Aspen: Eden with an attitude

Camille Bounds

Aspen conjures up visions of a glitzy playground where the well-heeled hang out and enjoy the high life. That is an absolutely true vision.
No slow seasons: Everyone should visit Aspen, if for no other reason than to see its beauty and a look at the most eclectic community in this hemisphere. With a population of more than 6,000, this little metropolis doesn’t seem to have a slow season. Winter attracts some of the finest and wealthiest skiers in the world. Summer hosts prime symphonies, artists, theatre and the arts, including renowned ballet companies. Using the stunning background of Aspen Mountain for unmatched golfing, biking, fly-fishing and horseback riding, Aspen is an uncommon delight.  
Gourmet’s delight: There is no such thing as a bad restaurant in Aspen (it wouldn’t survive more than five minutes). Everything from basic healthy to five star gourmet is available and dining is a continuous grand experience no matter where you choose to have a meal.
Interesting and upscale: Downtown Aspen is easily explored on foot. The Aspen Historical Society offers a walking tour brochure, a great aid for exploring the area. Graceful Victorian mansions now house fine boutiques, upscale shops and restaurants, and offer creative shopping and dining experiences.
A ski lift in the middle of town: The Ajax lift is located in the middle of town and will take you on a breathtaking ride up the mountain to the “Sundeck,” where there are refreshments and panoramic lookouts.
Aspen Mountain – known as “Ajax,” after an old mining claim – has some of the finest runs in the country for experienced skiers. Andre Roch cut the first run in 1937 and the mountain quickly developed a reputation among expert skiers. It offers more than 3,000 feet of steep vertical drop from the 11,212 foot summit. The Silver Queen Gondola arrives from the base to the top in 14 minutes, and other lifts – including one quad super chair lift – operate on the slope. With a slew of double diamond runs, this mountain is for experts.
Looking for refined elegance?: If you’re looking for refined elegance and luxury without the stuffed shirt syndrome, the St. Regis is for you.  From the moment you drive into the inviting front entrance – guarded by a stunning elk sculpture called “Standing Watch” by Jim Agius – and into the newly refurbished lobby, you enter a special world with an unique atmosphere. It can all be summed up in one word: Class.
It took more than 800,000 Colorado red bricks to construct this warm, inviting giant, with 257 rooms.
In winter, there is a ski concierge who will coordinate all your skiing needs, and a ski valet service across from the main entrance. “Aspen Sports” will pick up your equipment, and return your skis and boots the next morning.
Summer finds the concierge staff ready to arrange any activity, from arts to hiking, mountain biking and hot air ballooning.
There is a heated outdoor swimming pool with a sundeck and a complete fitness center and massage therapists are available. The St. Regis Salon offers full service beauty treatments.
Impressive dining: St. Regis features The Restaurant with fine, regional cuisine with an international flair. The Spice Rubbed Elk Tenderloin and the Cedar Wrapped Alaskan King Salmon are just two impressive entrees on a vast menu.
The Chef’s Club, with the magazine “Food and Wine,” is St. Regis’ newest venture. They select chefs from the coveted list of “Best New Chefs” and create new menus in collaboration with the St. Regis culinary team.
Shadow Mountain Lounge overlooks  Aspen Mountain and welcomes you with a roaring fireplace in the skiing months. Relax after a day of skiing or golfing/fishing with cocktails, aperitifs, wines and domestic and imported beers.
For those who want a little more privacy and attention, the Club Floor is accessible only by a key-activated elevator. Here, a personal concierge staff offers complimentary food and beverage selections and many extra services.

– United Airlines will get you to Aspen, Colo. from San Francisco
– Aspen Chamber Resort Association, call (970)
925-1940

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