Category Archives: Aspen Travel Articles

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Aspen Mountain

Aspen Mountain or as know locally as Ajax, its former name is a ski area located in Colorado, just outside and above the city of Aspen. It is situated on the north flank of Aspen Mountain and the higher Bell Mountain at an elevation of 11,212 ft just to the south of Aspen Mountain. It was founded in 1946 as the first ski area venture of the Aspen Skiing Company founded by Walter Paepcke, and today it is one of four adjacent ski areas operated by the company as part of the Aspen Snowmass complex. At only 673 acres, it is somewhat small compared to other ski areas, especially compared to the much larger nearby Snowmass ski area, and retains a unique cultural flavor that harkens to the earlier days of recreational skiing in the state. The ski area is located within the White River National Forest and is operated under permit from the U.S. Forest Service. It has three restaurants on the mountain. Two are on top one of which is a club that only allows members and one mid-mountain.

Aspen Taste Festival

Winter time isn’t the only time to visit Aspen. There is a great deal going on each summer, and one of the highlights each June is the Taste Festival. This is also called the Food & Wine Magazine Classic, and people from all over the world arrive in droves for this three day event.

Cookbook authors, wine experts, restaurateurs, and famous chefs can all be found here. Wolfgang Puck, Jacques Pepin, and Andrea Immer have all attended the Taste Fest in Aspen – because if food is your life, this is the place to be! Each year, there are over eighty cooking and food demonstrations, and visitors can get a taste of it all.

There are many seminars and wine tasting sessions held throughout Aspen during these three days as well. If you want to attend this incredible mouth watering event, make your reservations months in advance – or you will miss out! If you don’t make your reservations early, try to find a hotel with space available in a nearby town, and drive back and forth to the event – check the local camp grounds as well. Just make sure you don’t miss this event!

Country & Western in Aspen

Believe it or not, there is only one place in Aspen where you can scoot a boot across the dance floor to the sounds of George Strait, and other Country & Western favorites – Shooter’s Salon. Shooter’s Salon is located on South Galena Street, and they are open from 6:30pm to 2am every day, and again, this club has the distinction of being the only Country & Western club in the whole town of Aspen, Colorado.

Here, cowboy hats, creased jeans, and boots are the expected attire. During the week, the music is provided by a DJ, and on weekends live bands provide the tunes. If you don’t know how to do the Texas Two-Step, you can learn how on any Thursday night which is when Shooter’s offers free Country dance lessons. Good beer, good music, great dancing, friendly games of pool or darts – Shooter’s is a place where all cowboy’s and cowgirl’s will feel right at home. If you want to let your hair down, without having to worry about breaking any of the rules set by ‘polite society’ in the other fine establishments located in Aspen, Shooter’s is the place to do it!

Aspen Dance Fest

If you have the opportunity to visit Aspen during July and August, you absolutely must use the opportunity to see many of the performances that are part of the Aspen Dance Fest. The Aspen Dance Fest features critically acclaimed
contemporary dance companies from around the United States.The Aspen Dance fest runs for five consecutive weeks each summer. The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company hosts and performs in the Aspen Dance Fest. The company is made up of eleven dancers who were all classically trained. The school was founded in 1995 by Bebe Schweppe. The company’s debut was in 1996 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

All performances for The Aspen Dance Fest are held at the Aspen District Theatre, which is located inside the Aspen Elementary School on Maroon Creek Road. For a wonderful evening of entertainment and culture, be sure to catch at
least one performance during the Aspen Dance Fest – even if you have to make a special summer trip to Aspen to do it. You may also catch performances by the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Company closer to home when they go on tour
each year.

Music in the Mountains

There is always something of interest going on
in Aspen, and September is no different. During
the month of September, every year, JAS
comes to Snowmass. JAS, or Jazz Aspen
Snowmass, began in 1991 to honor the art of
Jazz in the Roaring Fork Valley. It has now
become a music attraction that lasts all
summer long, with the biggest celebration
coinciding with Labor Day weekend.

While this is a Jazz celebration, for all intents
and purposes, all types of music are
celebrated, including reggae and rock-n-roll.
Famous musicians and singers from around
the world attend the four day Music in the
Mountains celebration.

All events take place in the breathtaking
Snowmass Town Park, located on Brush
Creek Road in Snowmass. Snowmass
Village is one of the most beautiful places in
the United States, and this festival is extremely
popular. It is vital that you purchase your tickets
well in advance, and arrange lodging well in
advance also. Snowmass advises that if you
do not have a ticket, to not show up for the
festival – it will be sold out.

Aspen’s Harris Concert Hall

There is always something going on in Aspen, Colorado and the Aspen nightlife is very active. You can find a wide variety of things to do – but if you want a little culture, you should definitely find out what events are planned at the Harris Concert Hall.

At the Harris Concert Hall, you will find everything from Piano Recitals to Rock-n-Roll Concerts. Events are planned well in advance, so you should be able to find out what concerts and events are scheduled to coincide with your Aspen vacation.

The Harris Concert Hall is located in the West end of Aspen, in a quaint residential neighborhood. Due to parking and traffic problems, you should strongly consider walking to the concert hall. It is a short ten minute walk from the downtown area. Other transportation options include biking or taking the bus. When there are events at the concert,
it is very difficult to find parking.

The Aspen Music Festival and School were founded in 1949 by Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke from Chicago. Many music professionals train here and all of the school and festival performances take place in the Harris Concert Hall, which seats over 2000 people.

You should definitely try to visit Aspen during the Music Festival. This takes place over a nine week period in the summer, and there are usually more than 200 planned events. People from all over the world come to the Aspen
Music Festival, so be sure that you make your plans and reservations early!

Another exciting event that takes place at the Harris Concert Hall is the Aspen Film Festival. This festival takes place three times each year. The Aspen Shortsfest is held in the Spring. The Aspen Filmfest is held during the Fall, and the
Aspen Academy Screenings are held during the Winter. Again, people come from all over the world for these events, so make your plans early.

The Harris Concert Hall is full of history, even though the newest section of it wasn’t built until recently. This is a major part of Aspen’s history and culture, and you should try to attend at least one event at the Harris Concert Hall
while you are in Aspen. Most events take place in the evening; however there are also events that take place during the day. You can check with your lodge or hotel to find out what events are planned at the Concert Hall each day. Also inquire about the need to purchase advance tickets for specific events.

Getting Around Aspen At Night

After a day on the slopes, you may be wondering what there is to do for the rest of the evening. Well, don’t use up all of your energy, and leave the slopes early enough to get in a short nap – you will need all of the energy you can muster for the Aspen nightlife. No matter how much skiing you get in or how many of the runs you have mastered, you have not truly experienced Aspen until you venture out after dark!

Aspen has three basic areas: downtown, the West end, and the East end. The town is remarkably small, considering how many people venture here each season – but surprisingly, everyone and everything just fits.
The town is actually small enough to leave your car parked at your lodge or hotel and walk anywhere that you want to go. In fact, this is recommended.

Not everyone pays heed to this advice, which can make driving around and parking very difficult. You can also take a free shuttle from one mountain to another, take the Roaring Fork Transit Authority Bus, or go to the Rubey Park
Transportation Center to get a ride anywhere in the valley.

Don’t worry about getting lost. The town is well laid out. Starting on the West end, you will find a quiet Victorian neighborhood. While this is a residential district, where locals live, you will also find many hotels and condos on the West end, particularly on Main Street. You will also find the Aspen Meadows Conference Center and Hotel. This is a 40-acre area where you will also find the Aspen Institute, the Music Tent, the Harris Concert Hall, the Paepcke Auditorium, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the Hallam Lake Nature Preserve, and the Aspen Center for Physics.

In the East end of Aspen you will find another residential area, as well as the Roaring Fork River and the Aspen Club and Spa. The East end features more forests than the West end, which has been developed a great deal more.  Between the West End and the East End, you will find downtown Aspen. Downtown is where most of the action is. Featuring old Victorian buildings, downtown Aspen boasts pubs, restaurants, shops, and everything else you could ever possibly need – all housed in beautiful historical landmark buildings. Down the valley a ways, you will find Snowmass Village. To the west, you will also find Roaring Fork Valley. These two villages are compliments of Aspen, and you should take the time to visit them as well.

Aspen Theatre in the Park

Founded in 1983 by Kent Reed, Theatre in the Park
has become an Aspen tradition that adds to the
delight of Aspen nightlife. Theatre in the Park once
actually was theatre that was performed in a tent in
the park. Now, however, Theatre in the Park has
changed its name to Theatre Aspen, and a new
permanent structure is in development. This will
allow Theatre in the Park to hold year-round
performances, instead of summer-only performances.

Contemporary and classical plays are all presented
by the theatre. If you are in Aspen around Christmas
time, make sure that you see the theatre’s
presentation of “Its A Wonderful Life.” As a summer-
only venue, sixty shows are performed each year.
Once the company has its permanent structure, we
can expect many more each year.

The Theatre Aspen also has many training programs
for adults and children. Currently, performances are
held between June and August. The Theatre in the
Park is located in the Rio Grande Park. Heat is
provided on chilly nights, and there is an area to enjoy
cocktails during intermissions, as well as before and
after performances.