Aspen for families
09:00 AEST Thu May 5 2011
Aspen is known as the holiday playground for the rich and famous but Natalie Gruzlewski found that it is also a family-friendly place. You don't need to have loads of money or be famous to enjoy this fabulous town, 2300m high in Colorado's Rocky Mountains.
This new two-storey development at the Snowmass base is the Aspen Skiing Company's largest capital investment project ever. The 2000 square metre development cost $17 million and is basically a centre for children. It offers ski and snowboarding programs for pre-teens and teenagers as well as family activities. It's all about introducing children to the snowsport culture.
Easily accessible from anywhere in Snowmass, Treehouse offers short-term drop-off and underground parking. There are free shuttle services to Aspen and ski-in, ski-out access to Fanny Hill. The Sky Cab gondola takes skiers to the upper slopes and lodges.
The first floor of Treehouse has a daycare centre and pre-school ski and snowboard programs. A real attraction is the 65 square metre Aspen Climbing Room which is fully netted for safety.
The second floor has the Bear Den with a puppet show theatre. It also has a full kitchen and is a hive of activity with families hiring skis and snowboards.
The Limelight Lodge at the corner of Monarch Street and Cooper Avenue downtown Aspen is a landmark and long time love for the Paas and Woolery families. They have owned and operated family accommodation Aspen for more than 50 years. The original "Limelite" complex has made way for this new ski lodge. It has a central location and affordable rooms.
It has rooms, suites and penthouses with views of Independence Pass and Wagner Park. Close to the snow-covered slopes in winter, it's pretty fantastic all year with hiking, biking, fishing and sightseeing.
It's very family-friendly and each afternoon there is a free après ski gathering serving wine, beer and snacks. It's cosy when you want to thaw out and a good place for making new friends.
At the base of Aspen Mountain and a short stroll from Limelight, Ajax Tavern is bursting with life and wonderful food. It's bistro-style menu is inspired by Colorado's produce which is turned into some innovative dishes. There are daily specials and at cocktail hour the famous cheese fondue comes out. It's open from 11.30am.
It's said the Ute Indians who found Aspen believed there was a spell on it making sure every person who visited would return at least once in their lifetime. That spell certainly worked on Natalie.
Don't forget, Aspen is a great destination even when there isn't snow. There's loads to do but it could be easier on the wallet.
Aspen in Colorado's Rocky Mountains.
Treehouse starts at $92 a day. Ski lesson and lunch are included. Lessons for children between 2.5 to 4 years are $179 a day, 5 to 6 $134 and 7 to 12 $92.
Limelight Lodge accommodation starts at $130 a night. It includes car parking, hot tub, pool and après session. They are open year round.
Aspen Recreation Centre costs $16 for adults and $15 for children. It includes the climbing tower, open swim and skate, weight room, fitness rooms and classes.
Prices correct at May 5, 2011.
For further information
The Limelight Lodge
355 South Monarch Street
Ph: +1 970 925 3025
Fax: +1 970 925 5120
120 Carriage Way
Ph: 0011 970 923 8733
675 East Durant Avenue
Ph: +1 970 920 6334
Visas: Most Australians do not need a visa, providing they have a machine readable passport with at least six months' validity after the departure day, have a round-trip non-refundable ticket and do not intend to stay longer than 90 days. From January 2009 Australians need to complete a pre-travel authorisation at www.cbp.gov/esta.
Electricity: Electric current is 110V to 115v, 60Hz. Outlets take two-parallel, flat prongs. Australian visitors will need a US adapter and converter.
Time zone: The United States has nine standard time zones. Atlantic, Eastern, Central, Mountain, Pacific, Alaskan, Hawaii-Aleutian, Samoa and Chamorro. New York is GMT -5.
Currency: The American dollar.
International dialling code: +1.