Aspen's reputation as a ski resort for the rich and hip is well deserved -- celebrity sightings aren't unheard of in this posh Rocky Mountain ski resort 170 miles west of Denver. Even stylish après ski depends on a good day of skiing, and Aspen has that in spades. Blessed with fresh powder measured each winter in feet, this Colorado ski center offers four ski mountains with slopes to satisfy everyone, from tame, mountain-long beginner runs, to terrain parks blasting alternative rock music and hard-core verticals reserved exclusively for experts.
Learn to ski at Buttermilk Mountain, Aspen's premier beginner resort, offering easygoing slopes for newbie and intermediate schussers. The runs at Snowmass range from gentle to jarring. Experts charge through fresh powder on Hanging Valley Wall, the steepest grade in the Aspen area, while intermediates slalom over groomed courses on long cruising runs. Put your skills to the test at Aspen Mountain. One third of its slopes are ungroomed, making them sheer nirvana for mogul mashers.
Things to Do
After a day on piste, relax your weary muscles with a hot stone massage or in a warmed outdoor pool at numerous hotel spas. If you're thinking of visiting in summer, you'll be doubly pleased: prices are significantly lower and the crowds thin out. Explore the forested trails on a hiking, biking or horseback riding trip. Throughout July and August, up-and-coming classical musicians give intimate performances at the famous Aspen Music Festival.
Eating and Drinking
Admire the snow-capped, lavender-gray Aspen landscape through picture windows at Piñons. Considered the peak of the Aspen dining scene, this Colorado splurge satisfies tired skiers with lobster strudel, herb-crusted local trout and homemade ice cream. "Fierce American food" is on the menu at Jimmy's, according to Jimmy himself. The local eatery dishes up heaping servings of meatloaf and Colorado rack of lamb bursting with flavor as well as a jaw-dropping 145 varieties of tequila.
Nightlife and Entertainment
After a day outdoors, a cocktail may be in order. Join a young, high-energy crowd at Syzygy, where drinking takes second place only to seeing and being seen. The rich and hip crowd 39 degrees at the Sky Hotel, where patrons join hotel guests sipping fruit-and-alcohol concoctions at the slopeside pool. Can't decide what you're in the mood for? How about Eric's Bar four bars in one: a cigar bar, pool hall, Mexican restaurant and the buzzing main bar.