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Winter in Aspen

gal_hotel_lr1 From a winter ski trip to Aspen, Colorado a few years back. Though I don’t write a lot about travel, occasionally I make a trip worth sharing. This was one of those trips! We were with a small handful of friends to celebrate my husband’s birthday. It was a milestone birthday, so it called for something special. He likes to ski. He had been to Aspen, but not with me. His birthday was last week. The matter was settled. It had to be Aspen! Though we could have taken the trip on our own, we agreed that having our friends there made it SO much more fun.

First impressions matter and so my first impression of our hotel, Hotel Jerome, was intense. I LOVED it. I felt like I had walked into Ralph Lauren’s home. The Hotel Jerome is the oldest hotel in Aspen, yet it had a massive makeover in 2012, which made it into rustic-meets-chic-meets-alpine. Warm and inviting, layered with details, it was the perfect hub for our stay.

There are a lot of fantastic hotels in Aspen: Little Nell, St. Regis, The Limelight…so there are a number of options, but the decor alone sold me on the Jerome. It is not a ski in/ski out hotel, which might put off some of you, but I can assure you that the trove of Stetson-wearing drivers will whisk you away quickly and drop you right at the lifts. I would call it a no-schlep experience. There is even a Gorsuch outpost inside the hotel, where they will warm your boots and have anything you might have left at home for sale.gal_hotel2 gal_hotel_lobby2 gal_hotel_spa gal_hotel_lr2gal_hotel_elevator gal_hotel_jb2 gal_hotel_jb1We were there to ski, but you can snowshoe, cross country ski, shop, spa, heli ski, dog sled…the options are endless. If you do want to shop, here are my favorites:

  • Gorsuch for luxury clothing, accessories, gifts
  • Performance  Ski for luxury/performance European ski brands
  • Kemo Sabe for Western wear, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, turquoise jewelry
  • Chequers for chic home accessories

IMG_1366 IMG_1359Shipping or checking skis can be such a hassle.

Ski Butlers, a suggestion from my friend and travel advisor, Sandy Grodsky, was an invaluable service for our trip. Ahead of the trip, I reserved a time for them to meet me at the hotel. I filled out a form about height/weight/ski ability and was given different ski options. You can also rent helmets and boots. They arrived at the pre-arranged time at our room and had me set up in 10 minutes. Since we were there for a long weekend, it was nice not to have to go to the ski rental, wait in line and then carry everything back to the hotel.  My husband had taken his skis, but after a day in the powder, he realized that he needed a different type of ski. Ski Butler fixed him up, too!

From now on…this is how I get my skis!IMG_1425 IMG_1427 IMG_1429 IMG_1431 IMG_1434There are numerous amazing restaurants (we chose Justice Snow’s, The Monarch and Ajax Tavern)  and spots to apres ski (Chair 9 at the Little Nell)…but one late lunch proved to be the most fun. Cloud 9, which is located in an old ski patrol hut on the mountain at Aspen Highlands, can only be reached by skiing or snowboarding in. That’s half the fun. They have two seatings. One at noon and one at 2pm. If you want a delicious lunch and a festive atmosphere, choose the noon. If you want an “experience”…book the 2pm. We went at 2pm and let’s just say that there was as much champagne on the ceiling and the floor as was consumed the normal way. The restaurant, open only 4 months a year, is Veuve Clicquot’s largest customer in the US. That should tell you something.

This article, which appeared in Vogue, describes the experience better than I can.IMG_1436 IMG_1479 IMG_1480Cheers to having fun wherever you go this winter!