Discover Aspen, Colorado

Georgina Wilson-Powell checks out the famous Colorado ski town in summer and finds it buzzing and beautiful

Aspen is one of those iconic American towns long associated with glamour, except it’s in the middle of the Rockies in Colorado, miles from anywhere. The great and the good (ok, well the glamorous anyway) descend on the former hippy town every winter for skiing but Aspen actually has more to offer in the warmer months when everyone lives outside and goes hiking in their lunchbreak. So what should be on your Aspen hit-list?

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Hiking the Maroon Bells
You’ll need to get up early but it’s worth it. One of the prettiest sections of the Rockies can be found at Maroon Bells, ten miles out of town. In the summer, the lower slopes are carpeted by wildflowers, streams wriggle their way down the mountains and hikers roam the many trails. Closer to town there are also numerous trails, many not very strenuous, more like gentle walks in the woods.

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Lunching on the roof of the Aspen Art Museum
The Shigeru Ban-designed museum opened in 2014 with a progressive mandate (Andy Warhol was in its debut show) and rooftop restaurant, SO café, which is as paired back as the rest of the interior. A daily changing seasonal menu showcases healthy food alongside a range of craft beer.

Practising yoga on top of a mountain
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Salute the sun at the top of Aspen mountain. During the summer, local studio Shakti Shala organises mid-morning yoga classes at 11,000 feet. Catch the Snow Queen gondola up, run through some salutations  – the altitude makes it even more of a workout than normal – and enjoy the spectacular views.

Experiencing the Saturday farmers’ market
From June to October, the busy weekly farmers’ market stretches out through town. Colorado is one of the most forward-thinking states when it comes to sustainability and you can feel the passion each weekend as people come together to talk all things food.

Downtown Aspen, Colorado.

Discovering the Ice Age
Aspen’s mountain range, the Sawatch, was carved out millions of years ago by enormous glaciers (it’s just 10 miles from the Continental Divide). They preserved, in their wake, one of the largest fossil finds in the US. Discovered in Snowmass Village in 2010, archaeologists uncovered mammoths, giant sloths, mastodons as well as ancient camel, deer and horse.

Learning how the local gin’s made
Tour the Woody Creek Distillery where they brew an award-winning range of craft gin, vodka and rye. The cocktail list is inventive, seasonal and wouldn’t be out of place in an East Coast speakeasy.

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Dining under the stars
If you’re in town when the Aspen Centre for Environmental Studies has one of its monthly farm-to-table dinners, get a reservation. A sustainable teaching farm, ACES is a spot of pastoral Eden in Colorado and its events sell out every time. If you can’t get a ticket, you can still head down there for a tour, it’s fascinating – whether you’re interested in food or farming.

Where to stay
Hotel Jerome is a historic, cosy five-star in the centre of town with a fabulous restaurant that’s the place to be seen. (hoteljerome.aubergeresorts.com). Outside town, at Snowmass, it’s perfect for longer hikes and fewer crowds. The Viceroy Snowmass is everything you’d expect from an international luxury stay with pools, a spa and Eight K, a fine dining seasonal restaurant (viceroyhotelsandresorts.com).

Make it real
Scott Dunn offers seven-night Aspen & Snowmass itineraries from £2,525 per person. This is based on two travelling and includes return British Airways flights and private airport transfers. For more information visit scottdunn.com or call 020 8682 5050.  For more information on Aspen and Snowmass visit aspenchamber.org or gosnowmass.com

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