Nov 06, 2008
Just 25 miles north of the historic mining town of Durango, Colorado.
Unlike many resorts in the area, enjoy free parking and a shuttle to the base of the hill. Get there early for first tracks—the bus runs starting at 6:30 a.m.
The experience is more heli-skiing than resort skiing, but instead of dropping $800, you ride an old double chairlift all day for $99.
Just mention the word "Aspen" and you'll conjure up images of glamour, celebrity, and stardom. The pampered and privileged add certain panache to the scene, but people visit Aspen first and foremost because of the world-class skiing and riding.
Aspen is one of a select handful of resorts worldwide where, in spite of rapid growth, quality of life still counts. Where the energy feels like a small town - if also a gold-plated small town - and the glamour never seems to fade. Aspen Mountain is an international crossroads as well as cultural leveler: No matter what company you own, country you run or film you starred in, we'll see you on the slopes. With more challenging nooks and crannies - on-piste and off - than seems physically possible on such a diminutive mountain (673 acres), it's still a headliner, featuring no liftlines and quick access to the slopes. Improved lift capacity, smart design and ongoing fine-tuning keep the mountain relatively crowd-free. This happy occurrence is a secret closely guarded by locals, who relish heading to the mountain for two-hour lunch breaks - almost all of which is dedicated to skiing. When you're not skiing, there's world-famous Aspen, where everything is accessible by walking. It's a fast and crazy town - as beautiful as any in the world - and that factors heavily in the resort's high rankings.
Big-name music at Belly Up, one of the hottest live venues in the West
Out-of-bounds skiing off Aspen Mountain includes legendary pitches such as Midnight Mine and hike-tos like Little Annie's Basin. Ask someone in the know before you go.
Ruthie's Run, a hard-charging classic that's seen the best ski racers in history flash down its rapid plunge to Spring Pitch, Straw Pile, 5th Avenue and Lift 1A