent the entire lodge.
Contact 866-630-6119; littleredskihaus.net