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He comes from the Land Down Under, but Australian Nick Farr may know more about the Aspen slopes than even the most seasoned local. That's because this year, Farr celebrated his 20th season skiing Aspen, and has been bringing his Trek Climb Ski group here for ski Aspen tours for more than 17 years.
What started as a chance encounter on an airplane eventually led to week-long skiing getaway back in 1991. That trip manifested into a love affair with skiing Aspen that has lasted two decades "with no signs of stopping any time soon, Farr said. These days, Farr's ski Aspen tours through Trek Climb Ski have grown into an all-inclusive program that run for 16 days and 15 nights.
"During this time, we operate a 10-day fully guided and instructional on-snow program," Farr said. "On these days, you'll ski with your instructor for 5-6 hours per day. While personalized group skiing is our core product, our tours have become renowned for so much more."
"We actually don't have any competitors that come close to providing what we do for the price," he said. "With great, centrally located accommodations, the amazing ski town that is Aspen, regular apres activities and the best skiing conditions on the planet, we provide the best ski package in the world to this incredible resort destination."
And, according to Farr, it all started on that airplane in 1991.
"I was in Canada participating a ski instructors course and I decided that I wanted to ski somewhere in the States," Farr said. "I met a guy on the plane and he said I should try Aspen. I did, and it was a fantastic week."
Over the next few years, Farr began to frequent Aspen as he continued his ski instructor training in Colorado, Utah and Canada. Then, a trip to Aspen in 1995 gave Farr an idea.
"I realized there were a lot of Australians going to Canada for arranged skiing programs," Farr said. "I wondered, 'Why not Aspen?' We commenced operating our Aspen Tours in 1995 and today we enjoy a guest return rate of around 70 percent each year."
Farr then contacted the Aspen Skiing Company about perhaps bringing a group of his own to ski the Aspen area. He said the SkiCo "welcomed the idea with open arms," and Trek Climb Ski was born. Farr brought his first group to Aspen in 1996. There were "eight or nine" people in the group and they stayed at the Mountain Chalet.
"By and large it was a good experience," Farr said. The group continued to grow year after year, and quickly outgrew the Mountain Chalet. He first approached Frias Properties about lodging in 2007 as his Aspen lodging demands continued to grow.
Since 2009, he has worked closely with Frias Properties to plan out the details of each specific trip.
"The biggest concern for me as a tour organizer is to make sure to get the accommodations right," Farr said. "The relationship we've developed with Frias takes a lot of the pressure off because they are flexible and work with us to make sure we have all the accommodations we need."
Farr said the Trek Climb Ski group has been staying at the Chateau Chaumont and Chateau Dumont since 2009, and his Aussie guests love it.
"Fantastic," Farr says about the Chateau units. "It's a five-star experience."
Frias Properties currently offers a number of units at both the Chateau Chaumont and Chateau Dumont complexes. Located only one block from downtown Aspen, the Silver Queen Gondola and Aspen Mountain, both complexes have units rated from standard to deluxe. According to Farr, his group members appreciate the location and price offered at the Chateaus.
"The biggest misconception by Australians about Aspen is that you have to be rich to ski there," Farr said. "They say that it's all rich people and movie stars. We tell them, 'You don't have to be rich to ski with us.' We offer a fantastic ski experience at a good price as our core product. That's why people come with us."
Farr also credits the amazing local terrain as a major selling point.
"People love the variety of the four mountains," Farr said. "It's an incredible amount of terrain -- everything from beginners to advanced skiers. Plus, the apres-ski and social events we hold in conjunction with the skiing only add to the overall experience. Everything just works."