One weekend is more than enough time to shop, snack, and après-ski.
Editor’s Note: The Aspen Chamber Resort Association announced May 20, 2020, that Aspen lodging properties (including hotels and professionally managed condo properties) will be able to welcome visitors to Aspen beginning May 27. However, please check all hotels, restaurants, shops, museums, and other attractions for specific opening dates, hours, and safety protocols.
“Aspen is a life to live,” sings John Denver, “see how much there is to give.” The longtime Aspen resident wrote profusely of the sunshine and snowcaps prevalent in the posh playground of his adopted home state. And though Denver lived there most of his life, Aspen offers just as much enchantment to visitors passing through for a jet-setting weekend, no matter which season. After C&I stopped in for a whirlwind visit last year, we asked some locals to help us chart an easy guide to basking in the “Aspenglow” for a few days.
STAY: The Gant
“How do you prefer to wind down after a day of shopping or skiing? Two words: Hot. Tub.” –Lou Eppelsheimer, The Gant sales and marketing director
Bonus: There are two heated outdoor swimming pools and three jetted hot tubs for much-needed relaxing at the end of the day. But at The Gant, an Aspen institution since 1973, it’s the pampered updates and commodious size of the bedrooms, bathrooms, and living spaces — a modern luxury on group trips — that make these spacious condos at the base of Aspen Mountain worth staying at with your closest pals.
Editor’s Note: The Gant will be reopening for the summer on June 4, 2020.
SEE: Aspen Art Museum
“What ultimately differentiates Aspen from other destination communities in the West is the way in which global arts and culture are inherent to its sustainability.” –KristinAnn Janishefski, Aspen Art Museum communications director
Plan Your Visit: Through September 13, multidisciplinary artist Maren Hassinger presents galvanized wire rope sculptures and concrete works that mimic the outdoors in her exhibit Nature, Sweet Nature. With a view of Aspen Mountain in the background, the museum’s roof-deck sculpture garden plays host to seemingly windswept wire vines and planters scaled to human size.
SHOP: Kemo Sabe
“We hear a lot of exclamations about how much Aspen has changed over the years. Actually, I don’t feel that way at all. I still see Aspen in the same way it was in the 1970s, when I opened my first store [before Kemo Sabe]. Way ahead of any other place I’ve ever visited in what makes Aspen — well, what makes us Aspen: Swagger.” –Tom Yoder, Kemo Sabe owner
More Swagger: After you peruse — and pose in front of — the Aspen store’s braggadocious hat wall, visit the Western retailer’s other outposts in Las Vegas and Vail, Colorado.
SKI: Buttermilk Mountain
“Buttermilk is so fun and my favorite place to instruct and ski. It has a learning-based terrain park for those who are beginners and some black diamonds for those who really want to get after it. Plus, the views from the Cliffhouse are unparalleled — you can see Highlands Peak and Pyramid [Peak].” –Xanthe Demas, Aspen Skiing Company
The winter ski season generally starts in early December and ends in early April. Visit online to plan your next ski trip.
SUMMER: Maroon Bells
“We are just as busy here in the months of June, July, and August as we are in the winter,” says Tucker Vest Burton from Aspen Skiing Company. For an easy day hike, she recommends visiting Maroon Bells, two of the most-photographed mountains in North America, and hiking from there past Maroon Lake and on to Crater Lake for a scenic and intermediate-level trail experience. aspensnowmass.com
SIP: Ajax Tavern at The Little Nell
“One of our regular Ajax Tavern guests who skis practically every day loves to have Veuve Clicquot on the patio. At Aspen-Snowmass, if you ski 100 days in one season, you get a commemorative 100-day pin. The 10th consecutive year that he earned his 100-day pin, he decided to celebrate over après-ski by ordering 100 bottles of Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Champagne, which he lined up across several tables and shared with his friends and their friends.” –Grant Barrette, The Little Nell assistant food and beverage director
We Recommend: Wash down the Ajax Truffle Fries with a glass of the aforementioned Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Yellow Label Champagne, a pint of Dry Dock Apricot Blonde Ale (brewed in Aurora, Colorado), or a swill of the Turmeric Ginger Hot Toddy, mixed with Basil Hayden bourbon.
The White House Tavern
Try the Honor Burger, a juicy helping of fresh ground chuck layered with white cheddar, tomato, and spicy slaw.
Meat & Cheese Restaurant and Farm Shop
Try the Biscuit Board, a mouth-watering compilation of flaky buttermilk biscuits, shaved ham, and house-made seasonal mustard.
French Alpine Bistro — Crêperie du Village
Try the cheese fondue, a camaraderie of melted Gruyère, Vacherin, Beaufort and Comté with white wine, and kirschwasser, served with crisp bread slices.
Photography: Courtesy The Gant, A Destination Hotel, Aspen Ski Co., Aspen Art Museum/Michael Moran/Otto, Kemo Sabe, Daniel Bayer, Jeremy Swanson, Ajax at The Little Nell, The White House Tavern
From our May/June 2020 issue.