No need to introduce Aspen. However, this ski resort with a glamorous and ultra-chic reputation, which precedes it, has not always been the meeting place for skiers and big fortunes. Originally a modest mining town, Aspen seduced industrialists and philanthropists Walter and Elizabeth Paepke in 1949, who imagined the town as an international cultural centre. The idea is to take advantage of its openness to nature and to establish numerous cultural infrastructures there to nourish both the body and the spirit. Spend the day while cultivating in the evening. It worked, the city soon hosted prestigious cultural programs and became known on the international cultural scene. Sports activities such as hiking, rafting, horseback riding, cycling, fly fishing, climbing and of course skiing are increasingly popular. Then fashion and gastronomy develop and quickly and Aspen becomes a very coveted small mountain town. Today, it has more than a hundred bars and restaurants, nearly 200 shops and numerous art galleries. Its small town centre, lined with historic buildings, is elegant and full of charm and its reliefs, whose colors change with the seasons, offer a myriad of activities and sporting leisure activities.
Aspen is also the city of all extremes, that of elegant fifty-somethings who walk around on sunny days dressed in thick fur with their arms loaded with packages, that of ski buffs and other sliding fans, but also that of locals, for whom life has become inaccessible and who often combine several jobs to make ends meet at the end of the month. If you’re in town mid-season, watch out for addresses that close or idle between summer and ski season, and if you’re around mid-April, don’t miss the amazing closing nights stations. In autumn, the aspens (deciduous trees that gave their name to the city) are adorned with unique golden reflections. But whatever the period, the essentials in Aspen remain sports activities during the day and outings in the city center at night. The small downtown is easily traversed on foot and is rather safe. You will also have more chances in the middle of the night to come across a lost bear than a dangerous criminal.