Spring, summer and fall in Aspen are when this mountain paradise really shines, showcasing the myriad adventures—outdoor, indoor, in the sky, on the water—that make this town the ultimate destination, whatever your passions. An Aspen vacation is an enriching experience —whether learning a new skill, listening to lectures or simply absorbing the spirit that the nearby mountains exude.
Aspen adventure changes by how one defines it. It could be paddling raging rapids by day and taking in an opera by night. A morning of mountaintop yoga followed by an Indian cooking class may provide enough exhilaration. Or it could be mountain biking, bluegrass with a breathtaking view, a gourmet dinner, and a martini nightcap. No matter what adventure one chooses, you can find it in Aspen.
Modern Culture Capital
Today, Aspen is a revered destination for those who love music, visual and performing arts, dance, film, opera and theatre. The unique and spectacular Benedict Music Tent is an architectural and acoustic masterpiece. Internationally-renowned artists make summer shows in Aspen or workshops at Snowmass’ Anderson Ranch art colony a habit. Aspen’s cultural icons, visiting artists and local up-and-comers help create a mountain town like no other.
Aspen’s location, near several of the Rockies’ most challenging and scenic mountain ranges and rivers, makes it a haven for all kinds of outdoor athletes, from world-class rock climbers and paddlers to famous mountaineers and cyclists. What’s more, many of these “extremists” are now instructors, ready to pass along their expertise to novices and accomplished adventurers alike.
You don’t have to summit the 14,130-foot Capitol Peak or kayak the daunting Slaughterhouse rapids to take advantage of Aspen’s exciting surroundings. Bike rides, hikes, gold-medal fishing, and raft trips from mild to wild are everywhere, whether you’re in search of a learning vacation or a leisurely afternoon.
For kids or the young-at-heart, Aspen even offers what has been called one of the top five public skateboard parks in the country—right in the center of town! Skateboard king Tony Hawk raved about the park when he visited Aspen.
Taste is Everything
Over the past two decades, Aspen has taken on yet another role: gourmet destination. Its numerous restaurants offer cuisine to rival that of some of the world’s major cities. And this role keeps on growing, as each year dynamic young chefs and innovative new eateries vie for a seat at Aspen’s prestigious table. The food and wine world pays its respects with the Food & Wine Magazine Classic at Aspen (www.foodandwine.com), an annual celebrity-filled homage to the best and brightest in the culinary industry.
Great tastes and socializing don’t stop after dinner. Aspen’s nightlife today is a diverse mix of rowdy dance clubs, live music venues, martini lounges, and cozy, candlelit havens.
Style and Value
Contrary to popular belief, Aspen vacations can be tailored to meet almost any budget. In fact, economical Aspen vacations are often the ones that capture the most local character and warm spirit of the community.
Aspen lodging includes such diverse options as luxurious Relais et Chateaux hotels, design hotels, traditional lodges and spacious condominiums. Renovated Victorian homes and designer homes fit for tycoons also make for unique vacation rentals. Even seasoned travelers are interested to discover that Aspen lodges run the gamut from spare-no-expense to simple, convenient, and often family-run.
Some of the best things in Aspen are free: a morning hike, viewing the sunset at the Maroon Bells, gallery hopping, or catching a quartet of classical music students playing on a street corner.
Aspen is intriguing today, but picture it circa 1885. Home to over 12,000 (nearly twice as many people as live here today), Aspen boasted one of the largest silver veins the world has ever known, and the largest nugget of pure silver ever mined (2,350 lbs) was extracted from the Smuggler Mine in Aspen. Rugged miners spent their days scouring the insides of the surrounding hills and their nights bellied up to the J-Bar at the Hotel Jerome, which remains today as one of Aspen’s favorite bars. When the U.S. government demonetized silver in 1893, Aspen’s boom years ended abruptly. By 1935, an estimated 700 residents lived in Aspen.
Skiing revitalized Aspen. After World War II, intrepid and entrepreneurial vets of the 10th Mountain Division (the U.S. Army’s mountain-fighting group) translated their experience in the Alps into an infant resort in the Rockies. At the same time, Chicago industrialist Walter Paepcke envisioned Aspen as a summer cultural and intellectual center and put his plan into action, founding the Aspen Music Festival and the Aspen Institute.
For more information, visit the Aspen Chamber Resort Association at www.aspenchamber.org, or call 1.888.290.1324 or 970.925.1940.
Maureen Poschman or