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27 Sep 2023
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Aspen Snowmass Vacation Blog

The Inside Scoop – 10 Reasons Why Aspen Is a World-Wide Attraction

Aspen is an iconic mountain town with breathtaking alpine scenery and world-class skiing, but there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to this beautiful Colorado destination. This small mountain community is most famous for its four ski resorts – Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain (known as AJAX to the locals,) Snowmass, and Buttermilk; but it's also beautiful year-round with multiple opportunities to enjoy the Colorado mountains.

Here are 10 things that make this magnificent mountain town a world-wide attraction.

1. Skiing

There is no doubt that Aspen is best known for its skiing, which is the primary reason why skiers and riders from all over the world make it a bucket-list destination. With its abundant sunshine, bluebird skies, and fresh powder, Aspen is a skiers' and snowboarders' paradise with massive terrain, stunning vistas, and a variety of runs.

With four world-class resorts, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, and Buttermilk, Aspen has positioned itself as a major winter outdoor recreation playground. The four resorts offer everything from steep runs and bumps for expert-level skiing and riding to slower and wider runs for beginners. The chic après ski scene is also noteworthy and offers a chance to explore the city’s sophisticated arts and culture.

2. Outdoor Recreation

Outside of downhill skiing and snowboarding, Aspen offers a variety of other winter activities to entertain. Aspen holds a reputation as one of the best backcountry ski areas in the nation with the same deep powder and long descents of rival resorts. The Sugar Bowls at Buttermilk Mountain are a local favorite for uphill runs, while the infamous Highland Bowl offers lift-access terrain for a rewarding backcountry experience. 

For those looking for other snow sports, ice skating, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling in and around the Aspen area are popular with locals and visitors. The city loves its wintry weather, and outdoor exploration is a favorite activity, even in the cold.

The warmer weather brought about by spring, summer, and fall makes Aspen a mecca for hiking and biking enthusiasts. The Aspen Snowmass area has been designated an IMBA Gold-Level Ride Center; the first Gold-Level Ride Center in Colorado, only the fifth in United States, and among seven in the world. There are also plenty of opportunities for fishing, rock climbing, rafting, horseback riding, paragliding, and more!

3. Arts and Culture

Aspen offers a rich arts and culture scene that rivals many larger cities. The Aspen Art Museum, designed by Japanese architect Sigeru Ban, is a work of art in its own right. It is worth visiting to see its rotating exhibits of ever-changing international contemporary artists. 

Several theaters and music and film venues also call the city home, including the stunning 133-year-old Wheeler Opera House with its calendar of comedy shows, dance performances, festivals, concerts, and other events. The Aspen Historical Society also offers guided tours of the iconic building, which has maintained its status as the community’s artistic hub for decades.

4. Retail and Dining

Well-known for its luxury shopping and world-class dining scene, Aspen has much to discover and explore outside of outdoor recreation. From high-end boutiques to Colorado-themed shops and home decor, the retail shops in Aspen offer an array of options. The pedestrian-friendly five-block downtown area is bustling with shopping and places to stop and grab a bite.

 Aspen’s dining scene is a foodie’s paradise, with options from fine dining to more casual diners and bars. The culinary scene here is a mix of local ingredients and international flavors, featuring a variety of cuisines sure to appeal to everyone.

5. Aspen Music Festival and Live Music Events

Since 1949, the Aspen Music Festival and School has been one of the top classical music performers of festivals in the United States. The eight-week summer season features over 400 classical music events. The AMFS presents a series of recitals and music education programs in the winter.

Aside from this famous music festival, there are other chances for live music throughout town. Snowmass offers a summer series of professional performances at the annual Jazz Aspen Snowmass (JAS) Festival, Bluegrass Sundays atop Aspen Mountain, and the Snowmass Concert Series on Fanny Hill. The popular Belly Up, set at the base of Aspen Mountain, is a popular intimate music venue with live concerts all year.

6. Aspen Ideas Festival

The Aspen Institute sponsors the Aspen Ideas Festival – its signature summer festival for future-focused thinkers, artists, and philanthropists to openly and creatively address economic and global issues. With thousands of attendees set to participate every year, the festival is broken into two parts, typically scheduled at the end of June.

 The theme varies from year to year, but the program of events includes discussions, seminars, panels, and tutorials from journalists, designers, innovators, politicians, diplomats, presidents, judges, musicians, artists, and writers. Guests are encouraged to share in dialogue that is uplifting and motivational while honoring other viewpoints, all focused on addressing the most critical events faced by our nation and the world.

 When it comes to thought-provoking discussions and a forum that brings together some of the world’s greatest thinkers and leaders in one space, the Aspen Ideas Festival is incomparable to any other in the world.

7. Aspen Film 

Aspen Film is renowned for its commitment to enlighten, enrich, educate, and entertain through film. As the proud sponsor of multiple festivals in the Aspen area, Aspen Film is highly regarded as the premier film organization in the area 

Filmfest, Aspen Film’s premier fall festival, showcases top talent from around the globe, featuring films that have premiered at some of the biggest film festivals in the industry. Filmfest explores the human condition through unique stories told through diverse lenses.

Aspen Film also showcases shorts in its renowned Shortsfest festival, recognized as one of North America's premier short film festivals. Audiences and filmmakers gather to participate in public screenings, panels, workshops, and other events meant to spotlight the art of the short film. Film enthusiasts can also participate in the winter screenings of upcoming Oscar nominees during Aspen Film’s Academy Screenings festival.

 8. FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen

The FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen is a prestigious celebration of innovators and icons in the culinary world set at the base of majestic Aspen Mountain. Regarded as one of Colorado’s premier culinary events, the FOOD & WINE Classic features celebrity chefs, engaging cooking classes, and mouthwatering tastings. 

During the event, guests can explore Aspen's amazing restaurants and shops and attend interactive sessions and wine dinners hosted by top chefs. It is a gathering that attracts iconic culinary leaders, innovative wine experts, and game-changing beverage connoisseurs, all set in the pristine beauty of Aspen.

9. X-Games

Another annual event for which Aspen is well-known is the legendary Winter X Games. Close to 100 professional winter athletes descend on Buttermilk Resort for this three-day event full of heart-pounding action. Scheduled for the last weekend in January, this premier action sports competition draws a large crowd of winter sports enthusiasts and competitors. 

10. The Celebrity Scene

A trip to Aspen could mean rubbing elbows with celebrities - local or visiting. Many celebrities own homes here and are known locally, but it’s also a hot spot for celeb vacationers. High-end restaurants and boutiques attract famous people from around the world, and skiing on the slopes is a popular pastime amongst the celeb crowd. 


Frias Aspen Office


Let Frias Properties help you plan your next Aspen Snowmass vacation. Explore our Aspen vacation rentals or our slope-side condos in Snowmass Village to find the perfect place to stay! Guests of Frias Properties receive airport transfers, concierge services, health club access, front desk check-in, housekeeping, and 24/7 maintenance and support along with their Aspen or Snowmass vacation rental.

Contact our Reservations Team today at (970) 920-2010 with any questions.

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