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About Aspen and Things To Do

About Aspen

Located in a valley on the banks of the Roaring Fork River, Aspen is about 100 miles southwest of Denver. With Red Mountain to the north, Smuggler Mountain to the east, and Aspen Mountain to the south, Aspen has four world renown ski resorts within 12 miles, and has consistently excellent snow quality. Aspen is also becoming a summer and fall vacation destination as well, with its scenic beauty, nature hiking and bicycling drawing off season visitors to the many vacation rental homes, resorts, and cabins in the area.



Aspen offers an outdoor oriented getaway with a variety of cabins, vacation homes, hotels, and resorts. Choose an accommodation near any of Aspen's local attractions that offers comfort while making the most of the beautiful mountains and attractions at affordably priced rates.



The Aspen Fine Art Gallery, located on the Hyman Avenue Mall, specializes in avant-garde, post-Impressionism, and contemporary artists, including 14-year-old sensation, Alexandra Nechita. You can also see works from Cuba, Europe, Turkey and the former Soviet Union. For over 60 years,  the T Lazy 7 Ranch family has been leading vacationers into the pristine Colorado mountains on horseback guided day trips, including one to the famed Maroon Bells. You can also arrange for two- to three-day pack trips, which include cooked meals by the staff. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is a  family-friendly environmental center that is ideal for those who are outdoor-curious, a perfect introduction to the great outdoors. Ashcroft Ghost Town is located in the Ashcroft Valley, offering access to both stunning mountain beauty and Old West history. In 1883, this former mining town was prospering with 20 saloons, a school and two newspapers. Today twelve original buildings still stand as silent monuments to a bygone era.



Wintersköl is Aspen's annual “toast to winter,” dating back to January, 1951 when locals decided to celebrate Aspen's unique Nordic lifestyle with a weekend of festivities, featuring on-mountain activities, a parade, a canine fashion show, a World's Fair, and fireworks. Taking place in June, the Food & Wine Magazine Classic in Aspen is one of the nations most respected epicurean events, highlighted by some of the most famous chefs in the world. Aspen's spectacular mountain setting provides a wonderful open air gallery for the Aspen Art Festival in July, with over 150 exhibitors offering jewelry, pottery, sculpture, glass, ceramics, paintings and prints.


Mountain Activities

The slopes and ski runs that surround Aspen offer some of the finest winter sports in the world, but they do not have to be covered in snow to be enjoyed. While Aspen is well known for the skiing and snowboarding, Aspen in the summer and fall offers spectacular backgrounds for hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, camping, and fishing.



Summer in Aspen offers a great golf vacation and you can enjoy a competitive golf game on one of the many fine golf courses located within the Aspen area. The area has both private and public golf courses for both 9 and 18 holes of play, with professionals available for lessons. Great courses, beautiful greens and spectacular mountain views are just a couple of reasons why visitors can enjoy their golf vacation getaway.



The first prospectors crossed over the Continental Divide from Leadville in the spring of 1879 and settled in the camp they called Ute City. A number of hopeful prospectors settled in the camp and by the summer of 1880 the town, which had grown to 300 residents, was renamed Aspen.


By 1890, thousands of fortune seekers had arrived in Aspen to stake their claims or work in the mines. At its height, Aspen boasted 12,000 residents, 6 newspapers, 4 schools, 3 banks, 10 churches, a hospital, and an opera house.


In 1893, the U.S. Government decided to no longer purchase silver to back its currency and within weeks, most of the mines in Aspen were closed down. By the 1930's Aspen's population had shrunk to about 700, mostly ranchers and farmers. It was during this period that some investors became interested in the area as a ski destination, although they were unable to develop it until after World War II. During the war, the 10th Mountain division trained in the area and many of the instructors recognized the potential of the area for skiing as well.


After the second world war, many of the 10th Mountain Division's soldiers relocated to Aspen and began buying up land with the idea of building a ski area. Financial backing came from Chicago industrialist Walter Peapcke, who developed a vision of Aspen as much more than a ski resort. In 1949, the Paepckes organized the Goethe Bicentennial Convocations which established the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies and the Aspen Music Festival. During the same period the Paepckes were active, Andre Roch formed the Aspen Ski Club and designated a ski run on Aspen Mountain. The first chair lift, then the longest in the world, was constructed on Aspen Mountain. The Aspen resort complex continued to grow with the opening of Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk in 1958, followed by Snowmass Mountain in 1967.


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