Summer Resorts 2002: Aspen, Colo.

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Aspen, Colo.

An Aspen/Snowmass summer is so overflowing with recreational and cultural opportunities it?s a virtual ode to hyperactivity. Of course, you?re free to do nothing but lounge in the clear, sunwashed air, but you can also golf on two championship courses, play tennis until you drop, take a hot-air balloon ride, whitewater raft and plan your trip around all manner of cultural events, including such favorites as the annual International Design Conference and the 20th Anniversary Food & Wine Classic.

Base yourself at Snowmass, where summer prices run to reasonable. From here, mountain biking and hiking are right out the door (the trail over Campground Divide and up Snowmass Creek is a local?s favorite). Sign up for a ceramics or photography course at world-famous Anderson Ranch at Snowmass, or take in a classical performance of the extraordinary Aspen Music Festival, in its 53rd season and conducted by the brilliant David Zinman.

The Roaring Fork River awaits with excellent flyfishing and kayaking. You can bag a bushel of 14,000-foot peaks in the nearby Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness or mountain-climb in comfort by riding the Silver Queen gondola for lunch and a chamber music recital on the Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain. Be sure to make time for a visit to the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies at its Hallam Lake Learning Center. Its displays on local flora and fauna will help you appreciate how special Aspen/Snowmass really is. ?J.C.

DON?T MISS Bull riding at the Snowmass Rodeo, every Wednesday and Saturday evening. Tickets are $20; 970-923-3520.

best deal Before June 10 and after Sept. 7, stay at the Snowmass Club for $46 per night, per person, double occupancy; includes all Snowmass Club facilities and amenities. 800-525-0710; www.snowmassclub.com.