The largest of the four ski mountains in Aspen, Snowmass has some excellent skiing. It also has the longest vertical drop: 1,343, metres from its highest peak of 3,813 metres (The Cirque) to its base at 2,473 metres (it is also the second biggest vertical drop in the US, after Jackson Hole). Because of its size, it also gets the most crowds, but it does take at least two or three days to ski the whole mountain. Accommodations in Snowmass Village tend to be cheaper than Aspen itself, which is another reason why many people prefer to stay here. I had a great ski experience in Snowmass, mainly because it was the end of March (the 23rd) with an unexpected cold and snowy spell, so the mountain was quite empty. Snowmass Mountain is located about 15-20 minutes by car from Aspen itself.
The centre of Aspen feels like a real American town, rather than a ski resort, because of the efforts made by the city to preserve its original character. After it was founded around 1880, the town had a little over a decade of ephemeral prosperity as a silver mining town, during which much of the beautiful red brick architecture was built. A stroll around town is a must when visiting the area, but unfortunately, most of us are priced out of the shopping here as nearly every expensive fashion label has a boutique, among them Dior, Burberry, Zegna, Prada, Brunello Cucinelli, and the list goes on.
Referred to by some as "Gucci" Mountain, the Aspen Mountain ski resort is one of four in the Aspen-Snowmass area. It is directly above the town of Aspen and is the only one accessible from the town itself, thus most of its skiers are visitors who are staying in the town and its rather expensive hotels. As we all know, the clientele of town often tend to be ultra rich and super famous, so there is no shortage of labels on the slopes, and hence the nickname "Gucci Mountain". When I visited in late March 2013 for a weekend, I only skied Snowmass and Highlands, but was told Aspen Mountain did not offer the best skiing. Instead it was the best place to see and be seen! The base of the mountain is at 2,422 metres, and the highest peak is at 3,418 metres, for a vertical drop of just under 1,000 metres.
I had one of the best ski experiences of my life in Aspen Highlands in late March 2013. The reason was that it was empty, with plenty of fresh deep powder! The mountain is the second largest in the Aspen area, but has some of the most challenging terrains in the area, particularly in the Highlands Bowl, where the highest peak lies at 3,559 metres. To reach this bowl, one has to hike up a long way along a narrow ridge, a must for the experienced and adventurous skiers, but it takes quite a lot of effort to do so. The base of Highlands is at 2,451 metres, making the vertical drop 1,108 metres.
The smallest of the four ski areas in Aspen-Snowmass, Buttermilk is intended mainly for beginners and snowboarders. Those were two reasons for me not to bother with it at all, not that I had any time for it. I managed to take the attached fuzzy photo of Buttermilk Mountain from the car, on the way to Snowmass.
A walking tour full of stories of Ghosts, Murder & all of Aspen's dirty little secrets. I've lived in Aspen for awhile and found it a great thing to do when friends visit. My favorites were the ghosts at the Red Light District & Ghosts at the Hotel Jerome.
As the crow flies, Crestted Butte is located 12 miles from Aspen. It's about a 3 1/2 hour drive - 110 miles. The hike over East Maroon Pass is spectacular and takes about 6 hours. If you don't want to hike back, you can arrange for transportation back to aspen - via van or on horseback. Best time to go for wildflowers in full bloom is August.
We had a fascinating look at how the movers and shakers of the world live and play in Aspen, We saw beautiful homes of Movie Stars, Television Stars, Sports Stars, Music Stars, Super Models, Fortune 500 CEO's and Royalty! so many fascinating stories about these world famous celebrities where told I never new. We saw 75 of the most beautiful and expensive homes in the world, stunning Homes & amazing 50 miiilon dollar mansions!. You'll have incredible stories to tell your friends when you get home! Well worth the price and is about 2 1/2 to 3 hours long.
This was a fascinating look at how the movers and shakers of the world live and play in Aspen, What beautiful homes of Movie Stars, Television Stars, Sports Stars, Music Stars, Super Models, Fortune 500 CEO's and Royalty! We where told many fascinating stories about these world famous celebrities.
We saw about 75 of the most beautiful and expensive homes in the world. You'll have incredible stories to tell your friends when you get home! The tour was about 2 1/2 hours and rates are fare.
Walking the final steps up a high pass is no less exciting than reaching the summit of a giant peak. Views open up in all directions; rows of snow capped mountain ranges stretch far into the distance like white waves in a choppy sea. T.A. Baron, A Walk in the Wilderness.
The lower few miles of the Snowmass Creek trail have been described as a "piece of cake". I'm not sure that I'd agree, but, then again, when you're hiking in this altitude, everything is relative. The trail does start off slowly as a gradual walk through unconnected beaver ponds, open meadows and lush forests.
The road to the base of the Maroon Bells is beautiful, with lots of opportunities to stop and take pictures. Artists stop along the route and try to catch the colors with their paints. It's just lovely.
Come all ye Irish gentlemen,
a story I would tell
Of St. Tim’s church at Ashcroft
and all that there befell.
Since snows did fall and streams run down
from lofty Castle Peak,
More witching spot could ne’er be found,
of poet to speak;
Or lovely vales, bestrewn with flowers,
or Columbine more rare;
Or sparkling waters foaming down,
or azure skies more fair.
..... An excerpt from a poem written by John Leahy, Ashcroft's Mayor/Justice of the Peace/Town Scholar. He's said to have died in an avalanche while reciting the poetry he loved to write, and his ghost is said to still inhabit the town.
In 1880, (Ashcroft's early days), there were cabins, a store, saloon, jail, post office, and hotel. By far the most popular was the saloon where the miners would relax and play cards and converse with the "Spanish Ladies", (prostitutes), in the two story gambling dancing hall called Paddy's. At that time the Montezuma-Tam O'Shanter mine produced up to $20,000 worth of silver a month. By 1883 Ashcroft had more residents than Aspen; more than 2,500 people hoping to cash in on the promise of Silver called this their home.
Before long there were almost 20 saloons as news of Ashcroft's wealth spread; however when the silver mines produced little more than the yellow-orange tailing piles still evident today the population quickly shifted to Aspen. In 1887 the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad put a stake through the heart of Ashcroft bypassing it, and completing a rail line through Aspen.
As you walk through the historically protected ghost town you are guided by elevated wooden sidewalks with stops here and there with information boards telling you about the buildings and the residents. You can almost hear the piano playing in the old saloon along with cards being shuffled. If you visit in the winter, there are lots of wonderful cross-country trails to follow too.
At 13,500 ft, it is considered CO's highest trail-accessible pass. The hike begins along the Cathedral Lake trail and the first 3.2 miles experiences a 2, 000 ft elevation gain. The trail begins among aspens then breaks off into open meadows and rock slide areas. After the 1st 2 miles, the trail climbs in a series of switchbacks to the basin. At that point, the right hand fork leads to Electric Pass and the left another 1/4 mile to Cathedral Lake.
The electric pass route then reaches timberline, and climbs through waist high willows and climbs another 1,600 feet in 1.5 miles. Heading up to electric pass, the summit of cathedral peak is visible, along with an extensive rock glacier. The trail switchbacks to a ridge which extends to Leahy Peak. The trail then climbs along Electric Pass Peak to reach the Electric Pass.
On the edge of downtown Aspen is the Silver Queen Gondola. It takes you up to the summit of Aspen Mountain, for a panoramic view of the beautiful Elk Mountains to the west.
What a great, reasonably-priced hotel, just blocks away from the best of downtown Aspen, or the base...more
Hotel Jerome is considered one of Aspen's best boutique hotels. It is located on Main Street in an...more
This same hotel was formerly the Ritz Carleton, Aspen. They recently had sold it to St Regis a few...more