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Aspen Mountain

That Aspen Mountain ranks so high in dining and après (no. 2 in both) will come as no surprise to any skier who’s visited this picturesque mining town deep in the Elk Mountains. The 65-year-old ski area looms over a town that prides itself on offering urban-quality restaurants and bars (with prices to match) steps from Gondola Plaza. But here’s the story the rankings don’t tell: This mountain offers a huge variety of terrain in a compact package. Its 673 skiable acres are misleading. What counts here is vertical, and when it tops 3,500 feet accessed via a high-speed gondola that rarely draws a line, it’s more than most visitors’ quads can handle. Intermediates entertain themselves on fall-line groomers, but it’s the experts who fully capitalize on Aspen Mountain’s offerings. —T.W.

Don’t Miss » Aspen Mountain is sprinkled with shrines to everyone from late locals to legendary musicians. Create a tour on skis at aspensnowmassshrines.com.

Après Spot » The Sky Hotel has après locked down, but if the pool scene is too rowdy, head to BB’s Kitchen, a newish joint with a second-floor patio prime for catching late-day sun.

On-Hill Lunch » The white-bean chili and homemade apple strudel (with real whipped cream) lure locals and tourists alike to the cozy cabin interior and two-tiered deck at Bonnie’s.

Go Eat: Grind, Glenwood Springs

Grass-fed beef and locally sourced ingredients? Vacation dining goes healthy (well, healthier).

When Chris Heinz and Mike Mercatoris opened Grind in 2011, their mission was simple: “We wanted to get a little healthier and be a little more sustainable in a way that was still accessible,” says Heinz, a South Dakota native. At their restaurant (named for in-house meat grinding, not for filing edges or riding rails), Heinz brings a chef’s eye to the kitchen and an appreciation of quality to the table.

Fourth of July in the Mountains

Fourth of July in the Mountains
Squaw Valley's Fireworks Extravaganza
Photo by Court Leve
From Tahoe to Stowe, resorts celebrate with a bang.

There's no doubt that ski resorts host some of the best holiday celebrations. Christmas, New years, and St. Patrick's Day memories tend to trace back to the mountains. But the fun doesn’t melt away with the snow. In fact, the Fourth of July is one of the best holidays to celebrate among the purple mountains’ majesty. As we salute America's independence, let's recognize there's no better place to celebrate our freedom than the mountains we love to explore. Check out these resorts that host more than a pancake breakfast and parade to help make the season bright.

 

ASPEN/ SNOWMASS

ASPEN/ SNOWMASS
Beautiful Aspen in the summer.

Understandably, Aspen is canceling their firework show due to fire bans. Rumors of replacing the fireworks with a light show and street dancing are surfacing, but we haven’t received confirmation yet. Don’t let the speculation deter you from the confirmed fun filled schedule. 

Aspen will get the ball rolling with the Boogies Diner Buddy 5-Mile Charity Run/Walk Race. Kids and canines are welcome.

  The 12th Annual America's Birthday Carnival offers a barbecue, bake sale, silent auction and bicycle painting for kids who wish to ride in the town’s parade. 

Aspen Invests Big in Colo. Alternative Energy Plant

Aspen Invests Big in Colo. Alternative Energy Plant
Aspen Methane Mine
Methane emissions could power four resorts.

Aspen Skiing Company (ASC) is footing 90 per cent of the bill to construct a power plant that will turn methane emissions into electricity from Elk Creek Coal Mine in Somerest, Colo.  Once constructed, the plant will produce 25 million kW of electricity per year, about the same amount needed to power ASC’s four resorts.

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