A few pointers for a stress-free season from someone who knows the ropes.
You really need to go out of your way to find problems with winters in Aspen. The snow rarely disappoints, restaurants serve global cuisine, you can shop for leather jogging pants as well as novelty T-shirts, and the nightlife offers everything from bottle service to world-class musicians. While the below technically qualify as problems, think of these more as guidelines to successfully avoid snags and snafus during your season in Aspen.
Ingemar Stenmark, one of the greatest Apine ski racers of all time, demonstrates the most efficient way to carry skis.
Cloud Nine, an on-mountain restaurant at Aspen Highlands, is one of the toughest tables to get in town. Known for an intense après-ski scene (is it technically après if you’re still on the slopes?), Cloud Nine cranks the tunes for the 2 o’clock lunch seating and ends with revelers spraying bottles of bubbly and dancing on chairs. That said, getting a reservation on the weekend or a holiday is nearly impossible without tremendous foresight. It may even be smart to schedule your vacation around reservations like some people do with cheap flights. The wrinkle in all of this glorious fun is that afterward you still have to make your way to the base—on skis. The smart thing would be to do more dancing than drinking, but don’t let me tell you how to vacation. Besides, the rooms at Aspen Valley Hospital are nice, too.
Propping skis on your shoulder is the easiest way to carry your stuff around town. Propping skis on your shoulder in the gondola line is the easiest way to conk someone in the helmet. Be aware of others to avoid ski-assault-related confrontations. Snowboards are self-explanatory. My only advice would be to fasten bindings because straps will crease and rip off if left loosely hanging.
Skiing is so popular that everyone wants to do it, which means a lot of diversity at après-ski spots. The music can oscillate from barely tolerable to loud as hell. The only way to overcome the lack-of-blues blues is to embrace it—that mom twerking did. The old guy who’s a little too aggressive on the dance floor—who you maybe definitely should avoid—did. Order another espresso martini and drop it like you’re trying to embarrass your children.
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ASPEN HISTORICAL SOCIETY ASPEN SKIING COMPANY COLLECTION