Last winter we all gathered in Aspen, CO to celebrate the end of our friendâ€™s bachelorhood. The end of the nonsense. The grand finale of all things childish and disrespectful was upon him. The eve of the end of self and beginning of together-forever. Doomed or blessed only he could say, but we were there to send him off the right way and, frankly, our job was to test the limits of loveâ€™s kindness and patience and give him one last swing at being single. Right?
As soon as we arrived in Aspen the Bachelors singular command was â€œNo strippers!â€. We all give each other careful looks, saying nothing. Weeks earlier this was an emphatic demand on the phone. â€œSeriously, no strippers, I don’t want any of that shit.â€
The Bachelor is a stand up guy. His wife-to-be chose wisely; however, his friends are known degenerates and he knew damn well they could not be trusted with creating a wholesome gathering. Even if the venue had been picked for skiing above all else. The closest strip club to Aspen is 150 miles away. He was serious. Skiing was the foremost aim. Aspen is the perfect place for a bachelor who wants to ski. The town has great nightlife, fine dining and three hardcore mountains that will make any New York bachelor blush like a bride.
So it was. The tone had been set by the Bachelor himself. There was still doubt if this group could resist the temptation to manifest something risque over the course our 4 days stay in the Rocky Mountains. The crew was Gilliganâ€™s Island meets The Hangover. From disparate corners and backgrounds, the Bachelorâ€™s friends was gathered. The Bachelorâ€™s father, a former Army sergeant tank corpsman. The Circus Performer from San Francisco. The Fisherman from back east. The Public Defender from Steamboat Springs. The Brewer of independent beer from Nantucket. The Salesman from San Diego. The Business Tycoon from Toronto. The Investment Banker from Denver. The Consultant. And of course Slick Willy. No one really knows what he does. There were various others from around the country. Gathered together to tear up Aspen, twelve strong in all, with the Bachelor.
When I looked around at the motley crew stuffed into our downtown Aspen condo the Bachelorâ€™s words rang in my mind: â€œNo strippers!â€ I looked closely at the Brewer. He was one of the mischief makers of this group. But who needed strippers if you had good skiing? The problem was, we had no new snow yet – and none in the forecast. “No strippers!”
We picked Aspen as the place to gather because Aspen is the New York City of ski towns. There really is no other place like it. As a skier and a human being, you can get what you need in Aspen. Everything is right there for you.
Four mountains, a great town, hotels, restaurants and a genuine culture. We ate out a lot since no one wanted to cook for twelve, plus we didn’t mind due to the plethora of amazing choices. Sushi, Vegetarian, Italian – you name it – Aspen has what you need, from a five-star restaurant to a sandwich joint (check out to Jonny Maguireâ€™s). Looking back, one stand out for us was locally recommended Elevation. A Tasty American culinary experience, great customer service, strong cocktails and a topnotch wine list made Elevation a great choice. Toasts to the Bachelor and some loud laughter made us the bane of other patrons, but the staff didnâ€™t seem to mind and treated us right in the spirit of the event.
As we left the restaurant, a mass of unruly male energy, headed to the next stop at Belly Up for some live music. The Public Defender declared, â€œItâ€™s coming. The snow is coming.â€ It was a cloudless night and we had spent all day skiing spring-like conditions in classic Colorado sunshine. Bluebird. Sunburns and a few drinks around the pool at The Sky hotel had prefaced dinner. Snow seemed an unlikely event. It looked and felt like high pressure all the way. He seemed sure of himself. â€œIm telling you, itâ€™s coming.â€ No one paid much attention and we piled into Belly Up to watch Willie Nelsonâ€™s son, Luke Nelson, fire up a packed crowd in this world class music venue. The sound quality is ear bending in this venue. One-handed push ups, an eye patch and way too many shots of tequila ensued. The sage prediction swam in my head sometime past 1 am. Still not a cloud in the sky.
We woke up to ten inches of fresh snow and the fire drill was on. Even the Brewer and the Fisherman, the default late-night chemists of the group (who together imported cases of his company’s vodka (Triple Eight) with custom labels for the Bachelor), responsible for keeping the crew and himself up partying long past a reasonable hour, rallied in the face of the storm. Panting and sweating, the Business Tycoon, pulled his gear on. â€œHurting…â€ under his breath, struggling to buckle his boots. The Investment Banker puffed on a funny looking cigarette nonchalantly in preparation, looking a bit lost. Thanks to the guys over at Four Mountain Sports, we were fully geared up and ready to roll for our shaky three block shuffle to the Aspen gondola. 3200 vertical feet and a 20 minute ride and we were standing at 8,000 feet with the light Colorado champagne falling heavy, accumulating fast, with that excited backslapping enthusiasm that only comes from being with your best friends on a powder day. â€œNo strippers?â€ NO problem! The Bachelor was definitely stimulated. We spent most of our time dipping into the solid steep terrain and sparsely wooded terrain of Walshâ€™s continuing down to Gentlemenâ€™s Ridge and Bingo Glades. The snow kept coming. All day long it fell. Light and deep. Cold cotton candy melting in your mouth on every turn. Some of the less conditioned in the group began to fall off. The altitude and nonstop charge taking itâ€™s toll on the city dwellers. Those lucky enough to have built the legs had an all-time day. Out of breath smiles. â€¨â€œThis was a great call. This is incredible,â€ the bachelor declared to no one in-particular.
Back at The Sky hotelâ€™s pool deck we soaked and reveled in our luck. The snow continued to fall steady, total accumulations were approaching 18â€ in less than 24 hours. Yesterday we had been tanning in t-shirts, today the snow was falling in fat flakes. The drinks kept coming, the Circus Performer sang everyone a song with his Ukulele. Apres blended into appetizers and then on-the-go food, which faded into another night on the town, visiting myriad watering holes and horrifying visitors and locals alike with unacceptable bender-like behavior. Whenever we went to far, we always had the Bachelor to hold out like a get-out-of -jail-free card. It was our last night in Aspen and the celebration was rolling from hot tub, to bar, and back to our condo. The snow continued to fall outside.
It stopped snowing in the early morning. The storm dumped 30 inches total and then sun came back out. Bluebird powder day. Another hungover fire drill. We lost a few soldiers to the Irish flu, but the Bachelor led the charge until the snow started to set up and consolidate under the high altitude sun. We skied off International and bombed Ruthieâ€™s as a group. That afternoon, we pressed â€œrepeatâ€ one last time on the Sky pool deck and soaked up more rays, unable to contain ourselves from re-living the last three days over and over. We hit it perfect. â€œUnbelievable,â€ the Bachelor repeated.
It was an all-time bachelor party, and suffice it to say our bachelor got everything he needed on and off the hill.
If you’re a Bachelor who lives to ski…screw Vegas. Go to Aspen.
Special thanks to Meredith McKee and Melissa Rhines at Aspen Ski Co for helping coordinate this band of idiots and telling us where to go and when. And to both Four Mountain Sports, The Sky Hotel and Elevation for putting up with our party and doing a great job.
Make sure to take advantage of deals all season long in Aspen by clicking HERE
Aspen will be open later than usual this year due to the late Easter holiday. Highlands will close April 24th – 3 weeks later than usual!
Four Mountain Sports
520 E. Durant, across from the Gondola, CafÃ© Ink shares our space.
Open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. 365 days a year!
304 East Hopkins Ave
Aspen, CO 81611
970 544 5166
The Sky Hotel
Order a Red Bull Vodka from Denis the best RBV technician in town!
709 E. Durant Avenue
Aspen, CO 81611