I’ve just had the joy of spending a week in Aspen and I can’t over emphasize what a pleasure it has been. First things first, the skiing was amazing. It snowed over two feet of blower powder just before I arrived and the temperature was cold enough to make it last with a few little refreshes during the week. However, it’s so much more than just good conditions that makes Aspen so fun.
There’s an amazing number of finely tuned skiers around here, and I’ve formulated a theory that the mountain breeds technically great skiers because in Aspen you have to be on your game if you want to keep up with the posse. It’s all about the pitch of the slope, the spacing of the trees, and most of all, the micro terrain such as whoops and bumps and moguls and jumps. If you can’t choose a smooth line through all the whoops and jumps you’ll get lost in the dust. Locals here are fast and fluid and ski with amazing control. If you ever get to watch a freeskiing contest just take note of the Aspen skiers and you’ll see that they’re some of the most technically sound that are out there. Mark Welgos, Jacqui Edgerly, and telemarkers Nick Devore and Will Cardamone are just a few of the amazing skiers I took a free lesson from this week. There are many more that you won’t see in a contest, but that you may catch a breif glimse of as they haul ass through the trees solely for the joy of wind in the face, gravity acting upon human mass, and good times among friends.
I’ve also noticed that people are very happy here; from locals to visitors, the percentage of people who are in a great mood is through the roof! Locals are happy, guests are happy, and everybody has a great time.
I cant help but contrast skiing here with an average weekend mission to your chosen big name ski resort, which might involve auto traffic, a massive parking lot, ski rental lines, lift ticket lines, lift lines, over crowded slopes, lunch lines, overpriced poor quality food and beverages, and then more traffic to get home. Aspen doesn’t really have any of that stuff, on account of eliminating the need to drive and having excellent management and customer service. In the morning you can find free coffee, with real half n half, sunscreen, granola bars and hot cider in the afternoons. Also, after having been quite frustrated with the disorder in the KT lift line lately, it was easy to notice how good line mazes improve the flow of traffic and make lift loading easy.
The food on the mountain is cheaper and ten times more delicious than a normal ski lodge, not to mention the endless establishments just a snowballs throw from the slopes that all offer fantastic food and value. Aspen may have a rap for being expensive, but on the contrary, I’m confident you won’t find a better value at any big name ski area anywhere in the USA. At least in Aspen if it’s a $15 burger it’ll likely be a thick half pound of Kobe and cooked with duck fat and come with garlic truffle fries. Yep, while I may be ashamed of my Apres representation on this trip, I will have to claim that I ate the shit out of a Sky Bar burger, and the place seems to always be going off!
This trip and always, my impression is that Aspen is a great town and ski company, and visiting their ski area would have you believe their number one priority is acting courteously and responsibly toward their patrons and the environment, and I think its true. I love skiing at a resort that acknowledges that their actions affect their future, and accordingly has minimized their environmental impact and is politically involved at a national level to improve environmental law for all people that like skiing on real snow.