Located just 9 miles apart, Aspen and Snowmass Village are renowned winter playgrounds and supremely vibrant communities in summer and fall. However, they are cut from different cloth, and interwoven with different vibes that also manage to complement one another.
So, we decided to feature them together as they share a horizon of 14,000-foot mountains, a roster of year-round mountain activities and Aspen Skiing Company, the owner and operator of the valley’s four ski areas that are all distinct in terrain, ski level required and personality: Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass.
For groups that want to give back while in town, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers can help planners link up with trail project as there are more than 1,000 miles of trails located in the regional community that stretches from Aspen to Rifle. Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers provides the technical assistance, tools and logistical support to make it easy.
History: Starting out as a summer hunting camp for the Ute Indians, Aspen's first white settlers, mostly miners, arrived by 1870 in search of silver. Aspen rapidly became home to more than 12,000 miners and their families, but the repeal of the Sherman Silver Act of 1893 caused the population to plummet to less than 1,000. By the late 1940s, both skiing and modern-day founders, Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke, arrived in town. The Paepckes had a vision for a community that embodied mind, body and spirit and prompted a civic and cultural renaissance that is still alive today as "The Aspen Idea."
Accommodations: 50 properties
From a Planner:
Downtown Colorado, Inc. held its IN THE GAME annual conference on April 9-12, 2019 in Aspen, utilizing a variety of venues to host more than 250 attendees during receptions, happy hour, sessions and Colorado Challenge Studio Workshops, including Limelight Hotel Aspen, Jewish Community Center, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES), The Post Brewery, Design Workshop and PR Studio, and overflow accommodations at Molly Gibson Lodge, Hotel Aspen and The Gant.
Dine-around sessions provide attendees a chance for participants to dive deeper into subjects covering Aspen's business support, historic preservation, and planning and mobility initiatives at local restaurants including Mezzaluna, The Pyramid, Mi Chola, Hops Culture, The Red Onion, and Su Casa. Meanwhile, tours showcased many of Aspen's amenities including the award-winning pedestrian mall, Aspen Art Museum, Wheeler/Stallard Historical Museum and Bauhaus architecture at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Meadows Resort. The history pub crawl also was a highlight along with a pre-conference session in Glenwood Springs that focused on the Grand Avenue Bridge project, a bus tour with lunch that visited downtown Basalt, and a post-conference historic ski tour.
“Our conference stands out compared to most because we showcase the host community to share all of the assets and amenities with interactive sessions that are out in the town. DCI participants were out of their seats engaging with one another and seeing the city of Aspen first hand,” says Executive Director Katherine Correll. "Aspen was a perfect host for IN THE GAME with such a beautiful setting, quality of restaurants and retail, rich history, quality of planning efforts, and incredible partners that make this community truly unique.”
W Aspen and The Sky Residences opened in August 2019 and is the first alpine property in North America for W Hotels Worldwide. Located at the base of Aspen Mountain, W Aspen features 88 guestrooms, 11 residences, two meeting rooms, a 12,000-square-foot rooftop bar and pool, Living Room restaurant, and 39 Degrees cocktail bar.
Aspen Art Tours is the first free professionally guided walking tour of the community’s art galleries and studios. It’s a unique opportunity to learn the stories behind the art.
JAS Center will be Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ new permanent home in the Aspen core for JAS Café performances, jazz education programming and private events starting in 2021.
A new center dedicated to the work of Bauhaus artist and Aspen icon Herbert Bayer is planned for the Aspen Institute campus. The new center will exhibit Bayer’s work from a private collection, the Aspen Institute’s holdings and pieces on loan from museums. An opening date is yet to be determined.
Walter Isaacson Center at Aspen Meadows Resort on the Aspen Institute campus was unveiled with a new look and name in 2018 after a 10-month, $13 million renovation. Designed by Herbert Bayer and opened in 1958, the building completely updated and expanded to include the Madeleine K. Albright Pavilion and Bren and Mel Simon Terrace above. The Walter Isaacson Center also is home to the hotel’s front desk, three dining outlets and several outdoor patios.
Hunter Loft, Aspen's newest venue offering 3,700 square feet of contemporary event space, is located one block from the Aspen gondola and can accommodate up to 200 guests.
The Little Nell is celebrating its 30th anniversary with interior renovation of the living room, lobby, après-ski bar Chair 9 and Ajax Tavern and commemorative events and happenings throughout the 2019/20 winter season.
Hotel Jerome unveiled a two-part addition and restoration project that included the Aspen Times building next door, the courtyard in between the two, and a new Suites Building in 2018. The Aspen Times building underwent exterior improvements and now features a speakeasy, Bad Harriet, and an entertainment venue.
Examples of Properties with Meeting & Event Space (including square footage):
- St. Regis Aspen Resort – 32,500
- Aspen Meadows Resort – 22,000
- Aspen Ice Garden – 16,000
- The Little Nell - 14,800 (including Sundeck and Aspen Mountain Club)
- Hotel Jerome – 13,100
- Wheeler Opera House – 6,400
- Limelight Hotel Aspen – 5,600
- The Gant – 5,500
- Aspen Art Museum – 3,200
- Aspen Shakti Shala – 2,300
Ideas for Activities: Snowmobile into the White River National Forest or through a historic mining ghost town with T-Lazy-7 guides; raft, kayak, stand up paddle board or go on a jeep adventure with Blazing Adventures; concert at the famous Belly Up Aspen.
Food Experiences: Horse-drawn sleigh ride lunch or dinner at Pine Creek Cookhouse; Cooking School of Aspen classes and team-building; private cellar tasting and dinner at The Little Nell’s element 47; FOOD & WINE Classic.
History: Ute Indians hunted, fished and gathered food around the valley 800 years ago, and the first non-natives explored the Elk Mountains as early as 1853. The area was settled primarily as a ranching community by the beginning of the 20th century, and Snowmass opened to skiers in December 1967.
Accommodations: 32 properties
From a Planner:
The Colorado Defense Lawyers Association is holding its second event, an annual conference, in Snowmass on July 30-Aug. 1, 2020 at The Westin Snowmass Resort and Snowmass Conference Center. “The layout of the conference center works really well for us because of the number of vendor tables, size of general sessions, and plenty of breakout rooms. There also is abundant amount of hotel rooms close by,” notes CDLA Marketing Director/Event Planner Glenna Donegan. “We love Snowmass; it works well for us.”
Evening activities typically involve planning for a group of 450, including attendees’ guests. “Our Thursday night opening reception event will be at The Westin’s backyard, where the outdoor concert series will be our background music. Our Friday night event will be at Elk Camp on the top of the mountain and the Saturday closing reception at Limelight Hotel Snowmass,” says Donegan.
Additional activities on the itinerary are a golf tournament at River Valley Ranch in Carbondale, fun for families at the ski area’s Lost Forest. Overflow lodging includes the Limelight, Viceroy Snowmass and Wildwood Snowmass.
Snowmass Base Village was the most significant ski resort project in Colorado for the 2018/19 ski season. The new $600 million development debuted in December 2018 and features Limelight Hotel Snowmass (99 hotel rooms, 11 condominiums and 2,000 square feet of function space) and a spacious public plaza with an ice rink surrounded by fire pits, a five-story climbing wall, shops, restaurants and luxury residences. Skating and skate rentals are free all winter, and there is daily programming and themed skating nights. Ice bumper cars are debuting as a pop-up for the holiday season.
The Collective, a community center, continues the expansion of the base area with a new restaurant focused on healthy eating, Mix6 by award-winning Aspen chef Martin Oswald, as well as MoxiBar for inventive cocktails, craft beers and wine. A game lounge and a community lounge featuring local entertainment, speakers and live music also are among the highlights.
“The Collective Lounge is ideally suited for live music, corporate meetings and events, banquets, birthday parties, reunions and more, and the Snowmass Game Lounge offers a unique interactive space featuring an Xbox video game area, a foosball table, a ping- pong table, neon-lit pinball, lounge space and more,” says Plaza and Events Manager Dawn Blasberg. “The rink is available both winter and summer with opportunities to host skating parties, markets, concerts, art shows, birthday parties, corporate gatherings, weddings, receptions and dinners.”
Sam’s, a new Italian restaurant located at 10,620 ft. at the top of Sam’s Knob on Snowmass, is a modern Italian concept offering diners sweeping views of the Elk Mountains. The $2.5 million remodel features an open bar area, live-action kitchen, fireplace and deck, and slipper room so guests can remove their ski boots and dine in comfort.
The on-mountain adventure center Lost Forest debuted in summer 2018 and features Breathtaker Alpine Coaster, Canopy Run Zipline Tour, Treeline Trial Challenge Course, Rugged Ascent Climbing Wall, and Aerial Approach Disc Golf.
Viceroy Snowmass Resort & Spa has undergone a major refresh over the past three years including all public spaces, a new restaurant concept, the pool area and most recently a re-design of all guest and residential spaces completed in 2019.
Examples of Properties with Meeting & Event Space (including square footage):
Ideas for Activities: Dog sledding and dining with Krabloonik; horseback rides with Snowmass Creek Outfitters; Snowmass Free Concert Series in summer and Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series in winter; Snowmass Rodeo; Ullr Nights and Farm-to-Table Dinners at Elk Camp; and ACES Snowshoe Tours.
Food Experiences: Free Snowmass S’Mores every afternoon at Snowmass Base Village; dine at the on-mountain at Lynn Britt Cabin and Gwyn’s High Alpine; beer pairing dinner at Stonebridge Inn’s The Artisan Restaurant; Backcountry Sunset Dinner and jeep ride to historic Burlingame Cabin with Blazing Adventures.
Aspen Chamber Resort Association
Aspen Skiing Company