By Jessie G.
There is nothing better than a ski vacation in Colorado. My family can now check Aspen off the list of mountains we hope to visit. With fresh powder, an unbelievable town, and delicious food, my trip to Aspen was amazing!
We stayed at the St. Regis hotel. This hotel normally costs around $2000 a night, but because of my mom’s (The Points Mom) savvy point skills, she managed to get us 5 nights at the St. Regis… free on points! My family had two rooms: my brothers and me in one, my parents in another. The room was spacious and had a great mountain view. The hotel was awesome! There were hot chocolate and marshmallows every day after skiing. My brothers and I stuck to just the marshmallows :). There was a great pool and hot tub and chocolates from turn down service (yes!). Also, the hotel is practically in the beautiful Aspen town. It was a 5-minute walk tops to get somewhere in town, which was a plus! Every day, we would walk across the street to Aspen Sports, where we would pick up our skis and boots and leave our shoes. Easy!
On the night we arrived, we ate dinner at the hotel. The menu options were limited, but the food still tasted great, and the service was awesome. We headed to bed after a long day of travel and prepared for our first day of skiing. However, unfortunately, I was sick, so I was stuck on bed rest. The rest of my family skied at Aspen-Ajax and said the conditions were great! For dinner, we headed to Acqualina, an Italian place in the center of town. I had yummy seafood risotto and was thrilled. We then headed to the only and, therefore, our favorite dessert place in Aspen, Paradise Bakery (the samples there are 100% terrific (full-sized cookies!)). The bakery is cute and has many different options.
The next day, we made our way to Aspen-Snowmass. Luckily, I was better. My family decided not to rent a car for the trip, so we were stuck with the bus service (which actually was great). We walked a block to the bus stop (in our ski boots) and hopped on a bus for 20 minutes. Next thing you know, you are at the Snowmass Base. Snowmass is the biggest mountain of the three (Ajax, Highlands, and Snowmass) and offers terrain for different ranges of skiers. Snowmass is also the most crowded. The conditions were fantastic on the mountain with tons of powder! Lunch was great too. After a long day of skiing, I headed to the Red Onion for dinner with friends, while the rest of my family went for Asian Fusion. I did not love the Red Onion menu but was lucky to order up a great salad. Plus, our appetizers (spinach and artichoke dip and guac and chips) tasted great. The food was good, but not amazing.
The next day, we headed to my favorite mountain, Aspen-Highlands. We hopped on the bus for about 10 minutes and arrived. This mountain isn’t so big and offers harder terrain than Snowmass and Ajax. At Highlands, you can hike for 30 minutes to arrive at a bowl. Our day consisted of great snow, double black diamonds, chicken fingers at lunch, and frozen toes. After lunch, we decided we wanted to hike to the back bowl (ugh). However, luckily, when we were about to start our climb, a cat took us three-quarters of the way up the mountain. It was great to see the other skiers walking as we zoomed past them (sorry guys, at least you got exercise). When we reached the top, chaos broke out. I couldn’t get my ski on and was super close to losing my ski and face planting over the edge of the mountain. My friend, Mia, lost her ski and it flew down the mountain. She was stuck sliding down the mountain on her butt, with my friend, Ellie, there to break her fall. The hill was very steep and had tons of moguls, so it is 100% for daredevils and experts. After a long, scary, leg day, I headed to a barbecue place for dinner. The menu was overwhelming, and the food was okay. The ribs were great, but the mac and cheese and salad I had were just eh. The service was super fast though!
The next day, we headed back to our home base, Aspen-Ajax. Unfortunately, we did not have the luxury of taking a bus, so we were stuck walking 3 blocks in boots while carrying our skis to get to the base of the mountain. This mountain also offers harder terrain but a wider variety of terrain compared to Highlands. The conditions were great, and we went on awesome runs from greens to the most extreme double blacks.
Later, my friend Mia and I headed into town to do some shopping. We spent our time in Aviator Nation, where I sampled different pairs of sweatpants, and she tried on numerous sweatshirts. We were both very indecisive about what to buy (especially with the high prices), so I stuck with making the hard decision to get something online. We headed to The White House for dinner. This restaurant does not take reservations and is very popular, so you must put your name down and wait in line. Luckily for my family, we had no wait but were stuck eating at 530. The food was amazing. I had a yummy grouper sandwich and had spinach and artichoke dip and meatballs to start. It was my favorite restaurant of the trip.
For our final day of skiing, we headed to Snowmass. The mountain was pretty crowded, and the visibility was not great, but it was still an awesome last day of skiing. However, this night, we were booked in the Westin in Snowmass because my mom couldn’t scramble up the points for another night at the St. Regis. We stayed at this Westin a few years ago, and it has amazing ski in and ski out. It also is a very nice hotel, but the walk to our room was a shlep. We ate dinner at our hotel at Snowmass Kitchen. I had a great salad, but the service was very slow. The food took almost an hour for an almost empty restaurant, but the food tasted good.
All in all, our one-week ski trip to Aspen was fantastic. Even though my feet were frozen and my cheeks red, the skiing was incredible. Every day, none of the mountains were crowded (which was shocking). We never had to wait in lines and were often on trails by ourselves. I highly recommend Aspen to a ski family who wants to try out a new mountain.