Summer Resorts 2000--Southern Rockies, Aspen, Colo.


Ahhh, Aspen¿that bastion of wealth and status nestled cozily in the Elk Mountains of Colorado. This glitzy gem of a resort really turns on the charm in summer months. While perfectly buffed mountain bikers and hikers hit the numerous trails in the half million acres of wilderness that surround town, the sound of music can be heard from the new state-of-the-art, 2,050-seat Music Tent, where guest artists and staff from the Aspen Music Festival and School perform. The renowned festival (June 22-Aug. 20) lures more than 100,000 summer visitors each year.

Visitors looking for a more relaxed pace can access lift-served mountain biking at nearby Snowmass Mountain or explore the historic mining town, stopping at any number of swank boutiques, galleries and restaurants. (Just don't leave home without your credit cards.)On hot summer days, hit the water. More than a dozen companies offer access to the Colorado, Arkansas and Roaring Fork rivers for whitewater rafting and kayaking, with experiences ranging from relaxed float trips to raging whitewater. Or cast your fly in either the Roaring Fork or Frying Pan river, both gold-medal-rated waters. Hit the links at one of the four public or three private golf courses in the valley.

Young adults can choose from a variety of camps, including Aspen Outbound (800-525-6200), a program for teens seeking outdoor adventure, and the Aspen Writer's Foundation Summer Writing Camp for Kids (970-925-3122). ¿M.H.

DON'T MISS The Food & Wine Magazine Classic, June 9-11. Sample specialty food items paired with wines from more than 300 vineyards.

BEST DEAL Aspen Central Reservations puts together packages that include lodging, airfare, festival access and outdoor activities. Call (800) 262-7736, or visit