To quote an all time favorite movie of mine only seemed appropriate to start off my recap of my recent trip to Aspen…
Lloyd: Some place warm, a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I’m talking about a little place called Aspen.
Harry: I don’t know Lloyd, the French are assholes.
-Dumb & Dumber
The Key to Snowboarding/Skiing Is to Curl Your Hair
Okay, maybe this title isn’t a 100% accurate but it sure made me more photo ready during my Aspen trip. I am not blessed with the luxury of not having to wash my hair multiple days in a row; my hair is to thin so I wash it daily. The air is dry enough in Colorado to where I was able to get two days out of one blow-dry even while skiing/snowboarding. If I did my hair in the evening (straight or curled), I would wake up the next morning run my curling wand through it and be ready for a day on the slopes. When I returned from skiing/snowboarding my curls were still in tact for a night on the town…Talk about getting some of my day back.
Enough about my hair and on to all the fabulous things Aspen has to offer…
The last time I came out to Aspen we flew into Denver and then rented a car and drove to Aspen. Boy am I glad we didn’t do that this trip because there was a mudslide that shut down the main highway into Aspen causing a 200 mile detour. We dodged a bullet avoiding the mudslide but even if it wasn’t for a blocked highway I would still recommend flying directly into Aspen. The airport is so centralized that by flying direct we were able to ski day one.
There are four main mountains in the Aspen area. My favorite is Snowmass. Snowmass is the biggest skiing mountain, usually offering the best conditions, bars, and restaurants. The other three mountains are Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain, and Aspen Highlands. Buttermilk is where the X Games are held. Other then the terrain park, Buttermilk is a pretty beginner mountain that seems to get more packed. Aspen Mountain is located in the heart of Aspen. It is not that big of a mountain, for more advanced skiers/snowboarders, and all the runs funnel into one end location. Finally, there is Aspen Highlands, which I have not skied but from my understanding it is the hardest and visited by more locals.
Typically, I snowboard but this trip I decided to leave my snowboard at home and try my hand at skiing. It actually went really well! I can’t take all the credit, my husband and I have family that live and work in the Aspen area. They are ridiculously talented in the snow sport department. I am talking about Heli-skiing, Telemarking, etc…You name it, they do it. Lucky for me, I got a private skiing lesson. I did okay, I didn’t fall the first day but mostly stayed on green runs. Day two, we went down some blues and I fell a hand full of times. Day three of skiing, I decided to revert back to snowboarding so I could keep up and go down some steeper runs. Skiing definitely seems like the easier sport and is less harsh on your body but there is something about snowboarding that gets me super excited.
Like I mentioned earlier, my husband and I have family that live in the Aspen area, El Jabel to be exact. Words would not do their home/property justice but this (pictured below) is what we woke up to each morning, heaven!!
I am not sure if it is because we have family members that are “locals” or if Aspen/Snowmass only has good restaurants that we did not have a bad meal. For time sake, I am going to list the places we ate at and what we ordered.
Big Hoss, at Snowmass Village Mall- Mimosas- duh! I had the Breakfast croissant with bacon, avocado, and one egg over easy. The second morning, I had the yogurt parfait. My husband had the breakfast burrito, smothered both days. I can vouch for all three, amazing!
Two Rivers Cafe, Basalt- Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes, enough said! And mimosas 🙂
Hotel Jerome, Aspen- I had a cappuccino and the steel cut oatmeal. The cappuccino was amazing, it was perfectly frothed and garnished with cinnamon. The oatmeal was also delicious, it was perfectly cooked and topped with dried fruit and vanilla. My husband, Chris had a juice and pancakes. The pancakes were so fluffy and topped with citrus butter, yum!
Gwen’s (the restaurant), on Snowmass Mountain- Chris and I split a special, vegetable curry rice bowl and a half bottle of Cakebread. Side note about Gwens- they have a basket of Crocs so you can take off your boots and give your feet a break. Probably the only time Crocs are acceptable.
Elk Camp, on Snowmass Mountain at the top of the gondola- A typical mountain restaurant, lots of food, drinks, and breathtaking views. I had a grilled cheese panini and Chris had pizza. Both good but no Gwen’s. And no meal would be complete without drinks, I had Mumm Champaign.
Ajax Tavern, at the foot of Aspen Mountain- The view does not get better than this places. I had an amazing Rosé, Château de Berne and the beet salad. Chris had king crab legs, all phenomenal.
Bella Mia, a family owned Italian restaurant in El Jabel- The sage fried mozzarella is a must! For my entrée, I had the chicken, broccoli, and prosciutto fettuccine. My husband had the spaghetti and meat balls. Both were absolutely delicious, this coming from a non-pasta fan. For dessert, the Oreo sundae is a must!
Heather’s, in Basalt- I loved this place. Heather’s is know for their tapas and pot pies. I had the vegetable potpie and Chris had the chicken potpie. They were probably the best potpies, I’ve ever had.
Element 47, Aspen (in The Little Nell hotel)- After much research we went to Element 47 for my husbands birthday. We decided on the tasting menu (pictured) because we could not decide…The more the merrier. My favorite courses were the bread course (ha, but seriously), transmontanus caviar, and the veal ribeye.
Après Ski (aka the reason I ski):
New Belgium Ranger Station, Snowmass Village- Pretzel rolls! Pretzel rolls! Pretzel rolls! You get to choose 3 dipping sauces. I chose the Colorado Local Mady’s Beer Mustard, the Fat Tire Fondue Cheese Sauce, and the Honey Cinnamon Sugar Glaze.
Venga Venga, Snowmass Village- Margs and guacamole made table side.
Base Camp, foot of Snowmass Mountain- Truffle parmesan tots paired with prosecco!
Marble Distillery, Carbondale- So much more than Aprés. This distillery/lounge doubles as an Inn and offers the most amazing drinks. I had a version of a Moscow Mule and now I don’t know how I will ever be able to drink a regular Moscow Mule…It was so good that I had to buy a Marble tank. Also, a must try is their Gingercello. Not headed to Aspen anytime soon? Sopris Liquor & Wine ships Marble products to most states.
The last night of our trip we stayed at the St. Regis. It was nice to take a day off skiing to explore and do some shopping in downtown Aspen. We started off the day shopping, there are so many great boutiques. I found these Joie booties at Tlins Shoes. After some shopping and lunch at Ajax Tavern, we headed to the Remède Spa at the St. Regis. In the spa area they offer an oxygen bar, which was amazing and probably much needed. I also had a 90 minute massage, it was probably the best massage I have ever had. A paraffin foot wax and keratin hair treatment is included in the 90 minute massage which I absolutely loved.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my trip. Have you been to Aspen? What are your favorite things Aspen has to offer?