USA Ski Accommodation in Aspen, USA

Description

Aspen is one of North America's most exciting resorts, surrounded by dramatic and beautiful peaks and dominated by the Maroon Bells. The town is lively with a great selection of shops, bars and restaurants and overlooked by incredible pistes. Here you will find the best Après Ski from convivial 'spit-n-sawdust' cowboy bars, cheap and cheerful restaurants to gourmet cuisine and stylish nightclubs.

Aspen is one of the all time greats of world-skiing where anyone will feel at ease with the choice of four mountains on one lift pass and connected by an efficient bus shuttle. Aspen offers the perfect ingredients for a great ski holiday.


Getting There


When to Go


Where to Stay



Getting around


Apres

Aspen has a big reputation as a ski resort, with many people viewing it as extremely expensive and only suitable for the jet set – but those people have often never been near the town, and whilst it is expensive it is also great fun with a huge amount of skiing on offer! The après ski scene here is one of the best in North America and rivals Whistler for both atmosphere and variety.

At the end of the ski day there are quite a few bars close to the foot of the slopes, with the highlight probably the Ajax Tavern – this is both a bar and a restaurant but it has a huge terrace which gets extremely busy when the sun comes out. The music starts ramping up towards the end of the afternoon and by the time 6 o’clock rolls around there’s an incredible vibe! Those wishing to push on through can stay here for good quality food – the excellent truffle fries are a real highlight.

Another fun place to head is the Terrace Bar at the Little Ness Hotel – a very upmarket affair but also a great place to relax with a good bar menu and major sporting events on the big screen TVs. The bartenders here are a notch above the average and can mix fantastic cocktails from their extensive menus, or just about anything you ask for! The view of Aspen Mountain from here is truly something to behold so arrive early to get the best possible view.

Another top place for people watching is the 39 Degrees Lounge in the Sky Hotel – this isn’t a place for a few beers, head to Ajax for that. But for great cocktails, elegant snacks, an open fire and very comfy chairs this is the place to come. The wine list is extensive and the atmosphere is particularly sociable, especially around the bar, so if you’re looking for a few drinks with friends then head to 39 Degrees.

The J Bar of the Hotel Jerome can trace its roots back to 1889 and you can really see the history and tradition of Colorado in this opulent bar. The leather chairs and wood panelling hark back to a more refined era with a real hit of a ‘wild west’ saloon. You can enjoy anything from a beer with a whisky chaser to a refined cocktail here and the clientele are surprisingly varied with some real characters at the bar. This is the perfect place to get a real taste of old America.

If you’re keen for live music and dancing then head to Belly Up in South Galena Street for country and western and a real party atmosphere! You generally need tickets to enjoy the music here as they have big names acts performing almost every night but midweek these start from less than $20.

Top of the bill in terms of nightclubs is the Caribou Club, which is actually members only but you can get yourself a weekly membership by getting in touch before you arrive. This is where all of the rich and famous hang out when they come to Aspen so you can be sure of seeing a few famous faces as well as running up a hefty bar tab!


Eating out

Within the four different areas of Aspen, Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass there is a wonderful range of mountain restaurants to explore. You can find some excellent table service options if you know where to look too and those looking for long lunches in a more European style will be better served here than in any other North American resort! That said, if you do just want to grab a baguette or something quick before getting back out into the powder then there are still some fantastic options available.

Top of the table is probably the Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro – the clue is in the name, this is the closest thing to an alpine restaurant you will find in Aspen, but prices are some of the highest in the area too! Starters are around $15 and include steak tartar or caviar and they also have fondue and raclette for around $25pp. The menu is primarily French and Swiss orientated but you can find a few Austrian options like veal schnitzel as well. Later on in the afternoon there is music and dancing on table tops – not a million miles away from an American Folie Douce! Highly recommended.

Another good option is the Ajax Tavern that is ski in/ski out at the bottom of Aspen Mountain with a superb sun terrace and an excellent menu of upmarket Canadian favourites like truffle fries and cheeseburgers, onion soup and delicious fresh oysters. As with Cloud Nine there is a lively après scene here so if the sun is out make sure you bring your dancing shoes and sunglasses for some of Aspen’s best people watching.

Bumps at Buttermilk is a cafeteria style restaurant offering huge plates of pasta, delicious pizzas and grilled meats to help fuel you up for a tough afternoon on the slopes. The restaurant is just off the Highway 82 piste and has some tip top views despite being relatively low down at 8000 ft.

Sam’s Smokehouse on Snowmass is a great and inexpensive, BBQ restaurant with excellent views from its huge windows! There is seating for up to 175 inside as well as an outside area and a self-service area if you want to just pick up something quickly. Starters are around $8 and main courses/sandwiches are around $15-20.

In town, the selection of restaurants is equally varied with a lot of top-end restaurants as well as some cheaper, family style restaurants. A lot of the more expensive restaurants do allow you to eat at the bar for a lot less than you might expect but as a result you can’t book and it’s not really suitable for families.

Il Mulino is one of the most upmarket restaurants in Aspen and offers excellent Italian cuisine in rarefied surroundings. The menu is full of classic Italian antipasti, meat dishes and excellent pasta so if you’re after something a little bit special then book ahead as it is always busy.

Another good option for those who want something quite nice is the Element 47 at the Little Nell Hotel which offers top end cuisine for around $100pp for three courses. The menu is a mix of European and American cuisine with Maine lobster, sea bass, foie gras and lamb shanks all on offer.

Those looking to keep their food spending to a minimum can head to Little Annie’s for burgers, BBQ and prime rib for around $15pp or head to New York Pizza for a slice of thin crust perfection.



Activities

Aspen is a really popular resort for all types of visitor, and not just those who want to spend all day up on the slopes or in the snow park. As a year-round resort the infrastructure is superb, and you can expect truly world class facilities!

A great way of enjoying the beautiful scenery of Aspen, Snowmass and Buttermilk is to head off on a snowshoeing tour of the backcountry. Experienced guides will be able to show you around the mountain and help you learn about the local flora and fauna as well as seeing some stunning scenery! A morning or afternoon tour costs $61 for adults and $36 for a child aged between 7 and 12 years old with tours depart from the Elk Camp Gondola on Snowmass and the Silver Queen Gondola on Aspen Mountain – prices include equipment and snacks.

If you would rather let some technology take the strain then you can embark on a snow cat dinner ride throughout the winter season! A large snow cat will pick you up from the village by Sneaky’s Tavern and take you along to the Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro for a cosy meal at over 10’000ft. The evening lasts for between 3 and 3.5 hours and you will be taken back into the village at the end of the evening. Prices start at $130 per adult or $85 per child (11 and under) but if you would rather go for a slightly cheaper option the you can dine at the Burlingame Cabin which doesn’t offer the same level of gourmet food and instead focuses on traditional BBQ and home-style food with prices starting at $77 for adults and $29 for children.

Lift passes are quite expensive in Aspen but you do get a few activities thrown in such as the free mountain tours which start from the Wapati Wildlife centre at the top of the Elk Camp lift. A naturalist will take you on a run through the wooden slopes and then give you a great tour of the centre to learn about weather in the mountains, avalanche risks, the local wildlife and many other things that can often be missed as you ski past. Each tour takes around 45 minutes and they start everyday from the WWC at 11am and 1pm – as the tour does involve some skiing you need to be of an intermediate standard to participate.

Taking home a lasting memory of your holiday is always a nice thing to be able to do and you can head out on a professional photography afternoon in Aspen to do just that! You can spend a few hours with the photographers at the base of the mountain and have a look at all of the photos online with no obligation to buy.

If you’re keen to spend a bit more time on the mountain then you can spend an evening under the stars on a number of nights curing the season. These special nights are open to all including children from the age of 4. The parties start from 5.30pm with lifts up to the Sundeck bar and lifts coming down at 9.30pm after some dinner, drinks, live music and dancing. This season the events are on the 29th December, 16th February, the 1st and 15th of March.



Ski School


Getting around


Family ski


Group Ski


Childcare

Aspen has some excellent childcare and activities available for all ages, if the children don’t want to head up on the mountain every day or are just a little too young to be taking their first turns. Children are accepted to care here from just 8 weeks old, so it’s never too soon to head out to Aspen! Space is limited for those aged under 4 so you will need to book in advance. There is a movie night every Wednesday for those aged 4-12 and it includes dinner, a movie and games between 6 and 9pm – perfect if you fancy enjoying après ski at the Ajax a little bit longer!

The Aspen Recreation Centre (ARC) has a great deal of activities to keep children occupied with a 30ft climbing wall, a swimming pool with water slides, an ice skating rink and a great sledding hill called ‘Whoa Nelly’!

The Aspen Centre for Environmental Studies offers a great educational experience for children with lessons on animal tracks and their habitats, snow caves and winter survival techniques. Workshops run throughout the winter season and offer a great way incorporating a bit of culture and learning into the holiday.

Children are also welcome on the daily snowshoe tours that go from the resort centres of Aspen and Buttermilk, they can be a bit tiring so it’s not an ideal afternoon activity if your children have been skiing all day! Prices start from under $40 per child including equipment hire, a guide and some warming snacks on the way round.

Any budding Jamie Oliver’s can go on an Italian cookery course at Brunelleschi’s restaurant in Aspen to learn the finer points of pizza and pasta making as well as getting a great meal in the process. This is a very popular afternoon activity, especially if the weather closes in, so if you think it will be of interest then book it as early as possible!

Full and half day workshops are available for the creatively minded at the Anderson Ranch Arts Centre in Snowmass. Anyone from the age of 4-17 years is welcome, and bookings can be made online http://www.andersonranch.org/


The Piste


Ski School


Equipment Hire


Lift Passes


Piste
Aspen, USA Snow Report
Current conditions
Temp: 9° C
Wind: 8mph
Direction: wsw
Conditions: Clear skies
New Snow
24hrs: 8cm
Snow Depth
Top: 150cm
Base: 119cm

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