Pulling off the perfect ski getaway takes a lot of planning, preparation and tips along the way. But even the most seasoned travelers may overlook a thing or two along the way. So, what exactly do you need to know when coming to Aspen for a ski vacation? This week our blog crew sits down with Frias Properties concierge Mariya Mitsinova to discuss the essential Aspen ski vacation tips to know. She has a lot of local, insider tips for planning an executing the ideal ski vacation, and we can't wait to get her input.
Q: When does the Aspen ski season begin? A: "It all depends on the snow conditions. Aspen Mountain and Snowmass usually open for the season around Thanksgiving and the other two mountains - Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands - second week of December. This winter the mountains opened early due to the great snowfall mid-November."
Q: How early should I begin planning? A: "At least one month in advance especially if you are spending the holidays in Aspen. The town gets really crowded and most restaurants sell out one month prior to the exact date. There is high demand for private lessons and all other winter activities such as dog sledding, snowmobiling, horse sleigh rides, spa appointments, etc. Many companies have waiting lists during the busiest time of the year. After the holidays are over it is easier to make reservations but I would still recommend that you plan ahead of time."
Q: When should I book my lodging? A: "The earlier you book, the better chance of getting the property you want. Frias offers a great variety of vacation rentals in downtown Aspen. It is just a matter of finding the one that suits your needs best and reserving it early before somebody else does. Most owners release their properties for rentals one year in advance."
Q: If I am coming over the holidays (Christmas and New Year's), what do I need to know? A: "Plan at least one month in advance! Make dinner reservations, do not expect to walk in and find a table. The restaurants are very crowded this time of the year. Most of them sell out really early and have long wait lists. Contact your property's concierge and send them a list of reservations that you need and let them do all the work. Easy! Make all bookings early. Many businesses have extended cancellation policy during the holidays - 14 days, 72 hours, etc., and require a credit card as a guarantee. Pay attention to each cancellation policy. "Avoid the long lines in the ticket office by purchasing your lift tickets at least seven days prior to the first day of skiing. Call Frias Properties concierge at 970-429-2449 to reserve and get the advance purchase rate. Pick them up from our front desk upon arrival. Easy, time/money saving and super convenient! "Order your ski rentals in advance and get fitted in your condo! No need to go wait in lines in the stores. Call our concierge desk to request a delivery."
Q: What do you recommend for lodging if I want to ski Aspen Mountain? A: "Most condos Frias Properties' manages are located within short walking distance from the Aspen Gondola. Chateau Dumont and Chateau Chaumont are only two blocks away. The Galena neighborhood is perfectly situated within a short walk - the collection of properties include the Fasching Haus, Fifth Avenue, Alpenblick. Shadow Mountain condos and Mountain Queen are next door to Lift 1A. All of our condos are in downtown Aspen and they have easy access to Aspen Mountain - either walking or a short bus ride."
Q: What do you recommend for lodging if I want to ski the other three mountains (Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass)? A: "Reserve a condo in downtown Aspen and take advantage of the convenient, free bus system. The buses leave town every 15-20 minutes and will take you directly to the slopes. Reserving lodging in downtown Aspen on the other hand guarantees access to all restaurants, art galleries, spas, events and activities in town every evening of your stay."
Q: How early do I need to purchase lift tickets? A: "At least seven days prior to the first day of skiing in order to get the advanced pricing and your tickets delivered to your check-in location."
Q: When should I make dinner reservations if I am coming over Christmas or New Year's? A: "More than a month prior to the exact date. Submit your list of reservations to concierge."
Q: Generally, when should I make dinner reservations? A: "Most restaurants start taking reservations one month to the date, not earlier than that."
Q: What are the advantages of flying into the Aspen airport? A: "It saves you a lot of time flying directly to Aspen. The road trip from Denver takes approximately four hours and the one from Eagle/Vail 1.5-2 hours, often driving in tough snow conditions. Transfers from the Aspen airport to the property are complimentary and included in your reservation with Frias."
Q: What are the advantages of hiring a luggage/ski delivery service? A: "Convenience above all. Ship your luggage to us and avoid the expensive airline fees. Order you ski equipment for delivery and get fitted in the convenience of your condo. Skip the long lines in the ski shops and be the first one to hit the slopes early in the morning!"
Q: For a ski vacation, am I going to need to rent a car? A: "Not really. If you are renting a condo in downtown Aspen - most restaurants and shops are within walking distance. We have an amazing free bus system. The ski buses will take you directly to the slopes. There is even free Wi-Fi on board! Parking spots are often difficult to find especially in downtown."
Q: What else can the Frias concierge desk do for a guest? A: "We can organize your vacation ahead of time and ensure that you will have the best experience possible in Aspen! Just let us know what you need."