The ski resorts at Aspen / Snowmass seem to have something for everyone: whether its panoramic snow caped mountain views, the skiing and snowboarding slopes, shopping, fine dining, fun beverage pubs, or just plain sleeping in mornings in your lux resort room.
Aspen/Snowmass is a bit far than other Colorado Ski resorts if you are traveling by car from Denver, and so for decades it had to provide the best for its visitors, be it celebrities or weekend mountain enthusiasts. The two resorts are within comfortable driving distance to each other. Snowmass Village has many shops, dining venues and accommodations, while Aspen has another skiing venue, gondola, fine dining as well as upscale shops and fine art galleries.
I stayed at the mountainside, expansive, maze-like Snowmass Westin Hotel, where the service was fast and efficient, the dining at the Snowmass Kitchen extraordinary, and the mountain venues, complete with a ski lift right outside the rooms balcony, gave an authentic feel for a place and time out of the ordinary. The spacious mini suite offered two televisions, a mini fridge, Heavenly beds and a bath with tub and rain head shower. The Westin lobby bar, The Vue, was a convivial meeting place, whether refreshing yourself at the bar or lounging in the adjacent area Aspen complete with a blazing fireplace.
Between Snowmass Village and Aspen proper, is the turn off at a roundabout to the iconic Colorado vista called Maroon Bells: several mountain peaks guarding an alpine lake. On my December visit it was a must on my to do list, and undaunted and with directions from the Westin’s Concierge I ventured forth, up a snow filled road. There is a reason that more photos are made of it in springtime and summer than in winter, as the December road abruptly stopped 6 miles from the planned venue. The powdery snow was knee deep in spots, but a sighting across a frozen meadow produced a satisfying Winter view.
Down the road to Aspen I enjoyed a delightful brunch at the restaurant in Little Nell’s, called Element47, which is the periodic table of elements designation for Silver, which founded the town. The Salmon Eggs Benedict and champagne Mimosa were as satisfying as the people watching. Their butternut squash soup was a burst of comforting flavors. While I am not a skier it was thrilling to observe the skiers and snowboarders coming down the mountain to the back door of Little Nell’s, and a treat to take the adjacent gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain for a panoramic view of the Elk Mountain Range, where a glass of wine lets you toast your good fortune and mother nature’s majesty. Down in Aspen itself you could spend the day roaming from art gallery to art gallery, my favorite being the art glass of the Pismo gallery a short stroll from Little Nell’s.
Back at the Westin Snowmass Resort you may want to end your day, or start your afternoon by sampling the many New Belgian Beers at the Ranger Station, in the Westin complex. Besides the beer adventures, they offer several appetizers/snacks including pizza like pretzels and a sugar rocket treat of a giant s’more. The nearby Bar at Wildwoods is a lively nighttime venue.
If you are short on time and long on budget you may find flying into the small Aspen airport more to your liking than traveling by car, but then you miss the engineer feat of the interstate cutting through the Rocky Mountains, and interesting stops along the way such as Idaho Springs and Georgetown. In any case Aspen/Snowmass can provide you and your friends an enjoyable escape from the ordinary, and your stay at Snowmass Westin compliments the pleasure.