Sky High Skiing
Some of the best skiing in the world is just a two-hour plane ride from L.A., and the beauty there is unparalleled. Nestled into a magical valley of the Rocky Mountains, Aspen means different things to so many: skiers, shoppers, foodies, outdoor types and more. Here, mastering the sites and skills of ski high skiing of a snow-covered Aspen.
Ski Aspen Mountain
The variety of skills it takes to master the ski high skiiing of Aspen mountains varies as much as the mountains’ names. There are four ski areas here: Aspen Mountain (or Ajax), Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. If you’re walking through the town of Aspen, the spectacular mountain backdrop is Ajax—and the trails are as steep as they look, best left for confident intermediate and expert skiers. If you take these trails and are able to slow down to take in the sites, the view is amazing. Look for shrines in the trees dedicated to well-known locals as well as celebs.
Ski Aspen Highlands
Expert skiers also take to Aspen Highlands and the black-diamond trail that takes them over a narrow ridge to the top of the Highland Bowl, favored for its terrain. Unlike Ajax, this mountain also has blues and greens; they are hardly crowded and boast fun trails, like bumpy Scarlett’s Run and others with breathtaking views.
With its three mountain peaks, Snowmass has something for every skier. There are tricky tree runs and a smattering of greens and blues for easy cruising down the slopes.
Family friendly Buttermilk hosts the Winter X Games and plenty of snowboarders like to go to the X Games park here. There is also Panda Peak for the newbie skiers and other wide, groomed slopes that the whole clan can chill and do together.The best thing to note about all these mountains? Lift tickets are all-inclusive, meaning they can be used at any mountain on any day during the duration, plus there is free shuttle service between all of the ski areas.
When you walk out of the hotels, filled with their own selection of delicious spots to eat and snack, and venture into the town of Aspen, choices abound. There is farm-to-table, the best burger joints, gourmet dining, craft cocktails, artisan coffee and down-home Mexican fare just for starters. There’s even a Matsuhisa location in a nondescript house off a less-traveled side street. Some spots to try are listed below, but we recommend strolling around and stopping by the many other eateries that dot the streets.
JIMMY’S An American grill up a flight of stairs and through a cowboy bar. Perfect for late night munchies. 205 S. Mill Street, Aspen, CO 81611 jimmysaspen.com 970.925.6020
THE WHITE HOUSE TAVERN Salads, burgers, sandwiches, oh my. 302 E. Hopkins Avenue, Aspen, CO 81611 aspenwhitehouse.com 970.925.1007
NEW YORK PIZZA It’s as close to New York Pizza as we’ve seen out of NYC. And the atmosphere is super low-key like a NY pizzeria. 409 E. Hyman, Avenue Aspen, CO 81611 eataspen.com 970.920.3088
UCP BRGER Next to the ice rink in front of the Hyatt, the outdoor seating area is the perfect place to people-watch and have one of the best burgers with fries and a shake…ever. 433 E. Durant Avenue, Aspen, CO 81611 cpburger.com 970.925.3056.
CLOUD NINE ALPINE BISTRO Aprés or mid-ski, this spot is the ultimate scene in Aspen. Located atop the number nine lift on the Highlands, Cloud Nine books well in advance. Loud music blasts here plus tabletop dancing and Champagne sprays are a thing at this adult-friendly place, so stand back if you don’t want to get wet. 76 Boomerang Row Top of the Cloud Nine Lift, Aspen, CO 81611 970.923.8715
MATSUHISA From L.A. to Aspen, it’s the real deal.303 E. Main Street, Aspen CO 81611 matsuhisarestaurants.com 970.544.6628
MEAT & CHEESE RESTAURANT AND FARM SHOP They serve farmhouse cuisine with an amazing wine menu—or will sell you ingredients to make the dishes for yourself back at “home.” 319 E. Hopkins Avenue, Aspen, CO 81611 meatcheese.avalancheaspen.com 970.710.7120
J-BAR At Hotel Jerome in town, atmosphere meets good food. Cozy to its core. 330 E. Main Street, Aspen, CO 81611 aubergeresorts.com 855.826.5294
Walk through the town of Aspen, past the shuttle depot, and there you will find a grid of streets (some brick and cobblestone) that can take hours to meander through, especially when popping into the plethora of shops. There are local art and clothing stores neighboring big designer shops (they have them all!). There are beauty stores, consignment shops and galleries that welcome the perusing visitor. Definitely spend some downtime from the slopes here, even if it is just to purchase the ever popular Aspen logo wear for yourself or someone at home. For a break, hit Local Coffee House on Cooper Avenue and order the macadamia nut draft latte—or whatever else one gets when in Aspen.
The selection of accommodations if you plan to tackle ski high skiing, shopping or dining in Aspen is staggering for such a small town, but the place is hopping when ski mountains open as early as November and stay open through mid-April. While there is only one ski-in/ski-out option (The Little Nell), there are a few slope side spots and then some close to town as well as a vast selection of rental properties that are well located and outfitted. Many rooms book up a year in advance, and those closest to the slopes tend to be pricier. For the best location, some to look into include:
THE LITTLE NELL thelittlenell.com
RESIDENCES AT THE LITTLE NELL thelittlenell.com/residences/aspen
ST. REGIS ASPEN RESORT marriott.com
HYATT RESIDENCE CLUB GRAND ASPEN hyatt.com
THE INNSBRUCK (ASCEND HOTEL COLLECTION) theinnsbruckaspen.com
LIMELIGHT HOTEL limelighthotels.com
HOTEL JEROME (AUBERGE HOTEL COLLECTION) aubergeresorts.com
VICEROY (SNOWMASS VILLAGE) viceroyhotelsandresorts.com
HOTEL ASPEN hotelaspen.com