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Aspen Colorado travel information including hotel and vacation guide.

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Aspen Ski Vacation

Colorado skiing Planning for an Aspen ski vacation? Aspen Colorado has long been known as the ultimate ski resort in the world as it boasts some of the best skiing on earth. With more than 4,500 acres of terrain spread over four main mountains, Aspen no doubt offers an expansive variety of skiing and other related fads for all levels throughout the winter season when a reliably great snow capped the mountains.

Aspen was made known as one of the best destinations for ski vacation when a small group of entrepreneurs and visionaries came to realize the value of Aspen’s other, inexhaustible resource – the snow. Since then, the then sleepy mining town of Aspen was transformed to a bustling and recreational nook. It was the Austrian entrepreneur named Friedl Pfeifer who partnered with Walter Paepcke, a Chicago industrialist, and his wife Elizabeth who came to establish what would be the first of a number of Aspen ski vacation resorts and opened what was known then as the world’s longest chairlift in the winter of 1947. Later, more Aspen ski vacation resorts were opened, followed by a number of hotels and vacation rentals.

Aspen has long been considered as one of the best-known ski vacation resorts in the world because of its fascinating four mountains, which are the main attractions of the place. Located approximately 215 miles southwest of Denver, 75 miles southeast of Eagle, and only minutes from the town’s own Sardy Field (ASE), the four mountains are distinctly highlighting a terrain that is particular for certain levels of skiers. The Aspen Mountain, known as Ajax and one of the attractions of Aspen ski vacation resorts, is specifically geared toward advance skiers as it has more than 3,200 vertical feet on 700 skiable acres. Aside from that Aspen ski vacation attraction, there is also the Aspen Highlands which is situated to the right of Ajax and provides a respectable level of novices as well as intermediate terrain. It is actually the Aspen Highlands where the Olympic medalists prefer to hang out.

For further emphasis, another asset of Aspen ski vacation resorts is the Buttermilk, which is noted for being a smaller, novice-oriented mountain. However, this Aspen ski vacation spot also happens to be the home of the longest terrain park and ESPN Winter X Games of the world. These games, according to some reports usually occur at the end of January, and are considered as one of the added attractions of such Aspen ski vacation spot. Finally, there is the Snowmass, which is the largest of the four Aspen ski vacation mountains. It is best-known for its having a greatest variety for all levels with over 3000 acres of ski terrain. Just like the other mountains, this Aspen ski vacation spot has spectacular views.

There are days when you can’t just take anymore of chairlifts. And there are days when the powder-day crowds are just more annoying than usual. So you look for better ways to enjoy the high elevation of Aspen Colorado. Perhaps the best way for you to enjoy the serenity offered to you by the high-altitude mountains of Aspen Colorado are its mountain huts.

For years, mountain huts in high-altitude locations in Aspen Colorado have sheltered the world’s skiers and climbers. In the Alps, hundreds of structures cling to cliffs and sit in alpine meadows, giving mountain enthusiasts access to remote, high-altitude precipices or mountain escapes from the daily bustle. Aspen Colorado saw its first set of settlers in the 1940s. But it wasn’t until the early 1980s that the first high-altitude mountain huts appeared.

The 10th Mountain Hut System, often referred to as the “Hilton of Huts,” was first a dream before it was made into reality nearly 15 years ago when a group of Aspen Colorado locals led by the late Fritz Benedict, a prolific Aspen architect and town patriarch started construction for these high-altitude lodges. The System got its name from the US Army’s 10th Mountain Division, which trained for mountain fighting more than 50 years ago.

Today, there are more than ten 10th Mountain huts standing in Aspen Colorado’s high-altitude spots. What’s more, the non-profit organization running it also manages two other Aspen Colorado clusters of cabins.

There is nothing like venturing into the backcountry. The air of camaraderie the quiet atmosphere in high-altitude Aspen Colorado instills is long lasting and even refreshing after the isolation that you sometimes feel when you’re in a big city. But if you do decide to pack your bags and skis and journey into the high-altitude Mountains of Aspen Colorado, which 10th Mountain hut experience do you pick?

Each 10th Mountain hut costs about $24 a night per person. Each hut also includes a wood-burning stove for heat, propane burners for cooking, and photo-voltaic lighting and handicap accessibility. Yet, for all the similarities in the amenities offered, each hut is distinct from the other.

The 10th Mountain huts are located in several different places. They scattered all across Aspen Colorado in places with high altitudes. The surrounding landscape and architecture of each hut is distinct from each other. Some offer steep, high-altitude skiing and grandiose views while others boast cozy quarters and pristine mountain meadow touring. So choose your hut well and get ready for the ultimate Aspen Colorado adventure.

McNamara – Elevation 10,360 feet

The McNamara Aspen Colorado mountain hut was built in 1982. It was one of the first two 10th Mountain huts constructed in the memory of the late Margy McNamara. It was her husband, Robert, the former Secretary of Defense, who funded the construction for this older two-story hut, offering cozy quarters ideal for long talks around a hot stove.

Harry Gates Hut – Elevation 9,700 feet

The Harry Gates Hut is the fourth addition to the 10th Mountain Hut system of Aspen Colorado. Built in 1986, its log construction offers three floors, two kitchens, and sleeps 20 although reservations are limited to 16. Funding for this Aspen Colorado hut in high-elevation came from the Gates Foundation in memory of the late Harry F. Gates who held a deep passion for mountains. Among all the 12 10th Mountain huts, the Harry Gates Hut is actually the one with the lowest elevation, making it easily accessible while at the same time offering novice backcountry skiers a perfect place to practice their skills.

Although the city of Aspen Colorado is considered as the best ski resort of the world, there is much more that the city can offer than skiing. Primarily, the cultural legacy of William and Elizabeth Paepcke is kept alive by prominent music, dance film, and some cultural festivals. The month of January particularly highlights the Winterskol celebration, which is the city of Aspen Colorado’s tribute to the season of cold and snow. This grand party is typically hosted by the city of Aspen Colorado’s most prestigious ski resorts and features a number of snow activities, a canine fashion show, ice sculpting competition, and much more. Some dining and nightlife destinations are even out there where the visitors can enjoy the elegance and refinement served.


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