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Off-Piste in Aspen

Off-Piste in Aspen

Travel
By Linda Hayes
posted: 08/09/2000

"Ski all day, party all night" is Aspen's credo-unless, of course, you live there. Then you know that from snowshoeing to shopping, concerts to carpaccio, this little town with a big reputation has more to offer than just skiing.

On your day off from the hill, you may be tempted to sleep in. Don't: Aspen mornings are magic. Locals in the know roll out their mats early at Lisa's 8 a.m. "Yoga Flow" class (O2 Aspen Yoga & Pilates Studio). Or you can catch the free shuttle up to the slick new Aspen Recreation Center. Highlights include a climbing tower, a lap pool and an NHL-sized ice arena (a day pass is $9).

For breakfast, make tracks to the Main Street Bakery & Café. Apple fritters and a heap of hearty corned beef hash will give you the energy you need to shop in Aspen's many boutiques. If cutting-edge couture is your style, point your Pradas to (where else?) Prada, as well as Fendi, Chanel and Christian Dior. For skiwear, Performance Ski is the place for high fashion; Hamilton Sports for high function.

Après-shopping, stop by Gusto on Main Street for lunch. Fuel up with a prosciutto e rucola pizze or a bowl of pappardelle for your next adventure-a snowshoe hike up the Hunter Creek Valley. The gentle, three-mile loop through meadows and past old homesteader cabins will prime you for a dose of pampering at The Aspen Club & Spa. The Alpine Rejuvenator (a succession of scrubs, masks, wraps and rubdowns) or a massage will work out the kinks and give you the stamina to make it through the evening.

For happy hour, the J-Bar at the historic Hotel Jerome is good for microbrews and local flavor. The Montagna Bar in The Little Nell fits the bill for people-watching and green apple martinis. Dinner is a learning experience at the Cooking School of Aspen, where top chefs fete and feed students in the school's kitchen classroom. Other singular dining experiences include the chef's table in the kitchen at Restaurant Mogador and the private tatami rooms at Kenichi. If you're still up for some action, hit the dance floor at NXT, a popular nightclub/lounge downstairs on the Hyman Mall. Wind down afterward with a couple of piano standards or jazz sets at the moody Colony Piano Bar. Late-night munchies? No problem. Grab a bag of buttered popcorn at The Popcorn Wagon for the stroll back to your hotel. Then pray for snow and hit the hay.

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