We just got back from visiting a friend in Aspen, the epitome of Colorado ski towns. It is literally everything I picture when I think of a ski town; a great mountain that is within walking distance of almost any place in town, incredible snow, great apres-ski opportunities, and of course, insanely expensive pricing on everything. My usual gauge for determining the expense level of a town is the cost of a double-shot Americano. In Portland, or even Boulder, the average price for a 160z Americano runs about $2.20. In Aspen, I usually pay closer to $3.00. So, I generally assume everything in town will run about 36% more than I’m used to paying.
Like other ski towns, many of the people that live there are divided into the locals, the migrant worker force and the seasonal residents. The migrant worker force consists mostly of incredibly wealthy European kids that have come to Aspen to run a lift line and drink as much as they can. The seasonal residents are people like Kevin Costner and Goldie Hawn. On our visit we walked past Lance Armstrong, who was in town training for the Leadville 100. His training group included the friend we were visiting, leading to a few somewhat surreal “how was Lance feeling today” type of conversations. This is why Aspen is my paradigm of a proper ski town.
Apart from the glamour aspect, the town is a great location for some of the most scenic riding and running that I’ve done, and Aspen Mountain has a couple of great trails that are good for hiking or running. Although not as expansive as Boulder, the riding is incredibly scenic and just as easily accessible. The Hub is a great shop in town that can provide some knowledge about some great local rides.