Four years ago, when I would hear of Aspen, I would first think of its elite and expensive reputation and second of the world class skiing. I assumed I’d probably never go, and that if I ever did go, I’d feel a tad out of place.
Last week my husband and I were in Aspen, attending our third year of an annual ski clinic. Aspen is not at all stuffy or pretentious, in my opinion. Don’t get me wrong, money IS there and Aspen boasts the most expensive real estate in the United States, but it’s an enjoy life and live well kind of vibe. Downtown Aspen is full of condos; cool hotels, hip bars, great eating, good shopping, and more ski equipment than you can possibly ever want or need.
Aspen has four mountains, Aspen or Ajax, Snowmass, Highlands and Buttermilk (X Games). Snowmass alone is bigger than the other three mountains combined, so there is plenty for skiers, boarders and snow fiends to enjoy. Territory for every level, ability and comfort zone is covered as well. There are plenty of bumps, trees, and terrain parks, green, blue, black and double black diamonds for everyone. And the snow . . . is the BEST. Light fluffy, soft pillows that your skis are made for cutting through.
Aspen is almost 8,000 feet above sea level and does take some getting used to. Our first year, Michael and I experienced dreadful headaches that wouldn’t budge under 3 Advil. It really depends from person to person, but common altitude symptoms can be: slight swelling or body puffiness, fatigue or weakness, nosebleeds, and shortness of breath to name a few. Michael and I both experienced swelling, inconsistent sleeping, bad dreams, dry nose, being tired and a little sore. Tired and sore is to be expected, especially if you aren’t used to skiing multiple days in a row and if you take a spill or two, expect to wake up feeling like you’ve been hit with a truck.
A few things I love about Aspen – It’s a winter wonderland and so beautiful when it snows! And it’s COLD! It can easily get to single digits, so bring layers and your down accessories. It’s one of the few places where fir is acceptable and commonly worn. I personally, have no particular stance on fir. I gave my mother’s mink jacket away after she passed. But I tell you; nothing and I mean nothing feels like chinchilla, not even butter! I LOVE Aspen a la carte. It’s a food magazine with local restaurants you can order delivery from. It’s awesome! After a day of skiing you are tired, and it’s bloody cold outside, you don’t want to go out; call and order in sushi, a burger, pasta, pizza, a steak, Thai, they’ve got everything. I also love the free public transport to and from the mountains. The town is very easy to navigate and if your hotel or condo has a free shuttle, it’s even better.
Finally, if you go and if you are into winter activities and if your feet and calves are in need of some love, to go A1 Foot Massage! It is reflexology and it can (more likely WILL) be painful. But it’s worth every wince and cry because you walk out on a cloud of pain free bliss. And $30 for 30 minutes may be the best bargain in Aspen. But don’t forget to tip them, remember they are in a position of potentially hurting you.