Aspen and Snowmass, Colorado

With over $138 million invested in on-mountain improvements over the past seven seasons, Aspen/Snowmass gives guests a winter playground to remember on its four large mountains.

Open since 1947, the resort has recently added 11 new lifts, the Treehouse Kids’ Adventure Centre, three new restaurants, additional terrain and the new Snowmass Base Village.

This season you’ll find a new 12-foot beginner’s halfpipe at Snowmass, free-guided tours of Highland Bowl, sunset skiing dates, an extended season, art on the mountains…and more.

Aspen Divas offers ski and life coaching for women, while the powder tours give everyone a chance to go ‘out of bounds’ in style on a cat ski, ideal for getting a snow fix on the back of the mountain – and enjoying a gourmet lunch.

And for those who like to go off piste there’s also ski guiding, with hosts who can cater for all levels except beginners.

You’ll join the playground of the rich, as many celebs come to party here – and many have second homes close to the slopes.

The resort is a four and a half hours transfer time from Denver is. Aspen city is just 15 minutes away, but there are no direct flights from the UK.

Luxury appeal    
Culture, history, fine dining, a lively town and some of the best shopping in Colorado, this place is a magnet for the rich and famous who adore everything from the uncrowded pistes to the friendly people. Rich or not, you’ll feel like a millionaire on these powdered, pampered slopes.

Star attraction  
Jack Nicholson, Lance Armstrong, Kevin Costner, Mariah Carey, Antonio Banderas, Melanie Griffith, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, Charlie Sheen, and John Denver love Aspen. Many of them have homes there.

There are a total of 5,305kms of piste on Aspen, Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass mountains and 335 runs – 44 easy, 135 intermediate and 156 difficult. The longest run is Long Shot on Snowmass – 8.4kms. The 2,385m resort also has three terrain parks and 80kms of cross-country tracks. The ski season runs from November 24 2011 until April 22, 2012

Apres ski
Whether you want active sport – snowmobiling, hot air ballooning, snowshoeing, or Husky dog sledding there’s plenty to do. And when it comes to food and drinks you’re spoilt for choice, with over 100 restaurants, plus mountain restaurants, and lots of late entertainment bars and events.

Location, location
The resort is located in Pitkin County, Colorado, just above Aspen. It is situated on the north flank of Aspen Mountain (for which it is named) and the higher Bell Mountain (3418 m) just to the south of Aspen Mountain.

Briony Key has worked for the Scotsman and Travel Weekly and currently writes for Time and Leisure, planetski and Family Ski News. She loves action sports and is this year taking on a Ben Nevis challenge for the British Heart Foundation. Her hobbies include travel, restoring old furniture and working in theatre wardrobes.

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