Resort Guide 2018: West #12
First-timers to Aspen may wonder what all the fuss is about. The mountain, a mere 675 acres, has no beginner runs and a funnel-like layout. Expensive restaurants and high-end chain stores, found also in Paris and Milan, seem to dominate the downtown.
But scratch the surface and you’ll fall utterly under Aspen’s spell. Aspen Mountain’s small size is actually its strength— all 3,300 vertical feet accessed straight from downtown by a 15-minute gondola ride. “Every moment is real skiing,” comments one reader. “If you know how to play the aspects and terrain you can find superlative skiing almost any day of the season.” At its feet is a “classic, real ski town”—exuding history in every architectural style since it was settled in 1879 and “with all the variety and vitality that comes naturally rather than by corporate design.” That includes a vibrant après and nightlife scene, and dining (No. 2) that encompasses over 100 eateries ranging from basic to over-the-top gourmand. As one reader summarizes, “it’s like a boutique resort with more than the eye can see and a party every day.”
Aspen prides itself on green transportation options; the latest
is the Downtowner, a free door-to-door service in electric vehicles—think golf cart meets minivan— complete with heaters and ski racks.
Oatmeal pancakes at Bonnie’s, so filling they facilitate skiing till après.
Among several Aspen hotels that offer special winter adventures are the Hotel Jerome (heli skiing), The Little Nell and Limelight (driving a snowcat), and St. Regis (guided fat biking).