Aspen , Usa
Aspen ski resort in our opinion is the best ski town in North America. It has a huge variety of skiing over four different mountains - Aspen, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass. These mountains are not interlinked so to get to most of the slopes you will need to take the resort shuttle bus service. Don't let this put you off as the shuttle service is extremely well run.
Despite the reputation that the rich and famous stay in Aspen, the resort atmosphere is down to earth and offers unpretentious friendliness. The town of Aspen is charming and full of character and there are plenty of restaurants with every possible kind of cuisine available at all price levels. The ski atmosphere in Aspen is about as close to a European resort as you can get in North America. There is a strong resort 'vibe' and an emphasis on après ski and nightlife that is normally missing from the resorts of North America (with the possible exception of Whistler in Canada).
It’s the West coast influence that makes Aspen the party town that it is – Hollywood brings the tinsel and the glamour to this world class ski resort.
There is skiing for every standard and even a mountain totally dedicated to beginners (Buttermilk), well groomed intermediate terrain and finally, lots of powder bowls for the off-piste lovers.
Pros & Cons
- Attractive, old mining town with lots of chatacter and smart shops
- Extensive and varied ski area for all level of skiers
- Lively and varied nightlife and a good range of restaurants
- There are rarely any queues on any of the mountains
- A great snow record and immaculately groomed pistes
- The skiing is split over 4 mountains, so to get to most slopes there is a bus ride
- Expensive so not great for the budget skier
Takah Sushi is the coolest place to eat these days however there is a plethora of great restaurants in Aspen. At the higher end of the market there is Pinons, which serves innovative American food. Syzygy is a suave upstairs place with live Jazz from 10pm. If you enjoy your seafood then you have to go to Pacifica Seafood Brassiere, which has a fantastic menu. The Steak Pit is another popular place and if you appreciate art then it is worth going to Elevation, which features original Andy Warhol artworks on the wall and has a more contemporary menu. For the Italian food lovers then, L'Hostaria, The Mother Lode, Campo de Fiori and Manrico all serve excellent pasta dishes. At the lower end of the market Bentley's is recommended and for families Boogie's works well. Main Street Bakery and Cafe, Mezzaluna and Hickory house are also all worth trying out. Eating from the bar menu in the smarter places also works out more economical and be warned portion sizes are large.
One of the best self-service restaurants you will find is the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain. There is also a table-service area-Benedict's that serves delicious hot food. At highlands the best place to go is Cloud Nine Alpine bistro, which has an excellent menu and superb views. On Buttermilk the mountaintop Cliffhouse has a great Mongolian BBQ and also great views.
The Aspen apres ski scene is Lively and varied. Iguana situated at the base of Highlands, is a popular place and gets very busy mid afternoon and in Aspen the Ajax Tavern is the place to be seen. The Greenhouse bar at the upmarket Little Nell hotel is a great place to go to spot the rich and famous. Shooters Salon is a real country and western dive with pool and line dancing. The hip and trendy place to go to is the swanky 39 degrees located in the sky hotel, where things really do kick of with live DJs, when the lifts have closed. Many of the restaurants are also bars e.g. Mezzaluna and if you like your Tequila then head to Jimmy's. Always carry age ID on you as if they are in doubt you will not get served.
There are many bars which have both live music and DJ's playing the latest tracks which stay open till the early hours. So if you want to let your hair down and strut your funky stuff Aspen will not disappoint. Try Club Chelsea or the exclusive members-only Caribou Club (if you can find the right friends!).