Have a look at the latest video announcing the opening of Hero's on Aspen Mountain this winter!
The middle of November in Aspen, that sliver of time between our spectacular autumn foliage and Thanksgiving, is about as close to an off-season as we get here. There’s still quite a bit of life in town but the place definitely feels as though everyone is catching their breath while slowly getting ready and getting excited for our busy winter. It’s a wonderful time for those of us who live here to see how town is shaping up, to take stock of the last several months, and to look ahead to the snow sports that drew us here in the first place.
Winter 2021-22 brought with it quite a number of changes to the retail and dining scene here, and 22-23 looks to be a little more settled. Strolling around downtown Aspen at the moment, we really enjoy peeking through windows at some new places and at old ones getting a freshening. We’ve had enough recent snowfall for the trails on all four mountains to look brilliantly white from the valley floor, and having Ajax’s trails in particular looking almost ready over the rooftops of the Wheeler Opera House and The Little Nell gets us all in the holiday spirit.
All of this is a nice reminder that although the glitz and glam of Aspen gets the spotlight and can dominate people’s impression of our resort across the globe, what truly sets us apart is that the access to world class dining, lodging, shopping, and winter sports that our guests expect of us still leaves room for a wonderfully atmospheric holiday season with all that we yearn for from that time of year. Strolling around Aspen, slowly breathing in the mountain air on a cold December evening after a warm meal in the company of friends and family is simply good for the spirit and reminds us why we chose this legendary mountain town to make our home.
It’s no wonder (and no surprise, really) that Travel & Leisure has just named Aspen the most charming town in America in which to spend Christmas. 25 Best Christmas Towns in the USA to Spend the Holiday Season (travelandleisure.com).
Thankfully we’re in the hospitality business here, and we very much look forward to sharing our Rocky Mountain home with all of those who choose to visit us for the holidays. Gareth Williams Properties does still have some availability for families to stay in our favorite spots for settling-in and making the most of Aspen Snowmass during the December holidays. We hope you’ll join us, and we’d love to help make the Aspen Snowmass holidays you imagine become a reality.
In the meantime, there are a number of ski lifts already spinning in Colorado. We’ve got some early season turns to make for ourselves so that we’re good and ready for our guests when you get here!
Scaling Back and Moving Online
A recent article in the September 30 Aspen Times reports on the challenge of promoting winter sports during these uncertain times. The Aspen Skiing Company rethought everything and the resort scaled back their support staff and magazine ad buys.
“Aspen Skiing Co.’s marketing campaign will look significantly different this winter, both in substance and execution,” writes Times reporter Scott Condon. “There will be no national branding such as the “Give a Flake” effort of recent seasons.”
The management company for the mountains of Aspen/Snowmass has let some staff members go and tightened up their strategy in response to the current economic environment.
“It’s definitely going to be a different kind of marketing campaign,” Jeff Hanle, Skico vice president of communications, said Tuesday. “You have to remain flexible and ready to pivot.”
Gone is the campaign urging skiers, snowboarders and other outdoor lovers to “Give a Flake” and get involved in concrete action to ease global warming.
“We’ve moved on from that. That was the plan already,” Hanle said.
The article goes on to state that “an advertising agency was working with Skico officials on a new campaign, but that’s been put on hold. There won’t be any advertisements in ski publications in January, for example, because conditions could change so drastically by then, Hanle noted. The ads would have to be finalized now to run in January.”
“Instead, Skico will remain nimble with messages that will be shared primarily through digital platforms. They will ...focus on education about protocols to keep customers safe from the spread of the coronavirus, trumpeting fresh snowfall and renewing the spirit during a tough time by getting outdoors, according to Hanle.”
The types of visitors the resort typically sees will change this year with fewer international visitors and more “drive-time” domestic visitors. The resort expects guests to stay longer than what would be typical during an average year.
A big part of the marketing effort will be education about the new hands-free procedures that will be in place for everything from ordering food at restaurants to buying lift tickets.
Both the town and the resort are working hard to plan and educate guests on how to have fun and stay safe this winter.
Spring value season has arrived in Aspen!
Spring in Aspen/Snowmass is shaping up to be one of the best in recent memory. According to recent reports our snowpack is well over 100% of average. The conditions outside swing from snow to sun every few days and the days are getting longer, leaving more time for sunny apres-ski celebrations!
Aspen enters spring with a full slate of events including the Apres Ski Cocktail Classic (March 12-15), more Aspen Laugh Festival performances at the Wheeler Opera House (March 12-13), and The Bud Light Spring Jam (March 17-22) with contests, live music and big air competitions at all four mountains.
For the past few years Aspen Skiing Company has joined forces with 17 other prominent ski areas to offer the Mountain Collective pass. Passholders get two free days at Aspen/Snowmass and 50% the window ticket price for any days beyond that.
Aspen also accepts the 2019/2020 Ikon Pass, which entitles members to ski or ride for up to seven days out here - good enough for a nice vacation - hint, hint! If you purchased either of these passes this past year now is definitely the time to get out here and use them!
We’re expecting a fantastic spring season out here so reach out to Gareth and come join us. Breathe the mountain air, enjoy the sunny (and snowy!) weather and live it up in the best place in the Rockies!
How do you make the most of your time on the mountain?
Aspen Skiing Company has been polling guests and has just what they need. Vacationers these days look for their cell phone apps to enhance all kinds of experiences, from travel to dining to tracking fitness. Aspen's newly improved on-mountain app does all of the above and more. A recent Aspen Times article interviewed the in-house developers at Aspen Skiing Company about just what goes in to building and improving their app.
Guests can now start their day with the latest information about on-mountain conditions. They can see current weather and snow reports from each of the four mountains. This info is updated every hour, but that’s just the beginning.
Worried about getting lost or taking a wrong turn? Peace of mind is close to hand as the app can actually track your location on the mountain and even alert ski patrol if necessary.
Are you someone who loves setting goals and measuring your progress? The built-in tracker lets you see how many vertical feet you covered each day. It’s the perfect way to challenge your friends and see who’s really in shape the next time you have a powder day!
According to the article, future improvements could include ways to meet up with friends and family on the mountain, assuming cell network coverage permits.
Being on vacation can be a great way to escape from our phones, but for those who enjoy having them alongside sometimes a little technology can make being out on the mountain even more fun and rewarding. At last count over 100,000 current users would agree!
While downhill skiing and snowboarding take the lion’s share of the spotlight in Aspen, a variety of winter recreation alternatives including uphilling, snowshoeing and nordic skiing are increasingly popular with locals and guests alike. These winter alternatives can be great options for those looking for new outdoor experiences!
Uphilling, skinning or ski touring is essentially hiking up the mountain on modified skis or a split snowboard. This method of scaling our four mountains includes attaching “skins” (adhesive strips) to the bottoms of skis that allow the ski to move freely forward but catch the snow and “stick” instead of sliding backwards. This method also requires special skis with bindings that release from the heels, (or a special snowboard that splits left and right for each foot).
As the snowpack rises, trail runners and hikers turn to snowshoes. Modern snowshoes are highly portable, lightweight, made of fabric and metal and attach easily to winter boots. Being able to set foot on top of the show rather than sink through it makes all the difference in the backcountry. A day hike becomes a treat rather than a slog!
Nordic or cross-country skis have been transporting Aspenites around town and between the mountains for well over 100 years. Both classic and skate-skiing techniques are in full swing during the winters out here.
In fact, though the Winter Olympics Nordic events have always been the domain of the Europeans, the U.S. Ski Team has made serious strides in competition recently, thanks in part to local athletes Simi Hamilton and Noah Hoffman.
The Aspen Snowmass Nordic Trail System boasts over 60 miles of trails stretching between and through the towns of Aspen and Snowmass Village, many of which are groomed daily and several that are dog-friendly.
Renters should head to the Aspen Golf Course or the Snowmass Golf Course for rentals and more information.
What’s the appeal?
If you follow the rules, uphilling can get you access to our ski mountains including on-mountain restaurants and earn you one free downhill run, i.e. save you the cost of a lift ticket. Any further lift access does require a lift ticket however.
All of the above offer terrific exercise, giving you the benefits of being outdoors and the freedom to go where you please. Aspen/Snowmass has tons of recreational trails outside of the ski mountains themselves that can be accessed this way. In fact, most people going on hut trips use ski mountaineering including nordic and uphilling techniques to get from one hut to the next.
Regardless of the method you choose, book your vacation with Gareth, then get out there and enjoy the best of winter in the Rocky Mountains!