It’d be a huge mistake to visit Aspen in the winter and not go skiing and snowboarding on its world-class slopes, but the fun doesn’t stop there.
Get the most out of the season in Aspen by seeing how many items you can check off this winter bucket list.
1. Catch First Tracks on Aspen Mountain
Rise, shine and hit the powder while it’s still freshly groomed. You’ll have the slopes (pretty much) to yourself as Aspen Snowmass staffers guide you on an early-morning run down Aspen Mountain. Reservations are required, and you’ll need to be at least a Level-7 skier or snowboarder who’s 11 or older.
2. Refuel on Local Fare
There’s no appetite quite like the one you’ll have after a few hours ripping down Aspen’s steeps. When hunger strikes, take a break to feast at some of the city’s many favorite restaurants. The oatmeal pancakes at Bonnie’s — located mid-Aspen Mountain — are downright legendary. Looking for elevated delights like fondue and raclette? Try the French Alpine Bistro – Creperie du Village, where you’ll also find crêpes that’ll knock your ski socks off.
3. Hunt for Mountain Shrines
Tucked away throughout the trees of Aspen Snowmass’s four mountains are more than 100 shrines. Locals and visitors alike get a kick out of spotting tributes to celebrities like Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Jerry Garcia. There’s even one dedicated to the rivalry between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Make a game out of who can snap a pic of the most — or most interesting — mountain shrines.
4. Hike the Highland Bowl
Of Aspen’s four mountains, Highlands is arguably the favorite of locals. But here’s the catch: You can only reach the summit by foot. The journey is well worth it, though. It takes about 25 minutes to an hour to hike the Highland Bowl, which isn’t too bad considering what you’ll find at the top. Expect to be rewarded with some of the most breathtaking panoramic views in Aspen, along with stashes of uncrowded runs beloved by locals.
5. Après-Ski Like a Local
Shredding the gnar can work up a thirst. Wet your whistle at historic J-Bar, where cowboys, miners and Hunter S. Thompson once tossed back pints. Or snack and sip as you warm up in the heated pool and hot tub of W Aspen hotel’s WET Deck. Whether you’re looking to wind down the day or ramp up the night, downtown Aspen’s après-ski scene has plenty to choose from.
6. Jam Out at Belly Up
Music lovers should make it a point to see a show at Belly Up while in town. This intimate club is renowned for its amazing atmosphere and a layout that lets you catch a great view of the show no matter where you sit. Acts that have graced the stage include Ben Harper, The Flaming Lips, Snoop Dogg, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and The Raconteurs.
7. Hit Up the Winter X Games Aspen
What do you get when you cross world-famous music artists and some of the most progressive winter athletes there are? The X Games Aspen, of course. This snow- and fun-filled festival held each January is like no other. Book your tickets and lodging early to make sure you don’t miss out on an experience of a lifetime.