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Destination Aspen: Colorado’s Ski and Mountain Star

Aspen has it all—clean air, culture, designer shops and fine dining, and of course the world’s best skiing and outdoor pursuits. Read on to learn why Aspen is the “Beverly Hills of the mountains,” and take a glimpse of what’s hot on Aspen’s luxury real estate market

Few towns can truly claim to be a year-round locale, particularly for outdoor recreation, but Aspen really does have something special to offer visitors in whichever season they visit. 

As little as three-and-a-half hours from New York and two from Los Angeles by private jet, the Colorado hotspot has been the escape destination of choice for discerning travelers for more than a century, offering world-class skiing and snowboarding, trekking, and trail walking, as well as upscale retail and dining. It’s also an exclusive four-season destination for luxury homebuyers. 

Year-Round Vacationing and Luxury Living

Skiing in Aspen Colorado Snowmass
One of four mountain destinations in Colorado, Aspen Snowmass attracts expert skiers and snowboarders. Image: Catherine Aeppel. Banner image: Matt Power

Snow lovers from the world over come to the Aspen Snowmass resort, in White River National Forest, lured by its slopes—from the gentle hills of Buttermilk to the expert terrain of the Aspen Highlands—and beguiled by the forest’s Flat Tops Wilderness Area, with its alpine meadows, cliffs, and wildlife.

Another natural wonder is Maroon Lake, which gently reflects the soaring peaks of Maroon Bells mountains.

Visitors who come during warmer months can also explore Independence Pass, a high mountain corridor east of Aspen, which affords views of Colorado’s highest peaks.

Highlights of a summer weekend spent in Aspen might include taking in a talk at the Aspen Ideas Festival, hosted by the renowned Aspen Institute and running June 20–29, 2023.

Another option is a stroll around the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen, which sees some of the world’s most accomplished chefs gather to offer cooking demonstrations, tastings, and discussions over three days, June 16-18, 2023.

Downtown Aspen, Colorado

Aside from year-round recreation and event offerings, Aspen is also known for its prestigious retail, dining, and entertainment options.

Notable restaurants include hip Japanese Matsuhisa, part of the Nobu group, and charming bistro The Wild Fig, while the likes of Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Van Cleef & Arpels should satisfy any designer shopping itch. Popular night life hot spots feature elevated craft cocktail bar Hooch, iconic live music venue Belly Up, and the exclusive members-only Caribou Club.

An Artistic and Musical Hub

Wheeler Opera House Aspen
Aspen’s Wheeler Opera House, on the corner of Hyman Avenue and Mill Street, is at the center of the town’s cultural life. Image: Chip Kalback

Aspen’s cultural heart is the Wheeler Opera House. The first property in town to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the establishment hosts everything from classical music to comedy.

Its events are linked to the annual Aspen Music Festival and School, which is widely regarded as one of the top classical music festivals in the United States. This year’s event takes place between June through August.

Many of Aspen’s homes boast impressive art collections, so it makes sense that one of the United States’ premier art institutions is located here.

Over on East Hyman Avenue, Aspen Art Museum was given a newer, larger home for its contemporary art collection in 2014 by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, whose exterior woven wood screen allows visitors to see in and out of the building.

And up on the rooftop, there’s a café with a garden and an outdoor screening space.

Rest and Relaxation

Hotel Jerome Aspen lounge bar
Hotel Jerome is an icon in Aspen, Colorado. Its lounge bar, now known as J-Bar, has been a social hub since 1889.

If you’re here for the skiing then you’ll also want to make sure that you have a comfortable bed for the night, and a way to ease tired muscles.

The Little Nell offers both, with sumptuous yet cozy bedrooms recently given an elegant makeover by interior designer Holly Hunt, and a large heated outdoor pool and hot tub.

Elsewhere, elegance radiates from Hotel Jerome, an Aspen icon since 1889. The only Aspen hotel to survive the silver crash and the Great Depression, the cozy J-Bar is still the place to see and be seen in the Roaring Fork Valley.

On the Market

The Residences at Aspen Valley Ranch 

Aspen Valley RanchAspen Valley RanchAspen Valley RanchAspen Valley Ranch

The Residences at Aspen Valley Ranch offer a rare opportunity to own a legacy property in Aspen’s only whole ownership, full-service, luxury private ranch community.   

Aspen Valley Ranch encompasses 813 acres of forest, pasture, and foothills in Colorado’s majestic Roaring Fork Valley, a year-round playground just 12 miles from downtown Aspen and 8 miles from Aspen Airport.  

Eleven families have the opportunity to experience a turnkey ranch lifestyle with the personalized white-glove services of a five-star hotel.   

The Residences at Aspen Valley Ranch exemplify the mountain contemporary aesthetic with open-concept, indoor-outdoor living spaces and a masterly attention to craftsmanship, finish, and detail.   

Only three residences are offered for sale. Each comes with exclusive access to a full suite of amenities and curated activities where residents can immerse themselves in the Roaring Fork Valley lifestyle—as it was meant to be lived. In addition, staff are on hand to provide concierge, housekeeping, valet services, hospitality, and lifestyle management.  

The Sopris House at Aspen Valley Ranch

The Sopris House at Aspen Valley RanchThe Sopris House at Aspen Valley RanchThe Sopris House at Aspen Valley RanchThe Sopris House at Aspen Valley Ranch

The Sopris House at Aspen Valley Ranch offers breathtaking views of Mount Sopris and Independence Pass. The centerpiece of the 36-acre property is a contemporary five-bedroom mountain house designed by Poss Architecture. 


The 5,709-square-foot, indoor-outdoor floor plan is anchored by an internal courtyard. The beautiful finishes include 8-inch-wide oak floor planks, Venetian plaster walls, and floor-to-ceiling windows to bring the outdoors in. 


The living room features double-height ceilings and a stone fireplace—one of five in the house. The dining room is served by a sleek contemporary kitchen. The main floor also includes a boot room, wine cellar, and three bedrooms. 


The primary suite and two guest bedrooms are on the upper floor to maximize the mountain views.  


Surrounding the home are beautiful Zen-like water features, multiple decks, wide terraces and an outdoor kitchen for alfresco entertaining. Further amenities include a vegetable garden, a greenhouse, and Crestron smart-home technology. 

Aspen Mountain House at Aspen Valley Ranch

Aspen Mountain House at Aspen Valley RanchAspen Mountain House at Aspen Valley RanchAspen Mountain House at Aspen Valley Ranch

Aspen Mountain House abides on more than 35 acres of open pastures bounded by towering cottonwood trees. 


The stone and timber home, by Poss Architecture, reimagines the mountain lodge for a relaxed, contemporary lifestyle. 


The open-concept 5,602-square-foot floor plan, wraparound terraces, and gazebo embrace indoor-outdoor living. 


The double-height great room’s window walls illuminate a luxurious lounge with its dual glass-screened, raised stone fireplace. On the other side, an intimate formal dining room is served by a cocktail bar lounge and a big-screen media space adjoining a butler’s pantry and an all-stainless steel service kitchen.  


A separate, fully kitted, breakfast kitchen with a cozy nook and a wide breakfast bar lies at the opposite end of the house. 


Vast glass doors open to fenced paddocks and the pastures. Five bedrooms and five-and-a-half bathrooms offer splendid accommodations for extended family and guests.  

Capitol Peak House at Aspen Valley Ranch

Capitol Peak House at Aspen Valley RanchCapitol Peak House at Aspen Valley RanchCapitol Peak House at Aspen Valley RanchCapitol Peak House at Aspen Valley Ranch

Capitol Peak House is simply spectacular, defined by its bold architectural lines of stone and timber, set against its show-stopping views of waterfalls, ponds, and cottonwoods with the red canyons in the background. 


Designed by Poss Architecture + Planning, this beautiful turnkey home sits on an elevated, 98-acre homestead within the gated community of Aspen Valley Ranch. The living spaces extend to 5,749 square feet with grandly detailed finishes and fittings.  


Upstairs, off an elegant balustrade, await five magnificently appointed bedrooms and four full bathrooms. The principal suite has its own stone fireplace and a sumptuous private bathroom. 


Downstairs, the grandly scaled reception rooms are styled for elegant entertaining. The great room, breathtaking in its own right, is appointed with a monumental stone fireplace and walls of glass overlooking the Roaring Fork Valley. Beyond is an alfresco terrace leading out to landscaped lawns and the wider grounds.