Aspen: beyond the snowFebruary 9, 2019
The idea was to find how to hang out when the family was skiing. It was not my first time trying to glide gracefully – without falling – on two long blades, down the mountain in the cold snow. He had treated him twice without much success. I assured mine that they would go ahead and find what to do on our new trip to Colorado. After all, Aspen is a world-class city with many options.
Not to be a complete killjoy, I decided to take an additional class. And, really, the third one was the one defeated. Instructor Carolina Vivo, from Argentine Patagonia, managed not only to unlock my biggest impediment -my mind- but she gave me firm instruction and made batons in my language, which I think helped considerably to conquer the slope of Snowmass beginners in a single piece.
During this time and until spring many professional skiers and snowboarders from Argentina, Chile and Peru work the season with Aspen Skiing Company, one of the most prestigious schools in the nation. The company also manages the four mountains -Aspen, Snowmass, Highlands and Buttermilk that make up Aspen as ski resort– so the instruction and professionalism is first.
And although this time it was better for me, my mission continued because, although very excited about my progress, skiing is intense. I left in the mornings with the breath of mine and at noon I had said goodbye to continue on its blue and black mountains. Even experts need options, since activities that depend so much on weather conditions are never guaranteed. One day before my arrival the mountain was ‘closed’ by strong winds, in others, there is not enough snow or too much snow.
Note, the transportation system of the area is free, so moving between different points of interest is easy and practical. Both the Snowmass Village buses and the RFTA public are punctual, clean and reliable.
The Aspen Art Museum is a small treasure. With free admission, the venue designed by Japanese laureate Shigeru Ban offers around 14 to 18 exhibitions each year. Although it does not have a fixed collection, the place exhibits artists from all over the world and offers guided tours, movie nights and free talks. From the cafe you enjoy an incredible view of Aspen Mountain while you devour affordable and tasty lunch options. https://www.aspenartmuseum.org/
Anderson Ranch Arts Center is a world-renowned arts institution located in Snowmass. Ranch-style huts – some that go back to the origins of cattle from the 19th century area – host diverse studios that focus on eight artistic slopes and exhibition galleries. The visitor can explore on their own and share with the teachers and students in the cafeteria (another option of good price in the area). The ArtWorks store offers students works that are unique souvenirs such as jewelry and ceramics and supports the programs of this nonprofit institution. The center holds an Open House on April 9. https://www.andersonranch.org/
The historical and intimate historic Wheeler Opera House dates from 1889 when Aspen was a flourishing mining town and offers a billboard of concerts, plays, comedies and more throughout the year. https://www.wheeleroperahouse.com/
With the boys
In Ice Age Discovery Center, Snowmass, you can see an excellent collection of fossils of mammoths, mastodons, lazy Jefferson and extinct giant species of bison, deer, camels and horses, among others. It was not until 2010 during an excavation in the Ziegler Reserve that the remains of a mammoth were discovered and by the end of summer 2011 30,000 bones belonging to 42 animal species had been found. The center has fossils and replicas, videos and displays and offers educational and interactive panels. Admission is free and is equally interesting for adults.
Moving away from the mountain does not mean giving up winter activities. Ice skating is a good option when there is bad weather. The new Limelight hotel in Snowmass has its own track, but the Aspen Recreation Center has two: the Lewis Ice Arena – with NHL dimensions – and Aspen Ice Garden, in downtown, both with schedules for the public. https://www.aspenrecreation.com/ice/
Places of interest
Snowmass Village did not become a municipality until the end of the 70s. In the Mall there are about 30 shops and restaurants such as the very popular Il Poggio, delicious Italian food, or the comfort food for a particularly cold day, The Stew Pot.
In contrast, Aspen is designated a historic district. Strolling through the streets allows you to see buildings that go back to the golden era of mining town from its beginnings in the 1880s as Wheeler Opera House, Hotel Jerome and my favorite sentimental, the Red Onion pub, among many others. Many of these historic buildings are now home to exclusive designer boutiques, stores and restaurants.
With the fall of snow in 2019 it is estimated that it is possible to ski until April. April 20-21 is the close of the season with Spring Fling, where it is not unusual to see skiers in swimsuits or on T-shirts. At the end of May the season of being outside begins with about 40 miles to practice cross-country bike and hiking, among other outdoor activities. During this time is when more music, art and culinary festivals take place. There is so much to do away from the snow in Aspen.
Flights: From South Florida you can get to Aspen with connecting flights from FLL and MIA through American Airlines, United and Delta. There is a variety of direct flights from both airports to Denver, about four hours by car from Aspen.
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