The New Aspen Almanac


Getting There Aspen airport offers many direct flights. Eagle County airport is a 70-mile drive; Grand Junction airport is 130 miles away. The drive from Denver International Airport is four hours, but can vary wildly due to winter road conditions.

When To Go The season traditionally runs from Thanksgiving to Easter. Early December is quiet, but check on snow conditions. February and March are usually a delight.

Sleeping In It's hard to beat the Little Nell, one of Aspen's famous five-stars, and the only one steps from the gondola ($400-$4,300 per night, 888-843-6355); Silvertree Hotel, ski-in/ski-out ease at Snowmass starts at $285 per night (800-837-4255); The Snowflake Inn, downtown Aspen, averages about $165 for a room with kitchenette (800-247-2069).

Dining Out You can eat out every night for two weeks and not be disappointed. Breakfast: Join Klaus at the Wienerstube. Dinner: Try cheap chic at the Woody Creek Tavern or kibitz with the locals at Cache Cache (Aspen) or Butch's Lobster Bar (Snowmass). Or walk in nearly any downtown doorway and pull up a chair.

Après-Ski Aspen is a hangover waiting to happen. Start with the classics: The Red Onion, J Bar. Post-modern: Ajax Tavern, Mezzaluna, Cirque Cafe (Snowmass).

Kicking Butt Steep and big: head straight to the Highland Bowl. The knife-edge of Adios Ridge in Snowmass dances the fine line between savage and sublime.

Kicking Back Aspen Club & Spa will relax ski muscles you didn't know you had; 970-925-8900.

Activities Cross-country ski, snowshoe or ride a horse-drawn sleigh 1.5 miles to the Pine Creek Cook House, then work off your gourmet meal on the way back; 970-925-1044.

Don't Miss Song, sardonic wit and dinner at the Crystal Palace Theatre. Old-school Aspen at its finest (970-925-1455).

Vital Stats Aspen Mountain, terrain: 675 acres, 8 lifts, base elevation: 7,945 feet, summit elevation: 11,212 feet, vertical rise: 3,267, annual snowfall: 300 inches; Buttermilk, terrain: 420 acres, 7 lifts, base elevation: 7,870 feet, summit elevation: 9,900 feet, vertical rise:2,030, annual snowfall: 200 inches; Highlands, terrain: 714 acres, 4 lifts, base elevation: 8,040 feet, summit elevation: 11,675 feet, vertical rise: 3,635 annual snowfall: 300 inches; Snowmass, terrain: 3,010 acres, 18 lifts, base elevation: 8,104 feet, summit elevation: 12,510 feet, vertical rise: 4,406, annual snowfall: 300 inches; Information: 800-525-6200,; Lodging Reservations: 888-649-5982.