Highlands is known for having some of the most challenging terrain in Aspen, offering steep runs and, of course, the legendary Highlands Bowl. It's not a huge mountain, but it's absolutely the place you want to be on a powder day. (Though you'll be fighting locals for the first chair if that's the case.)
The original resort here, Aspen Mountain is the closest of the mountains to the village, with its lower runs spitting out skiers at the doors of the Little Nell. The mountain is known to locals as Ajax, and it's a favorite among them for its convenient location and its steep, bumpy style.
The least steep of the four mountains, Buttermilk is typically a favorite of beginner skiers (whether they're little kids or adults who are just getting the hang of things). In the spring, the mountain's entire personality completely changes when the X Games hosts its competition there for the week. If you happen to be in town, have your concierge arrange for you to see a few of the events in person.
130 Wood Rd., Snowmass
Nestled at the base of family-friendly Snowmass (and conveniently ski-in-ski-out), the Viceroy is probably one of Aspen's best options for those traveling with kids in tow. Amenities like complementary ski valet and plenty of suite options with multiple bedrooms, full kitchens, and in-room washer/dryers make the arduous process of getting the littles dressed, sun-screened, and out to ski school. If that weren't enough, there's also full-time daycare service in the hotel and a heated outdoor pool that's open year-round. Once kids are out the door, head to the poolside NEST Public House for a miles-long craft beer list and a more grown-up vibe.
315 E. Dean St., Aspen
Just steps from the gondola, this St. Regis offers the same level of service you'd find in any of their properties, with a décor palate that's rustic-meets-modern. You'll find custom leather bed frames, faux fur throws, and marble fireplaces. Incidentally, the St. Regis is also a favorite for foodies. Their signature in-house Chefs Club, a partnership with Food & Wine, brings in the country's best up-and-coming chefs as consultants for a menu that is endlessly changing in style and scope. P.S. The spa here is the bomb, too.
The Little Nell
675 E. Durant Ave., Aspen
The Little Nell is famously the most luxurious of Aspen's resorts, so it follows that it's also home base for the ritzy see-and-be-seen scene the town is known for. Still, it's perfectly possible to have a discreet stay, if only because the rooms themselves—designed by LA-based Holly Hunt and turned out with Fili d'Oro down, heated marble bathrooms, cozy fireplaces, and mountain views—are so exquisite. You'll also be grateful for the impeccable service, which makes every activity from skiing to making a dinner reservation blessedly simple. In the hotel's two restaurants, Element 47 and Ajax Tavern, take advantage of the over-the-top wine list from Master Sommelier Carlton McCoy, a relative youngster for the wine world who's already earning top stars for his management of the hotel's deep wine collection. Art lovers, take note: The Nell is also home to a legendary collection of contemporary art, which occupies all of the hotel's hallways, restaurants, and guest rooms.
Hotel Jerome, Auberge Resorts Collection
330 E. Main St., Aspen
The historic Jerome has been part of Aspen's story since it opened as the town's first hotel more than 120 years ago. Still housed in the original building (albeit with an updated interior and an expansion), the hotel was purchased by Auberge in 2012. While it retains its small-town charm, it now offers Auberge-style amenities like a gorgeously-decorated bar, in-house ski rentals through Gorsuch, a luxe spa, and two full-service restaurants. As for the décor, it feels warm and stately, with deep greens, rich leathers, and western touches like plaid and vintage portraits throughout the rooms and public spaces. The location, perfectly situated between the base of Ajax and the river, is just the icing on the cake.
221 E. Main St., Aspen
This charming indie bookstore is the kind of place you go for a vacation read and end up walking out with a stack of historical novels, detective stories, and hard-to-find biographies. They also host a children's storytime (a great rainy-day or après-ski activity), as well as a range of literary events for adults—from author readings to a writer's open mic night. If you get hungry while browsing, or after an event, head upstairs to their Pyramid Bistro, which is also open late.
J. Crew (Closed)
205 S. Mill St., Aspen
The J.Crew outpost in Aspen is legendary for consistently carrying the best edit of the brand’s classic-with-a-twist apparel and accessories (the shoe edit is especially impressive). It’s a small space—nowhere near as sprawling as the average mall location—but the minimal build-out makes it easy to grab what you want and go.
Pitkin County Dry Goods
520 E. Cooper Ave., Aspen
This little boutique across from the Little Nell is an automatic go-to for denim (they carry tons of brands) and other basics, like cozy cashmere sweaters, oversized scarves, and mid-priced accessories. Basically, it's the kind of place that becomes an invaluable resource when a critical piece of clothing didn't make it into the suitcase, or when you need to shop for a last-minute gift. Fair warning: They're closed until 1pm on powder days.
You may also like