Local Beta: Aspen Snowmass
Here’s the inside line on where to eat, sleep, ski, repeat
Hometown: Aspen, Colorado
Sponsors: Aspen Snowmass, BCA, Dalbello, Dude Wipes, Line, Mons Royale, Perky Jerky, Smith Optics, TREW
Aspen, Colorado: The locals are a wacky cast of characters, there’s always a party and the mountain is full of challenging terrain. Among the wackiest, the first to get a rager started and the most talented skiers in town is Colter Hinchliffe. The Aspen native spends much of his time globe-trotting with Teton Gravity Research, but when he’s back home, there’s hardly a better person to follow around—both on the resort and in town.
Best place to catch the sunrise: At about 13,000 feet ascending the Maroon Bells.
Best groomer run: Spar Gulch on Aspen Mountain. “Spar to the bar” will make you want to move here.
Best lift to lap on a pow day: 1A at Ajax or Deep Temerity on Aspen Highlands.
Best glades: S1 on Aspen Mountain.
Best place to scare yourself: Aspen Mountain’s Traynor Ridge.
Best place to stay for fancy digs: The Little Nell is widely regarded as top dog, but I think the St. Regis is swankier.
Best place to stay for affordable digs: St. Moritz, the closest thing to a hostel, but it’s not even close.
Best coffee shop in town: Victoria’s. It has French-pressed coffee and you can skip the whole line if you stuff $2 in the locals’ jar. Grab and go.
Best breakfast spot on Aspen Mountain: Bonnie’s. Duh.
Best thing about Bonnie’s mid-mountain restaurant: All the flags on the deck. Some people would argue that it’s the pancakes, though.
Best breakfast spot in town: I’m going to go with the classic Main St. Bakery & Cafe.
Best dinner spot in town: Maru has a great local vibe and it’s cheap(ish). It’s a farm-to-table type of place. Grey Lady also has some damn good East Coast-style seafood.
Best après spot at Aspen Mountain’s base area: Sky Hotel. The hot tub. The food. Everything.
Best nightlife spot: Belly Up if you can afford the show. Pregame hard, ‘cause it ain’t cheap and no one gets hooked up with deals. Escobar smells like sh#t, but I’ve had some great nights there, regardless.
Best ski shop: Hamilton Sports. Good dudes, good chicks, good gear.
Best thing about the surrounding backcountry skiing: No one is out there. It’s been getting more and more popular but it’s all local homies, and there is no ego out there—none of that Jackson ‘tude.
Best hot tub to poach: The Gant.
Best place to feel like a local: The Red Onion.
Best off-hill activity: I haven’t done it yet, but Aspen Ice Karting has go-karts with metal spikes coming out of the tires and you race them around a frozen lake. It’s just a little bit down valley.
Strangest, yet coolest thing to do in the general area: Rock climbing. Even in the middle of winter, there is a south-facing crag in town and a bunch more down in Glenwood Springs and New Castle.
Best place to visit on a down day: Penny Hot Springs—also down valley, but it’s all-natural, free and right on the river.
Best place to get a bottle of champagne: Highlands’ Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro. Spray it on the ceiling.