First off, the winter air in Kentucky ain’t no joke and my skin is well aware. So when I was prepping for Aspen, I knew I would need to bring a little beauty TLC along with me. I stocked up on a gentle cleanser (opted away from my Clarisonic since I’m already a little sensitive), a H E A V Y moisturizer and lots & lots of sheet masks, eye masks and lip masks for that final burst of moisture. Having my skin prepared for the dry, cold air was definitely a game changer this year!
Going to a cold destination calls for an extra suitcase (or two) stuffed full of layers galore! I typically bring a bag for ski clothes, a bag for regular clothes and my makeup/toiletries in my carry on. I focus on my jackets, boots and accessories because in all honesty, the cold isn’t to be taken lightly– don’t play, just bundle up! So I suggest buying some super cute jackets and get alright with that being your outfit. When it comes to shoes, it’s best to invest in some water resistant boots with some decent grip (aka shoes meant for the snow). I’ve never been to Aspen in the winter and not seen someone take a major spill on the ice (or taken one myself, guilty). Here are some of my Aspen approved gear:
We usually opt to stay in a house when we travel with my entire family so we can spread out and have our own rooms, but also have a space to hangout together and watch movies or play games at night. If y’all have a large family (consisting mostly of adults) and this is something you’re interested in, I suggest checking out Home Away. I think it makes a trip feel so different when you’re staying in a residence, almost like you’re a local! But, for a quick weekend getaway or a trip with your guy– a hotel is also a really fun option for Aspen.
- The St. Regis Aspen Resort: right in the heart of downtown Aspen, upscale-lodge feel
- The Little Nell: ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Mountain, F A N T A S T I C location and views of downtown
- The Viceroy Snowmass: ski-in/ski-out access to Snowmass Mountain, 15 minutes from downtown Aspen, more “family-friendly” vibes but still a luxury hotel *best of both worlds*, also have to add because its me, duh, its pet friendly 😉
- The Ritz Carlton Club of Aspen Highlands: ski-in/ski-out access to Aspen Highlands, condos available (game changer!!)
- Hotel Jerome: super cool, historic, an Aspen “must see”
So there are four mountains to ski in Aspen: Buttermilk, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Aspen Mountain. Now I am *by no means* an expert skier, I like to say I can get down just about anything but I can’t promise it’ll be pretty! Sam, on the other hand, is just about as good as it gets and we both can enjoy ourselves on these mountains.
Buttermilk is much more “beginner friendly” and also where ski school is located (if you’re showing up in Aspen with no experience, I definitely suggest checking this out for a few days). My family skis with the same instructor (hi, Bryna) every year because 1. she’s our friend and 2. we can always benefit from a few pointers PLUS she knows all of the mountains like the back of her hand and knows what we are all capable of skiing. Any who, Buttermilk has lots of great greens to learn on or just spend the day warming up.
Snowmass is the largest of the four mountains, I believe I heard once that all three of the other mountains combined are still not as large as Snowmass. SO that means theres lots of options and something for anyone at any level to ski. I’m ALL ABOUT a groomed run and Snowmass has a lot of great blues and blacks for the intermediate skier who is trying to perfect her S moves (aka me). PLUS there are tons of fun and delicious restaurants and shops at Snowmass Village (the bottom of the mountain) for lunch– y’all know I’m a fan of atmosphere.
Aspen Highlands is a little more tricky but definitely doable for intermediate skiers. This is Sam’s favorite of the four mountains because it has a lot of steep black diamonds– my nightmare. If you’re feeling on top of your game, you can even hike up the bowl and ski down some double blacks… no thanks! I’ll leave that one up to you, SD– I’ll be waiting at the bottom, hot cocoa in hand!
Aspen Mountain is the fourth mountain and (in my P E R S O N A L (aka unprofessional) opinion) the trickiest to ski but also totally doable for intermediate skiers. My favorite part about this mountain is the views, it looks right over downtown Aspen. Your girl definitely gets a little side tracked when skiing this mountain because… pictures. If you’re not into skiing, you can always ride the gondola up Ajax and have lunch at the top of the mountain and just ride the gondola back down, how nice does that sound?
Aspen cuisine is my favorite cuisine. There are SO many delicious places to eat and I suggest trying them all– so essentially just eat your way through Aspen, alright? But if you’re on a schedule and need to just hit the high points, here are some I suggest:
- Matsuhisa: same owner/head chef as Nobu // sushi + sashimi + small plates
- Kenichi: apologies that the first two are sushi, but– priorities. I read on an Aspen blog once that “if you can’t get into Matsuisa, try Kenichi…” so, yeah I agree. // sushi + small plates
- Steakhouse 316: prohibition vibes // GREAT steaks + tons of sides
- La Crêperie du Village: such a cool underground space, a M U S T for dessert // nutella crepe with bananas and strawberries
- Woody Creek Tavern: a local spot, very casual, “pool hall” vibes // ribs + burritos (yeah, what a mix).
- White House Tavern: small little miners cottage, no reservations // sandwiches + fries
Downtown is FULL of shops, from North Face to Moncler– there is literally something for everyone. Besides the brands that y’all know (Rag & Bone, Burberry, J.Crew… etc.), there are tons of local gems! My personal favorites are Pitkin County Dry Goods for regular clothes and Performance Ski for ski attire.
There are also several outdoor activities, besides skiing! We’ve gone snowmobiling to the Maroon Bells before and it was such a FUN experience with the most gorgeous views. I’ve always wanted to go night tubing, but we’ve never been able to make it happen– its on my to do list though. Has anyone tried it before?