My Aspen Winter Bucket List

Over the last few years, I have become more fanatical about exercise and fitness in general. In fact, my wife thinks that I am absolutely obsessive and maybe she’s right. However, I do like relaxing, and one of my favorite pastimes is frequenting the cinema.

A few years ago (2007) I watched a very heartwarming film called ‘The Bucket List’ (produced and directed by Rob Reiner). This movie stars Jack Nicolson and Morgan Freeman, who are at the top of their game. Essentially (as the title suggests) it is a story about two terminally ill men who go on a memorable road trip to fulfil a life-long wish list. Even though the subject matter might seem a bit morose it is delicately handled and thouroughly thought provoking.

Most would refer to the term ‘Bucket List’ not literally (“kick the bucket”), but more as an aspirational wish list. For most people (especially skiers), the opportunity to visit Aspen in Winter would be a dream come true. Certainly, if you are into high octane, adrenaline-fuelled activities, this luxurious resort is about as good as it gets. To expand on this, here’s my vision of the ideal Aspen Winter Bucket List.

My Aspen Winter Bucket List

When I think of Aspen, living or vacating in a wonderful residence overlooking the mountains is the first thing to come to mind. One of my guilty pleasures is the 1994 Farrelly (Bobby and Peter) brother’s comedy flick entitled ‘Dumb and Dumber’. Midway through the film, there is a dream sequence, which takes place in a luxurious Aspen residence.

Even though this scene is Juvenile in nature, it contains a lot of elements that resonate with me. For example, the protagonist played by Jim Carrey is the life and sole of the party. In my Aspen Winter Bucket List, socialising in a lavish style would be integral to the overall experience.

As a non-skier, my ideal Aspen Winter Bucket List would involve other activities. I would make a point to ride on the Silver Queen Gondola to appreciate spectacular mountain views from 12,000 feet. Even the thought of attending high altitude (11,211 feet) yoga classes and discovering the hidden shrines of Aspen Mountain sound amazing.

Another, wish would be to see a Mountain Lion prowling in its natural habitat. As a finishing touch, enjoying après ski and the glamorous nightlife with movie stars would have to be included on the list. I can picture myself now (as I am writing this article) talking film with these iconic stars.

Aspen’s Wildlife and Animals

As a child, I vividly remember going on school trips to the zoo and being captivated by many of the exotic animals on display. Fast forward several decades, and I am now doing these activities with my 9-year-old son. On a recent family vacation, friends recommended that we visit the world famous ‘Australia Zoo’.

This tourist attraction occupies a 1,000-acre site in the hinterlands and was previously owned by the late Steve Irwin. Irwin, a zookeeper, conservationist, and TV personality was affectionately dubbed “The Crocodile Hunter”. Without a doubt, I really enjoyed the experience and it really reignited my passion for wildlife in general.

Now there are a multitude of reasons people might travel to Aspen, even if it is renowned for being a luxurious ski resort for the rich and famous. This historical mine town offers tourists a rich tapestry of diversity, and is an ideal destination to visit all year round. If you enjoy connecting with nature, then Aspen is a great place to vacation between the months of March and April. The weather is milder and nearly all the snow has melted. This offers revellers the chance to go on scenic hikes and see some amazing wildlife.

Before visiting Aspen, it is important to attain advice from the tourist information centre at Glenwood Springs. There is nothing more special about viewing wildlife in its natural habitat. However, without caution, it could also become a very dangerous affair as well. Within close proximity to Snowmass Village, there are several species roaming free. Here are some of the most popular animals that are definitely worth seeking out.

Black Bears

Black Bears are a common sight around Aspen, but need to be treated with the respect they deserve. The City of Aspen has several Bear Aware tips to avoid being placed in a precarious situation.


The Springtime is a great opportunity to view Elk roaming around the Roaring Fork Valley. The best places to sight these beautiful animals are Owl Creek Road, Sky Mountain Park, and McLain Flats Road.

Mountain Lion

I have only previously seen wildcats in Zoos or animal sanctuaries. Therefore, I would relish the opportunity to see a Mountain Lion prowling the Roaring Fork Valley. However, these creatures are elusive, so a bit of patience might be required.

Red Foxes

These Red Foxes might look cute, but it is advisable to treat them like any other wild animal. Therefore, it is best not to feed them and simply stick to getting some amazing photographs to post on Instagram.

7 Things to Pack for Your Aspen Autumn Getaway

Normally when I go on vacation, everything is left to the last moment. My philosophy is that as long as I remember my passport and driver’s license, everything will be alright. Maybe my attitude is a bit cavalier, but (so far) it hasn’t really failed me. However, it is pertinent to mention that my destination choices might factor into the equation. Most of my recent holidays have been resort style, cruises, or luxury hotels/homes within Australia.

Recently, I wrote an article for this blog entitled ‘5 Best Places to Experience Aspen’s Fall Colors’. This is my favorite time of year and as an artist, I am drawn to natures beautiful palette of rich golden tones. Certainly, there are many places to visit like Aspen Mountain Independence Pass Road, Maroon Bells, and Smugglers Mountain to appreciate the season in its entire splendor. Therefore, to maximize your stay, you probably wouldn’t want to adopt my approach because preparation is key. So, here are 7 things I would recommend to pack for an Aspen Autumn getaway.

1. Binoculars

In the Fall, there is a great opportunity to view several species in their natural habitat, like Brown Bears, Elk, Moose, Mountain Lions, and Red Foxes. Therefore, to appreciate the wildlife at a safe distance, a decent pair of binoculars is a prerequisite.

2. Camera

For most people, a trip to Aspen might be a once in a lifetime experience. Consequently, a camera (or smartphone) is an essential accessory to capture all those magic moments.

3. Gloves

Even though Aspen weather in Autumn is generally pretty mild, there is always a chance of snow. Purchasing a quality pair of thermal gloves before you travel definitely makes good sense.

4. Hiking Boots

If you are anything like me, you would likely be hitting the nature trails every day for an energetic walk after a large breakfast. That is why it is best to be prepared and purchase a decent pair of hiking boots before you travel.

5. Lightweight Jacket

Due to the high altitude of Aspen, the weather (even in Autumn) could be pretty crisp. My advice would be to invest in a decent down-filled and lightweight, rainproof jacket.

6. Mountain Bike

This one is optional and probably only applicable to residents of the United States. However, if you are passionate about mountain biking it would be a savvy choice to bring your own and avoid the whole rental process completely.

7. Sunglasses

During Autumn, the weather could vary massively in Aspen, and some days it could reach sunny temperatures of 70 degrees. Therefore, investing in a decent pair of sunglasses to avoid those damaging UV rays would be a wise choice.

5 Best Places to Experience Aspen’s Fall Colors

From the amazing weather to the beautiful copper tones, I absolutely love Autumn for a variety of reasons and would go so far to say that it’s my favorite season. That is why I strongly recommend that you visit Aspen this Fall. So for all you nature lovers, and those seeking breathtaking autumnal vistas, here are the 5 best places to experience Aspen’s Fall colors.

Aspen Mountain

Just before winter approaches, visitors have the opportunity to see Aspen Mountain without its jacket of snow. In Fall, after a challenging journey to the summit, hikers can appreciate all the autumnal foliage in its true glory.

Maroon Bells Scenic Area

Previously I have written many articles about (or at least mentioning) Aspen’s iconic Maroon Bells. These two peaks in the Elk Mountains are worth visiting any time of the year. However during the Fall, gold, orange, and copper tones really give this area a whole different dynamic.

Smuggler Mountain

In my article entitled Your Guide to Aspen Mountain Biking, Smuggler Mountain was featured heavily because of its diverse range of trails. Certainly, if this activity is on the agenda then there is no better time (in my opinion) to visit than Fall. At this time of year, you can enjoy a leisurely ride whilst taking in the golden autumnal hues of the surrounding landscape.

Independence Pass Road

I have always loved driving, so the chance to travel on Independence Pass Road would be too good an opportunity to pass. The road is carved out of Aspen’s mountains and is an absolute must for tourists, especially during the Fall. At this time of year, you get the opportunity to appreciate some truly beautiful golden foliage.  

Castle Creek Road

One of the many reasons people travel to Aspen in Colorado is because it is steeped in history. Castle Creek Road is a perfect example and is a favorite among riders. On route, there is the opportunity to visit Ashcroft Ghost Town, where this attraction is even more dramatic with the tonal brown Autumnal foliage as a backdrop.

Your Guide to Aspen Mountain Biking

Over the last few years, electronically assisted bicycles have become increasingly popular with consumers and many brands have capitalised on the trend. Even supercar giant, Bugatti got in on the action (in collaboration with designers Manuel Ostner and Claus Fischer) and produced a $40,000 lightweight carbon fibre e-bike.

Many global cities now have congestion charges so these bikes are a clever solution to achieve a greener society. However, many people I know also enjoy cycling as a recreational activity. Mountain biking is big where I reside  in South Australia because there are many challenging trails on offer. This is also why many adrenaline junkies visit Aspen, Colorado in the warmer seasons. So, for all of you into mountain biking, here is my guide to some of the most popular trails in this scenic resort.

Power of Four Course

The Power of Four Course is probably the most challenging mountain biking trail in Aspen. In fact, it so gruelling that only the super-fit would even attempt it. The route encompasses all the of the Snowmass resorts and is 25-miles long. This year on August 17th, Audi will host a sponsored race for elite riders with a prize of $2,500.

Rio Grande Trail

If you fancy a really energetic experience to burn off the calories of all the delicious gourmet food consumed in Aspen, then I would highly recommend the Rio Grande Trail (from March to October). Starting at Glenwood Springs, the 42.4-mile road track takes in some breathtaking scenery and is suitable for all skill levels.

Snowmass Bike Park

If the thought of attempting the Power of Four Course reduces you to tears, then Snowmass Bike Park might be a tamer option. The track is 3-miles long and has several jumps to attempt. For the advanced, there’s Valhalla, but there’s also Viking for intermediates and Verde for beginners.

Smuggler Mountain

Smuggler Mountain (also known as Aspen’s Backyard) is a historic mining area in Aspen. This region is a favorite with mountain bike riders because of the variety of scenic trails it offers. Another bonus is that there are tracks to suit every skill level and fitness.

A Non-Skier’s Guide to Winter in Aspen

During the Winter months, Aspen becomes a ski hotspot, and gets flooded with tourists from around the world. However, if you are not passionate about skiing and want to pursue other endeavors, this city has a wealth options. Here is my non-skier’s guide to Winter in Aspen.

Arts & culture

As an artist and designer, I always love to visit local galleries or museums. That is why a day perusing around Aspen Art Museum is an absolute must. This incredible 30,000-square-foot building was designed by Pritzker-prize winning Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban. As well as exhibitions from local talent, the museum attracts some the biggest names from around the world.

Non-Skiing Snow Activities

With the temperature plummeting to 0° Fahrenheit during the Winter months, there is no escaping the snow in Aspen. However, don’t despair as there are many other activities to do apart from skiing. For example, you can hire a fat bike, go ice climbing, snowmobiling, or even take up fly fishing.

Glenwood Hot Springs Pool

For me, there is nothing more idyllic than the thought of relaxing a hot pool full of energizing minerals. Glenwood Hot Springs has the largest pool in the world, with a constant temperature of 90° to 93°Fahrenheit all year round. The Ute Indians call it the “Yampah,” which translates to “Big Medicine.”

Aspen History & Heritage

When visiting a city, it is always great to discover the history and heritage of the place. Aspen prospered as a result of the Colorado Silver Boom, and today is home to some extraordinary buildings. There are guided tours that visit gems like Hotel Jerome, Wheeler Opera House, Wheeler/Stallard Museum, and the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum.

Why Aspen Is the Perfect Ski Destination

A few years ago, I was invited to visit a watch manufacturer in Switzerland to coincide with my visit to Baselworld. At the time, I had just designed my first prototype timepiece and was interested in developing a production piece. Even though the journey from Basel to the company’s historical workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds was relatively short, the temperature absolutely plummeted.

Essentially, that is because La Chaux-de-Fonds (canton of Neuchâtel) is situated 1,000 metres above sea level in the Jura Mountains. Therefore, as well as being associated with horology, it is a highly exclusive destination for skiers. The same comparison can be made about Aspen, Colorado.

Even though Aspen has a glamorous reputation for celebrities and premium real estate, it also has a very interesting past. From humble beginnings, the ‘Colorado Silver Boom’ mine town prospered during the late 19th Century. This town acquired its name because of the abundance of Aspen tree’s growth in the region.

In 1893, this municipality already had banks, a hospital, a police department, two theatres, an opera house, and even electric lights. Within a few years, the demand for silver diminished rapidly, and the population declined to around 1,000 residents. However, in the late 1940s, Aspen had a renaissance period when industrialist, Walter Paepcke established Aspen Skiing Corporation.

Walter Paepcke saw massive potential in Aspen due to the surrounding mountains and abundance of snow. Nowadays, Aspen is a huge resort comprised of four main skiing areas (Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, and Snowmass). They can all be accessed with one ticket and are interconnected by a regular shuttle. This flexibility makes the town a very enticing prospect, as the terrain and slopes are incredibly diverse. For that reason, they are suitable for all different ages and skill levels.

What really makes Aspen an ideal ski destination is the scale of the place and variety of cultural interests. All of the resorts are in close proximity to downtown Aspen. Therefore, after a hard day on the slopes, you can enjoy some fantastic gourmet food, drinks, and shopping whilst catching a glimpse of visiting celebrities.

The scenery is also breathtaking, with Instagram favorites like ‘Maroon Bells’ just waiting to be photographed. If that is not enough, the city also lays claim to the Silver Queen Gondola, which holds the title of being the longest single-stage gondola in the entire world.

Everything You Need to Know About The Climate in Aspen

Two years ago, I became an Australian citizen, which was one of the proudest moments of my life. Even though England will always have a special place in my heart, there is no compelling reason to reside there. One of the main reasons is the weather and eternally dark Winter months. Most of the time, I dreamed of warmer climates and a more active outdoor existence.

When traveling, it is important to be prepared for what to expect weather-wise. For example, If you are visiting South Australia in Summer, it’s unlikely that you will need a jacket; whereas in Queensland (where it rains a lot), you more than likely will. The same would apply when visiting the British Isles, where you can normally expect to experience four seasons in a day.

Obviously, the local Bureau of Meteorology is prone to get it wrong sometimes; however using this resource as a referencing point can pay dividends for your holiday.

Most people travelling to Aspen will go for skiing activities, and general Winter fun. In a previous article, I mentioned that warm layers, thermal jackets, decent gloves, and specialist ski socks are really essential for this type of holiday.

During Winter, temperatures can plummet to a ridiculously icy 0° Fahrenheit, which means meticulous preparation is a prerequisite. Aspen is located in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, and is 7945 Feet above sea level. Therefore, residents can typically expect about 300 inches of snowfall in the colder Winter months

Due to Aspen’s high altitude, the weather is pretty moderate all year round. Between June and September, the temperatures hit the mid 70’s, which is very pleasant. However, the rest of the year (with the exclusion of Winter) is relatively low (between 45 and 63 Fahrenheit), so packing a good jacket or raincoat is highly recommended. There is also a good chance of rain, so investing in a decent umbrella would be a shrewd decision.

aspen hiking

The Best Hikes in Aspen

When I was in my mid-twenties (and living in the United Kingdom), the notion of doing a hike as recreational activity was inconceivable. At this stage of life, I enjoyed a sedentary pace, and preferred to frequent trendy bars. Add into the mix bad weather (normally associated with Northern England), and the temptation was easy to resist.

However, as I became older and more health conscious, these type of pursuits became more attractive. In fact, walking has become an integral part of my routine, and it is an essential part of my holidays. Therefore, I absolutely love visiting  Aspen during the summer months.

As I have broadly detailed in various other articles about Aspen, the region is an exciting place to visit during any time of the year. Obviously, most people associate the town for its world-class skiing resorts and glamourous après ski. However, this picturesque town situated at high altitude in the Colorado Rocky Mountains has many other energetic activities including a number of phenomenal hikes. To illustrate this point here are some of the best hikes in Aspen.

Smuggler Mountain Trail

Smuggler Mountain Trail is more of a dirt road than a mountain trail. However, the three-mile walk is definitely worth the effort because of the splendid views of downtown Aspen that can be seen from the summit.  It also happens to be very conveniently located if time is at a premium.

Ute Trail

If you desire a strenuous walk or run after a large breakfast or lunch, then Ute Trail is highly recommended. Even though the track is only three miles long, it is pretty steep and there is also the chance of falling rocks. On the plus side, it is pet-friendly so your canine companion can join you for the excursion.

East Snowmass Trail

During the summer months, once the snow has completed melted, you might seek out a challenging hike in Snowmass Village. East Snowmass trail is 8.5 miles long and is rated as difficult. As well as hiking, the trail is also suitable for horseback riders and happens to be dog-friendly. My advice is to take your camera so that you can take some pictures of the iconic ‘Maroon Bells’.

Capitol Creek Trail

If the weather is nice and you have time to spare, then Capital Creek Trail is definitely worth the commitment. In order to access the trailhead, a decent 4-wheel car is a necessity, as the last mile is literally just a dirt road. Once you arrive, you have the option of either the Capitol Creek Loop, or the longer Capitol Lake Trail.

Visiting Aspen and the White River National Forest

Every morning, I go for a 4-mile lake walk, which really helps me relax and reflect on life in general. There is something very special about bonding with nature. That is why spending a holiday in Aspen, Colorado is really appealing to me.

For a city with a relatively small population, it has a broad range of activities that will cater to everyone’s tastes. Obviously, if you are a skiing fanatic, there are plenty of world-class slopes to suit all different skill levels. There are also some amazing bars and restaurants to kick back, relax, and converse with friends or people watch. Another major attraction that is highly recommended is is the White River National Forest.

For most people, the city of Aspen is synonymous for high octane skiing and glamorous nightlife activities. That is why the White River National Forest is so popular with visiting tourists. Within the forest, there are twelve primary skiing areas, including Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Beaver Creek, Buttermilk, Snowmass, and many, many more. Ultimately that is why this region is an exceptionally attractive Winter destination for people of all ages.

The White River National Forest has a geographic mass of 2,285,970 acres, and it is the most frequented national forest in the entire United States. For nature lovers, this is an absolute dream because you can expect to see bears, bobcats, deer, elk, lions, and numerous other wildlife species reveling in their natural habitat.

DUring the Autumn, Spring and Summer months, this picturesque region becomes ideal for activities like hiking, picnicking, and stargazing. There is also the iconic Maroon Bells to admire and explore, photographing the remarkable region to your heart’s content.

Your Guide to Airline Access and Transportation in Aspen

When traveling to your chosen destination, it crucial that you plan ahead. For example, if you are planning a Winter skiing trip to Aspen, it is important to regularly check weather reports. Due to the high altitude of this magnificent Rocky Mountain resort, sometimes access can be restricted. Unless you are a multi-millionaire that has the funds to charter a private helicopter or jet, it may be useful to familiarize yourself with the transportation options. So, here is a guide to airline access and general ground transportation in Aspen, Colorado.


In Aspen, there is one small airport called Aspen-Pitkin County Airport. Therefore, even getting direct domestic flights can be a bit challenging, never mind travelling from places like Australia. Other things to factor in are extreme weather conditions that could result in closures. Therefore, another option would be to hire a car and drive the four-hour journey to Aspen from Denver International Airport.

Shuttle Bus

Another option from Denver International Airport is to take the shuttle bus to Aspen. Colorado Mountain Express (a division of Epic Mountain Express) runs a scenic bus service to many of the main resorts like Snowmass and Glenwood hotels. Once you arrive in Aspen, there is a free shuttle that will get you comfortably around the city.


During the Summer months, the temperature in Aspen is really pleasant. Therefore, I would recommend renting a bicycle to appreciate the city in its entire picturesque splendour. For the more energetic, there is the option of riding the Rio Grande Trail, a 44-mile track between Aspen & Glenwood Springs.


Over the last few years, I have become very passionate about walking, and in general, the numerous health benefits that accompany it. Aspen is a relatively small city with a central area (Downtown) spanning only 6-blocks. Therefore, you can amble around at a leisurely pace in less than 30-minutes.

Buttermilk Mountain and the X-Games

Every day, I walk approximately four miles around my local lake with a good friend of mine. It’s a wonderful male bonding exercise as we discuss a broad range of topics. One of these topics is the recent surge of late forty/mid-fifty-year-olds that are obsessed with exercise. Certainly, mid-morning in the gym has become popular with this age group (as I can testify from personal experience).

However, this same demographic is now involved in extreme activities like iron men competitions, marathons, and triathlons. In fact, several of my former school friends (who previously had sedentary existences) now adhere to this type of highly active lifestyle. That is why a contest like the X-Games would almost certainly appeal to them.

Generally, this an era where people want faster cars, superfoods, supersized homes, and thrill-seeking experiences. The X-Games was founded in 1995, and it is specifically designed for athletes who are obsessed with extreme sports. This event is hosted by the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network (ESPN) and was first held in Providence and Newport, Rhode Island.

Originally it took place during the Summer months, and the contestants compete for awards (gold, silver, bronze) and prize money. However, due to the popularity of the competition, it was also rolled out into the Winter months, showcasing a variety of cold weather extreme sports.

For the first few years, the Winter X-Games was held in places like Big Bear Lake, California; Mount Snow, Vermont; and the Crested Butte Mountain Resort in Colorado. However, since 2002, this extreme sports event has taken place at Buttermilk Ski Area in Aspen. This mountain is considered the easiest of the four resorts, and it is exceptionally family friendly. At the base, there is The Hideout, which is an integrated recreational and educational facility for children between the ages of 2 ½ to 6 years old.   

This year, from January 24th through the 27th, the X-Games returned to Aspen and was a resounding success. Essentially, 200 of the world’s most elite athletes participated in various skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobile events. This is the 18th consecutive year that the contest has been held at Buttermilk, which is virtually the perfect setting for the event.

In addition to all the extreme winter sports, there was also ample live music performances from artists like Lil Wayne, Louis The Child, Chainsmokers, Kygo, and many more – along with other associated and interactive festival activities.  

The Best River Rafting and Kayaking in Aspen

As I have mentioned in many previous articles, Aspen is a great year-round vacatiojn destination. Obviously, ski lovers will be solely devoted to this area in Winter. However, if you are like me, you might want to travel in the warmer months, and in particular Summer.

At this time of year, you can expect temperatures in excess of 70° Fahrenheit, so water activities will likely be a viable and refreshing option. Here are some of the best river rafting and kayaking experiences available from licensed operators in Aspen.

Aspen Whitewater Rafting

Aspen Whitewater Rafting (or AWR for short) offers a comprehensive amount of Whitewater rafting trips. Over the last 25 years, their highly experienced guides have organized safe trips to Aspen, Snowmass, and Arkansas River Valley. Therefore, you can enjoy mild trips, more adventurous excursions, or really wild adventures.

Blazing Adventures

Even though Blazing Adventures offers a lot of different experiences (as the name suggests) they are renowned for their whitewater rafting and kayaking trips. Like AWR, they pride themselves on safety, and that is why all their guides are highly experienced. On offer are high octane activities on the Roaring Fork River, Arkansas River, and Colorado River.

Elk Mountain Expeditions (EME)

In the grand scheme of things, Elk Mountain Expeditions (EME) is a relatively new company, only opening its doors in 2012. However, over the last seven years, they have tried to deliver a more personalized service experience than their more established competitors. Essentially, this means smaller group trips (that book up quickly) to North Star Nature Preserve (mild), Upper Roaring Fork (moderate), and Slaughterhouse Falls (adventurous).

Catch a Ride on the Silver Queen Gondola up Aspen Mountain

Over the last few months, I have become absolutely captivated by Aspen. Most people only associate this amazing city with skiing and celebrity lifestyle. Sure all of this is true, and it is one of the most glamorous locations in the world.

Real estate in this region is phenomenally expensive, and many of the residences are architect designed. However, this former ‘Colorado Silver Boom’ mining camp is steeped in history, and its origins are absolutely fascinating. Therefore, you don’t necessarily have to be earning big bucks to vacation here.

As I have mentioned in several other articles, Aspen is an enjoyable place to vacation in all seasons. However, to most people, the first words that normally come to mind are skiing, luxury, glamour, and celebrity. If you are visiting during Winter, you will likely be enjoying snow type activities like skiing, snowboarding, and ice climbing. Therefore, you probably will be riding on the Silver Queen Gondola pretty frequently.

Up until the 1940s, Aspen was mainly associated with the ‘Colorado Silver Boom’ of the late 19th century. This all changed when successful Chicago industrialist, Walter Paepcke established the Aspen Skiing Company (as well as many other cultural institutions).

Over the next couple of decades three major ski resort areas opened (Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass), and a completely new era began. Subsequently, the company commemorated its 40th anniversary in 1987, by opening the Silver Queen Gondola. Most impressively, this is the longest single-stage gondola in the entire world.

If you are visiting Aspen during Winter, the Silver Queen Gondola will transport you to the top of Aspen Mountain and give you access to 75 trails. However, if skiing isn’t your thing, then a great option is purchasing a foot pass for $36 (which includes a $10 lunch voucher).

This sounds like an idyllic treat during Summer because you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views from an elevated height of 11,212 feet. At the summit, there is the fantastic Sundeck Restaurant, the world’s highest official disc golf course (Summertime), and a gateway to miles of bicycle/hiking tracks. As an added bonus, animal lover’s can even take their beloved Pets on Gondola cars that are marked with a paw print.

Hiking and Biking: Your Guide to Aspen’s Trails

Since I moved to Australia seven years ago, I have really embraced the outdoor lifestyle, and walking in particular. When booking a family holiday, I like to ensure that there are plenty of hiking or biking trails. That is why Aspen really appeals to me because it’s situated high in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Even though this vibrant city has an abundance of cultural highlights, it really does cater to a more active type of clientele.

During the summer months, temperatures in Aspen are very pleasant. Even on the hottest days (the mid-seventies) the city isn’t too oppressive. Essentially that means that outdoor activities are a very attractive proposition indeed.

If you love hiking, the Snowmass region has a variety of different trails like Cathedral Lake, Buckskin Pass, and Smugglers Mountain. Whether you enjoy a casual stroll or more energetic hill climb, this region has it all. As an added bonus (mid-July through mid-August) you can appreciate the splendor of wildflowers in bloom.

Another great option when visiting Aspen is to rent a bike because this city has some of the best mountain tracks in the world. In fact, for enthusiasts, there are over 70-miles of scenic trails for the cyclist to enjoy. Highlights include Power of Four-course, Smuggler to Sunnyside loop, and Sky Mountain Park – just to name a few.

Additionally, don’t forget that you can participate in ‘Tuesday Cruiseday,’ which is hosted by the Aspen Brewery. This event lets you take in many picturesque locations, whilst quaffing some amazing craft beers.

A Look at Aspen’s Different Seasons

Having four seasons is really important to many people because it is what they are used to – it makes them feel comfortable. As I have discovered, Aspen has a thriving tourist industry that isn’t restricted to just the Winter months. In fact, this city offers a broad range of activities all year round. Here is a closer look at Aspen’s different seasons.


Winter is probably the season Aspen is most renowned for because at this time there is an abundance of snow. Enthusiastic skiers from around the globe visit this amazing ‘Rocky Mountain’ town. There are also many other activities like snowboarding, snowmobiling and ice climbing, in addition to a vibrant nightlife.


During Springtime, there’s still a sufficient amount of snow left over from March. Therefore, there is still potential to ski, even in a Tee-shirt if you so desire. However, if you are interested in other pursuits, there are activities like mountain biking and hiking. Additionally, the weather is gradually getting warmer and so strolling around the city is also an option.


Due to Aspen’s high altitude, the Summer months always maintain a pleasant temperature. Therefore, endeavors like Whitewater rafting and Kayaking are a great option. There is also ‘Cruiseday Tuesday’ where you can sip a cold craft beer whilst exploring the city by bike. Another recommendation would be to riding the Silver Queen Gondola up Aspen Mountain and enjoy a picnic at the summit.

Autumn (Fall)

For a lot of people, Autumn (also known as Fall) is the favorite time of year because of the palette of magical rustic tones. At this time of year, Aspen has a fantastic Saturday market, where you can purchase many handcrafted goods. Other highlights include a trip to ‘Maroon Bells’, relaxing at Glenwood Springs hot pool, and watching a few films at Aspen Filmfest.

15 Fun Facts About Aspen

Over the last few months, I have written a number of articles about Aspen, and am now absolutely captivated by this city. Prior to ever visiting, I had a preconception about this luxurious ski resort city. However, this amazing place has a rich history dating back to the Colorado Silver Rush in the late nineteenth century. It also has a broad range of activities for all seasons and age groups. That is why it attracts millions of tourists a year, who flock to this historic city to revel in the vibrant atmosphere.

Here are 15 fun facts about Aspen that will almost certainly entice you to travel to this exciting city in the very near future.


Even though Aspen has an abundance of small-town charm, there are many exclusive boutiques like Prada and Gucci for shopaholics.


Geographically, Aspen might not be a particularly large city, but it does have around 100 bars and restaurants that cater to all demographics.

The Hotel Jerome

The Hotel Jerome was opened in 1889 in downtown Aspen, and was the first establishment to install an elevator west of the Mississippi.

John Denver

Legendary singer, John Denver was so captivated by the beauty of Aspen, he resided there and even wrote a hit song called “Rocky Mountain High.”


Aspen’s primary skiing area, Snowmass is so large you could fit 36 Disneyland resorts in it quite comfortably.


Due to the Silver Boom in 1887, Aspen became the first town in Colorado to supply electricity to the whole of its 8,000 residents.

Independence Pass

Impressively, Aspen’s formidable Independence Pass has a summit of 12,095 feet making it the highest mountain pass in Colorado.

‘The Shining Mountains’

The Ute Indians affectionately called Aspen ‘The Shining Mountains’ because of its silver mines.

Glenwood Springs

As well as being the world’s largest mineral pool, Glenwood Springs (also known as Yampah by the Ute Indians) is also one of the hottest in Colorado.

Aspen Winter Weather

Aspen is situated 7,945 Feet above sea level so the weather in Winter can drop to a chilly 0°F.

Average Aspen Snow Fall

One of the main reasons that tourists flock to Aspen is for skiing activities. In an average year, this luxury resort town can expect about 300 inches of snowfall.

Aspen Population

Even though Aspen attracts tourists from around the globe, the town only has a modest  5,914 permanent residents.

Tuesday Cruise day

Tuesday Cruise day is a weekly bike ride hosted by the Aspen Brewery. Every week, hundreds of enthusiastic cyclists enjoy a cold beer (or two) while taking in some wonderful local scenery.

Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells are two peaks in the Elk Mountains that are an absolute favorite with budding photographers.

Aspen Art Museum

Aspen Art Museum attracts contemporary artists from around the world and was designed by renowned Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban.

5 Great Family Activities for Your Aspen Vacation

Recently, I went to see the highly anticipated finale to the Marvel Avengers series of films. My nine-year son is fanatical about the franchise, so he was very keen to see Avengers Endgame. With a running time of over 3-hours, this movie requires a large investment of time. However, everything about this fantasy adventure is amazing including the acting, direction, plotline, and special effects.

Midway through the film, Tony Stark (Iron Man) reunites with his father, Howard Stark in a time travel sequence set in the 1970s. Poignantly, his father says that all the money in the world won’t buy another second of time (or something to that effect). As a father, that really resonated with me because quality family time is very important. I relish the chance to visit new and exciting places, and Aspen Colorado is a city that certainly makes my list because of the diverse amount of activities it has to offer. Here are five great examples that are designed to make your family vacation more fulfilling.

Aspen Animal Shelter

For those who love friends of the canine variety, Aspen Animal Shelter is definitely worth a closer look. This facility is open all year round so you can visit anytime. Even better, if you find yourself missing your furry friend on your vacation, you can even take a dog out for the day on a leisurely walk or nature hike.

Aspen Mountain

Even though Aspen Mountain is renowned for skiing, it also offers a lot of family fun activities during the summer months. For example, there is the world’s highest official disc (frisbee) golf course, numerous scenic hikes, and the marvellous Sundeck restaurant.

Aspen Recreation Center

On the off chance that the weather isn’t nice, or you simply want to experience something different, Aspen Recreation Center is a great option. There is a broad range of kids’ activities available, including rock climbing, swimming, karate classes, and ice skating. For the adults, there is a state of art cardio room and gymnasium.

Maroon Peak Trail

For adventurous families who thrive on exercise, Maroon Peak Trail is definitely worth a go. This scenic 10.9-mile hike is definitely challenging, but completely worth the investment. Ideally accessed from March to September Maroon Peak Trail is also canine friendly.

Whitewater Rafting

During the summer months in Aspen (when all the snow has melted), Whitewater Rafting is a great activity for the whole family. Probably the most renowned operator is AWR, who run trips in Aspen, Snowmass, and Arkansas River Valley.

Tuesday Cruiseday: Bikes and Beer

In recent years, craft beer has become increasingly popular, especially in the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia. A few years ago, I lived in a really trendy suburb of Manchester (England) called Chorlton Green. Effectively, it was a scaled down version of London’s Notting Hill because of the large volume of café bars and restaurants.

At the time, my favorite haunt was a small bistro called ‘Idaho’ that had a fantastic ambience. However, most people frequented this place because it served over four hundred craft beers from all around the world. Some were pretty extraordinary, like a chestnut beer from Corsica and a jalapeño beer from Arizona. There were also many boutique beers from Europe and the United States. Although at this point in time, I don’t think there was any liquid amber on offer from the Aspen Brewing Company.

As I have mentioned in previous articles, there are many great reasons to visit Aspen in Colorado. This vibrant city isn’t just a skiing playground for the rich and famous. There are numerous activities and cultural experience that visitors can enjoy throughout the year.

Tuesday Cruiseday

One of these is a visit to the Aspen Brewing Company. For anyone that enjoys a good tipple, this boutique craft beer producer is an absolute must. Exciting brews include ‘Brown Bearale’ (Silver Series), the silver medal award-winning Brett Barrel Saison (Temerity Series), and various seasonal delights.

As well as being an established craft beer producer, the Aspen Brewing Company also host an event called ‘Tuesday Cruiseday’ which originated in 2012. What originally began as a group of friends commemorating the end of the working week, is now weekly jaunt that is attended by many bike and beer enthusiasts.

Over four hundred energetic riders congregate outside Aspen Brewing Company at 6.30 with sufficient beers and supplies in their baskets. At this stage, they leisurely ride past the Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum. The next stop is a large field near Marolt barn, where revellers can enjoy an artisan beer whilst admiring scenic views of Aspen Mountain. Finally, the journey ends (with a few more beers) at a park located at the base of Smuggler mountain.

Effectively ‘Tuesday Cruiseday’ is a great community bonding event that punctuates the mundanities of the working week. The event now has 1,176 members on Facebook, who all love artisan beer and spectacular scenic sunset views.

A Guide to Aspen’s Historic Buildings

I have probably mentioned this far too much, but I absolutely love historic buildings. In fact, I have renovated several homes in England, and still retain two as high-end rentals. The first is a penthouse in a former school building, which has features like fossilized antique marble fireplaces, original decorative plaster cornices, and Victorian paneled wooden doors. My second property is a large Manhattan style loft apartment with exposed brick walls, trusses, and reclaimed timber flooring. Both dwellings have been featured in lifestyle magazines and have fueled my passion for heritage architecture. Ultimately, that is why I love traveling to visit cities around the world. Certainly, Aspen, in Colorado is a great destination for architecture lovers such as myself.

Recently, I have been writing many articles about the array of different seasonal activities on offer in Aspen. This vibrant city is synonymous with glamour, style, luxury, and high-octane skiing pursuits. However, Aspen originated as a humble mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom in the late 1890s. In a short space of time, the region attracted an influx of investors, who built some historical buildings. Even though the boom was a relatively short term, many of these heritage gems still remain.

Aspen Community Church

If you appreciate fine 19th-century architecture, you would be hard pressed to find a finer example than Aspen Community Church. This historical building is brimming with character, and was by designed by renowned 19th-century architect, Frederick Albert Hale in 1891. The church is mainly constructed from sandstone and has a decorative floral pattern.

The Wheeler Opera House

It would be an absolute travesty to not visit the Wheeler Opera House on a visit to Aspen. This historical landmark building was built in the 19th century and at the time, attracted a host of performers. After suffering damage caused by fire and going into a state of disrepair, industrialist Walter Paepcke renovated it in the 1940s. Impressively, legendary acts like the Beach Boys have performed in this iconic venue.

Wheeler–Stallard House

The Wheeler-Stallard House was constructed in 1888 by investor Jerome B. Wheeler at the time of the Colorado Silver Boom. This historical house is built in the Queen Anne architectural style. Over the years, the dwelling has been renovated twice and currently operates as the home of the Aspen Historical Society.

The Red Onion

The Red Onion is Aspen’s oldest restaurant and it is situated over three floors. With a rustic red brick façade, the building dates back to the late 1880s. In 1987, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as “New Brick–The Brick Saloon.” When Aspen became a luxury ski resort, the venue attracted performing greats like Billie Holliday and John Denver.