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Touring Aspen in a horse-drawn carriage.
Touring Aspen in a horse-drawn carriage.
Touring Aspen in a horse-drawn carriage.
One of the many beautiful hotels in Aspen.


Thursday, June 22, 2000
Calling all ski bunnies and lodge lizards: David goes where the rich and famous go for their winter break — the beautiful town of Aspen.

The area has four massive mountains — Aspen Mountain is steep and bumpy, has eight lifts and 76 trails, and is definitely not a beginner's mountain. Snowmass has huge open glades, terrain parks and halfpipes, and is heaven for snowboarders. It has about 83 trails and 20 lifts, and about half of it is very steep and challenging. Buttermilk Mountain is loved for its gentle slopes, which are wide and undulating. It has seven lifts and 43 trails, and is generally uncrowded. Aspen Highlands is exhilaratingly steep with extreme terrain, and has four lifts and 109 trails.

All mountains are accessible with lift tickets, and a free skier shuttle service operates from 8am to 5pm between the mountains. The Aspen Skiing Company subsidises this service at a cost of about $1 million a season.

Snow falls consistently during winter, but with an average of 300 days of blue sky and sunshine, there is plenty of skiing. Much care is taken with grooming and slope preparation, and skiers can usually find their favourite surface conditions — groomed, bumps or powder — and at 2500m, the snow is nice and dry.

The various terrains are graded, ensuring that everyone can ski comfortably — green for beginners, blue for intermediates, black diamond runs for advanced skiers and the double black diamond runs for professionals.

Real estate prices are staggering, with an average home costing between US$1-2 million, but the serious stuff in the Red Mountain area costs around US$25 million!

One of the best places to stay is the St Regis, with rooms starting at $800 during the ski season, climbing in price as the rooms get bigger. The Whiskey Rocks Bar is a very trendy place to enjoy a cocktail, while Little Nell's is ideal for star spotting.

Aspen caters to families, couples and singles, and if you can't or don't want to ski, there are plenty of other things to do — apart from shopping. You can go dog sledding, paragliding, snowboarding or snowshoeing, and a lovely thing to do is take a horse and carriage tour around the town. Another nice Aspen touch is local residents acting as ambassadors, meeting, greeting and basically helping visitors to feel at home.

Some people do experience bouts of high altitude sickness and you can help avoid this by drinking lots of water (starting on your flight to the US), avoiding alcohol and taking it easy for the first couple of days. Hotel rooms generally provide humidifiers, which also help.


Aspen is in the American state of Colorado.


Qantas flies daily to Los Angeles with American West to Aspen. Return economy airfares start at $2395 from the east coast, $2715 from Adelaide and $3195 from Perth.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission.

More information

Qantas: 13 1313

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