Aspen – Colorado, U.S.A.
The Place to Ski and Be Seen, with a Stimulating Cultural Life to Boot
Colorado is Rocky Mountain ski central, with more than two dozen resorts. Among them, Aspen is inarguably the most famous and sophisticated, and is the wintertime destination of choice for Hollywood celebs and those that follow them. The 11,000-foot Aspen Mountain (“Ajax” to the locals) is a strong skier’s mountain and no place for novices, but the area’s 12-mile span of summits also known for three other, less challenging resorts: Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands as well as for its lively apres-ski nightlife. In total, they offer 281 trails over 4,315 acres of terrain and generally excellent skiing conditions, all linked by free shuttle service and a transferable lift ticket.
You can match the beauty of the great outdoors with that of the great indoors at the Little Nell, Aspen’s unpretentiously elegant (and only) ski-in/ski-out hotel, located on Aspen’s flagship mountain. Reminiscent of a European ski chalet, it’s located a snowball’s throw from the sleek Silver Queen, the world’s longest single-stage gondola, which hoists skiers up 3,257 feet in just thirteen minutes. The Nell has a busy bar and award-winning restaurant that are a scene both in winter and during the snowless months. When the skiing life quiets down, Aspen’s other charms come to the fore: a rich sense of community, and beautifully preserved late-19th-century gingerbread homes built during the town’s silver-mining boomtown years, all set against the natural splendor of the Colorado Rockies. Paramount among the year-round array of cultural and performing arts events is the summertime Aspen Music Festival, an eight-week mini-Tanglewood known for the variety and breadth of its musical activity.