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.