Skiing and Colorado go hand in hand and two of the most popular places to go skiing in the state are Aspen and Telluride. They are two completely different destinations and I had the opportunity to visit them both and check out the best they have to offer.
See and Be Seen in Aspen
Ski season in Aspen is about more than the slopes. It’s about the locals, the rich and famous, and those who want to be. The latest ski fashion is as important as where you are staying in this town, which also takes on the best in food during the Food & Wine Classic
In the winter, the sun still shines in Aspen almost every day, while this snow-filled playground remains a Mecca of the cosmopolitan.
Make no mistake, though, Aspen is still very serious about their skiing. There is a reason it’s known as some of the best skiing in the world. Within the area are four distinctly different mountains – Aspen, Aspen Highlands
, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Whether you are a telemark skier or just learning the ropes, you will find trails that work for you on each. The city is also known for its ski schools so you may arrive an amateur and leave having tackled it all.
This is one town where you won’t have to look hard for luxurious places to stay. The Little Nell
, a member of the Preferred Hotel Group
, is a five-star property with award-winning dining. In addition to some of the best people-watching in town, a slopeside ski concierge is available to help you whether you are interested in heli-skiing or just heading downhill.
The St. Regis Aspen Resort
is a landmark in the middle of downtown, fitting into a corner like a mountain chateau in the Swiss Alps. This hotel, which was originally a Ritz Carlton
, has been kept up with modern renovations and amenities – including a spa recognized as one of the best in the world by Travel & Leisure.
Wherever you stay, stop by the Paradise Bakery
any time of day for a croissant or muffin. I loved their banana chocolate chip. When it comes to a special dinner, head a few miles out of the city up to Snowmass to 8K. The entrees (including Elk) are always special, but it’s the cocktails that make the meal. Fit the $75 margarita into your budget and you won’t be sorry. It’s the smoothest margarita you’ve ever tasted. Make sure you also leave room for the desserts, each of which is paired with their own cocktails.
Aspen is also well known for its nightlife. The pedestrian mall downtown is always buzzing. You’ll also find lots of live music. A favorite place to catch some great bands after a day on the runs is Belly Up.
Get Lost in Telluride
In many ways, Telluride is the exact opposite of Aspen. Instead of high end boutiques, the streets are filled with shops that have antiques. The atmosphere is relaxed and the celebrities are mingling rather than throwing (or attending) constant parties.
The gondola system allows everyone to travel around the skiing, downtown, Mountain Village and hotels
without ever stepping foot into a car. It’s a form of public transportation that’s free and also a scenic adventure.
Telluride is known for its uncrowded slopes, with runs for the beginner through the expert (the San Juan Mountains are known for their steep terrain). You’ll find 125 trails in all, spread out on 2,000 acres of snow. Don’t miss the Galloping Goose run, which is 4.6 miles long and a favorite among skiers of all abilities.
is definitely the place to stay. This boutique property has 11 rooms and 18 residences, with breathtaking views and amenities such as hot tubs on the decks. The concierge is ready to arrange your every need, from a massage in the spa to ski equipment rentals.
At the end of the day, warm your muscles in the soaking pools and sauna at Lumiere Telluride, then sample some local wine and delicious Tapas at The Little Bar
if you don’t feel like heading out for dinner.
If you do venture out, you will not find a shortage of great dining in Telluride. Just a half a block from the station downtown is Cosmopolitan, where the cocktails and food promise to be creative. You must try the macaroni and cheese and then finish your meal with the beignets for a real treat.
La Piazza del Viaggio
in Mountain Village is a perfect choice for an authentic Italian meal. Enjoy the fresh pasta while overlooking the mountains.
During the day, stop by the Caravan Middle Eastern food truck for lunch. They have the perfect option – a vegetarian platter in which you can choose the dishes. I ordered falafel, hummus, baba ghanoush and tabouleh. It was served with pita and more than enough for two.