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- Notably uncrowded slopes
- Attractive, characterful old mining town, with lots of smart shops
- Great range of restaurants
- Excellent Aspen Highlands and Snowmass just up the road
- Extensive slopes to suit every standard, but ...
- Slopes split over four separate mountains (including Snowmass), served by efficient, free buses
- Expensive, and tending to become more so as cheap places disappear
- A bit isolated from the rest of Colorado if you’re set on a ~two-centre trip
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A 2011 editorial visit confirmed that Aspen is still our favourite American resort. It has everything we look for – well, everything except convenience. Our affection depends heavily on the presence of Aspen Highlands, a little way down the valley, and on Snowmass, considerably further down the valley (covered in a separate chapter). So most days you have to ride a bus; that doesn’t worry us, and doesn’t seem to worry readers who report on the place – most people who try it are captivated, and can’t wait to go back.
Many rich and some famous guests jet in here, and for connoisseurs of cosmetic surgery the bars of the top hotels can be fascinating places. And the place does seem to be drifting even further upmarket, with ever fewer funky bars and ever more international-brand shops. But, like all other ‘glamorous’ ski resorts, Aspen is actually filled by ordinary holidaymakers. Don’t be put off.
News – last season 2011/12
At Tiehack on Buttermilk, a new fast quad replaced the existing slow lifts, cutting ride time by 60%. The gladed terrain it serves has been extended. The Merry-Go-Round restaurant at mid-mountain on Aspen Highlands reopened after a $6m makeover.
News – 2010/11
There are now free tours of Highland Bowl on Wednesdays at 11am for skiers and riders confident on double black diamond terrain.