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Aspen vs. Vail for a Ski Vacation

Posted: 5 Jan 2016

There's plenty of reasons why skiers and snowboarders choose Aspen over Vail. Sure, both Aspen and Vail are known as world-class skiing resorts, but there are differences between the two that you should take into consideration when planning a winter getaway. This week, our blog crew tackles the big debate: Aspen vs. Vail. We will pinpoint the differences and show why Aspen is the overwhelming choice by most.

Aspen vs. Vail Aspen has a rich history that dates back to the late 19th century, around 1880. Before it became a skiing Mecca, it was known as a silver mining town. Many historic buildings remain, including the Wheeler Opera House and the Independence Square hotel. The City of Aspen and Pitkin County have worked hard over the years to preserve a lot of the town's history. But of course, there's plenty of recent development, including the all new downtown Aspen Art Museum. Overall, the town offers a unique mix of classic and contemporary. History buffs will choose Aspen every time, as Vail was not developed much before the 1960s.

The Skiing Let's talk turkey - who has the best slopes? If you're planning a ski vacation, isn't that the most important? Aspen features the aEUoeFour Mountain ExperienceaEU of Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Aspen Mountain, located in downtown Aspen, is the most popular, but Snowmass is the largest. Aspen Highlands is the aEUoelocals' favoriteaEU and has the one-of-a-kind Highlands Bowl. Buttermilk is great for beginners and intermediate skiers, and also happens to be the home of the Winter X Games, if you're interested in channeling your inner Shaun White. Each mountain is different, and Aspen's free public transportation system makes it easy to try all four in a single vacation - or a single day. Vail has one massive mountain that is often plagued with long lift lines packed with weekenders from Denver. You'll also find the associated Beaver Creek and Arrowhead resorts down the road a piece.

Lodging One word: Luxury. If you're looking for the best of the best in mountain resort lodging, head to Aspen. The town has its reputation for a reason. Aspen has several luxury brand names in town - including the Hyatt Grand, Ritz-Carlton Club (at Aspen Highlands) and the St. Regis Residence Club that are perfect for even the most discerning guests. Aspen oozes luxury from every pore, but there are plenty of standard and deluxe accommodations available for us normal folk, too. Popular lodging options include the Fasching Haus, Alpenblick, Fifth Avenue and the newly renovated Durant Condominiums. All four complexes offer fully equipped kitchens with plenty of space. Ranging from 1-4 bedrooms, many of the condominiums and townhomes in Aspen are within walking distance to Aspen Mountain or to the Galena Street bus plaza that has free bus access to the other three mountains. These complexes offer a wide range of amenities that can include a heated pool, hot tub, complimentary transportation to and from the Aspen airport, free Wi-Fi and free on-site parking. Guests who book lodging with Frias Properties also receive a full spectrum of concierge services, ranging from luggage handling to lift ticket purchasing and dinner reservations. Frias guests also receive complimentary passes to the Aspen Club & Spa, the valley's premier full-service spa and workout facility. Vail offers plenty of lodging at the base of the resort and chain hotels along Interstate 70, but do not offer the depth of amenities and services offered here. Although Aspen has a reputation of being pricey, seriously, Vail works hard to be on par with iconic Aspen.

Overall Vacation Experience
Aspen wins, hands down. From celebrity sightings to fine dining and nightlife, Aspen offers the best of the best. There's a unique experience around every corner. And considering that it's only about a 30-minute flight from Denver International Airport makes it easily accessible to everyone. Guest love to fly into the airport that is only 5 miles outside of town and have their complimentary transportation waiting for them to take them directly to their condominium or home. Most lodging is within walking distance to the slopes or downtown - where there are heated sidewalks during the winter months. Aspen is very centrally located, with most of the dining and social life within a four square block area. In Vail, you'll spend more time getting from place to place on endless packed busses. And there's much less of a chance you'll run into Kate Hudson or Kevin Costner