Another pitfall of DC...skiing isn't exactly a lifestyle option. Even if it is, can we even really say that something like Wisp is really a "mountain". I don't think so.
So two people who love to ski, a(nother) shitty thing about DC, a boyfriend who generously shares frequent flier miles = a lot of West coast skiing adventures.
This year we got back to DC after a long Christmas back West with our families, only to spend a whopping four days in DC before getting on a plane again. To make it extra fun, I had no idea where I was going. I packed, got to the airport and only knew we were going skiing. He printed our boarding passes, and then we went through security. I was finally tipped off to the fact that we were headed for Denver, so I just assumed we were headed to Copper or Winter Park.
Once we arrived in Denver, the BF recommended we get food. My thoughts quickly went to "Is he REALLY going to make us eat in the airport to try to throw me off?! Of course we are at the destination!"
Oh. How. Wrong. Was. I.
After eating we started walking. We were on one of those moving conveyor belts when I looked up and could just barely make out the words on one of the gate signs for "Aspen/Snowmass"!!!!
A quick flight later, there we were at the Aspen airport surrounded by more fur and multi-thousand dollar ski coats than I have ever seen in my life! People were popping champagne in the airport and Bogner was a casual as a pair of jeans.
Skis for days, and Aspen print carpet in the airport
We stayed slope-side at Snowmass and were able to walk to the lifts our first day skiing. Saturday was glorious. Sunny, warm, and some perfectly manicure groomers to tear it up on. The scenery was unbelievable. And they aren't kidding when they named the place Aspen. You can smell those Aspens as you ski through beautiful glades. The lodges were modest, to my surprise, but boasted some really outstanding food.
We skied for as long as they would let us on the lifts, then popped our skis off and walked less than a block back to the hotel. It was heaven.
That night we headed in to town and went to an Italian restaurant that a friend had recommended. While the pasta was outstanding, it was the creme brulee topped with fresh bananas that really won our hearts.
As usual after a day of skiing, we were sound asleep before 10:30pm.
The next morning we woke up to socked in skies, but with determination to get some more Aspen experience in. We took a shuttle bus (which was outstanding and quick and free!) into Aspen and decided to ski Ajax (as the locals call it). It. was. cold.
And did I mention FRIGID?
Our first 4 or so runs were through almost untouched powder that was soft and fluffy. The gondola had been closed in the morning and when they finally opened it we decided to take it up to the top. It might have been the most terrifying lift experience of my life. The gondola had to run at about 1/4 speed, and was swinging and swaying in the wind. Some of the cars almost hit each other. It was a rather silent trip to the top as we both gripped the bench in fear. We ended up warming up in the lodge at top, then finally braving the increasingly windy and cold conditions to get some runs it. The snow was great and the runs were fun, but we had ice caked on our faces and hanging from our noses. We took a verrrrrry long lunch, and then called it a day.
While it wasn't the best day of skiing, it was still an amazing experience. There is nothing better than skiing down into the main street of town when you are done at the end of the day.
That night we browsed the shops, gawked at the crazy ski shops and the ski clothes that cost more than my yearly salary and then had dinner at the White House Tavern.
It was again an early night followed by a long mournful day where we had to leave to go back to real life.
My overall verdict: Aspen is the whole package. I am sucker for resorts that have good snow, good terrain, and a cool town to top it off. Aspen's beauty is second to none, and the people watching alone is worth the trip. Even if you can't afford the expensive clothes, you can at least browse and feel just that much closer to being a billionaire. Overall, make it a bucket list trip, it is worth every penny.