This Aussie mum and two daughters visted Aspen for first time in Late March through to April. I was speaking at an Innovation Conference hosted at the Mounatin Chalet in Aspen while my kids, 9 + 12 went skiing and snowboarding at Buttermilk and Snowmass using the shuttle bus service.
The snowboarder had the best time of her life attending the Chris Klug snowboarding camp, and then put her new-found expertise into practice in rehearsal for Aussie State Championships this coming July when its winter Downunder. The 9 year old skier also improved her skills drastically thanks to expert tuition and comfortable conditions on the mountain- ie mild weather, good powder in the mornings, etc
As a single parent and first-time visitor, I would like to compliment every single member of the great team that made the entire experience memorable, from the efficient and friendly shuttle bus services to the mountain information ambassadors dishing out free coffee to the ski-school staff. (The only service in 12 days that could do with improvement was the equipment hire shop at Buttermilk)
The 9 year old got lost at the top of the mountain when skiing alone after ski-school finished and a ski-patrol person was onto her straightaway rescuing her in a snowmobile which turned into a treat (and a lecture from mum about NOT skiing alone!)
The vacation could be expensive if you want it to be, but we stayed in the most fantastic family-run hotel at incredible rates including every facility imaginable including a huge breakfast, the kids were fed lunch at ski-school, and we really had to buy only one dinner a day and could generally get away with about $40-$50 for the 3 of us. We splashed once or twice which was nice.
As a non-skier, non-spa bunny and non-shopper....I was a bit worried what I would do post-conference, but again, the area is culturally and intellectually so rich, I could hardly fit everything in. High on my list of recommended visits is the Rocky Mountain Institute - a global icon of forward thinking on environmental matters, the Aspen Institute and the Anderson Ranch of Creative Arts....a place where creative people go to deepen their learning and creative exploration.
I thought it was quite funny how the Thrift Shop was in the same street and opposite the road from Dior, Gucci, Bulgari etc....but in a way, that sums up Aspen....from the richest to the most ordinary folks, and every colour of the rainbow inbetween....and such diversity is truly interesting. This town may be super wealthy, but it has a soul.