A luxury ski holiday is the ideal opportunity to indulge and treat your friends and family to a wonderful time away. Even non-skiers will appreciate all the activities and experiences on offer at the most elite ski destinations in North America – Aspen and Telluride, both in Colorado.
Aspen is no doubt famous for its skiing. With all that fine powder on the slopes for nearly half the year, it’s no wonder. But it’s also famous for its myriad of luxury boutiques, exclusive art galleries, and some of the world’s most exclusive and swanky eateries. The downtown area alone has more than 80 restaurants. Aspen is also known for its festivals: film, music, food, wine and ideas fests. As for Telluride, it’s made up of two towns: Telluride proper, a mining town dating back to the Gold Rush, and luxurious Mountain Village. Telluride sits among some of the most captivating peaks in Colorado and is full of incredible hiking trails for beginner to experienced hikers. The ambiance here is casual and unpretentious. Even in the most upscale restaurants, people can be found wearing snow boots and denim. The town isn’t just about skiing. There are many off-slope activities including shopping in boutiques that dot the central core. Telluride’s quaint charm and friendly locals captivate the hearts of even the most experienced, elite travelers.
Here, we’ll have a peek into some of what each of these locations can provide when it comes to skiing and other things such as dining and shopping.
Aspen has the deserved reputation of being a glamorous ski town for the world’s jet set. Its savage beauty includes immersive mountain views, and virgin forests. Hedonism is baked into the DNA of this charming mountain town. Depending upon weather conditions, the ski season at Aspen begins at the end of November and ends around mid-April. Aspen’s Snowmass has 3,132 acres of terrain, and 91 trails. Aspen Mountain has 675 acres of skiable area, and 64 trails.
Here is some information you might find handy when choosing Aspen as your ski destination:
The Aspen Dining Scene
Aspen has something for everyone’s culinary tastes. Fine dining is heartily available. These five establishments are among the best Aspen has to offer:
Chefs Club Aspen
Chefs Club at The St. Regis Aspen Resort is a beautifully-appointed space dominated by an open kitchen and an air of winter-wonderland chic. Chefs Club is a restaurant group featuring some of the world’s best chefs in four iconic locations. Chefs spend between three and six months at each restaurant, completely taking over the space and menu. Chefs Club is a culinary infrastructure provider offering chefs the opportunity to operate their own restaurant without any of the usual obstacles, so menus continually vary.
Clark’s Aspen is open year-round offering the country’s very best oyster and caviar selections from its marble raw bar, freshly baked sourdough, overflowing lobster rolls, delicious burgers, steaming bowls of chowder and cioppino. Clark’s is quickly becoming the go-to place for a bite and a martini after a day on the slopes.
French Alpine Bistro
The romantic ambiance of French Alpine Bistro has put the restaurant into the top five best romantic restaurants in the US as voted by the Food Network. Family heirlooms adorn the walls, while soft sheepskins cover the comfy chairs. A heated patio and a street-level lounge invite you to relax with a glass of wine while taking in the spectacular mountain views. Signature dishes include their version of steak tartare and terrine de foie gras.
If you love sushi and are particular about its freshness and presentation, Matsuhisa is where to go since those who want the best head to this fine establishment. Everything is ocean fresh – from the wonderfully delicate sashimi, fluffy crab tempura to the spicy tuna cut roll. You will find the main dining room downstairs complete with a natural walnut cocktail bar, bamboo wrapped ceilings and a sushi bar that spans half of the length of the room.
Steakhouse No. 316
This upscale, centrally-located steakhouse has been described as decadent in the most positive way. Imagine enjoying a scrumptious meal sitting on the finest leather chairs, below teardrop crystal chandeliers and gazing into ornate gilded mirrors. Steakhouse No. 316 is known for serving monolith steaks like the 20-ounce cowboy rib eye or 24-ounce porterhouse chops. The 14-ounce New York strip smothered in a cognac peppercorn demi glace is a favorite.
Villa Charlotte is a stunning, contemporary chalet in which to spend a luxury ski vacation in Aspen. This unique home brings the pinnacle of modern architecture to the untouched splendor of the Mclain flats, occupying more than 30 acres. A sensation of remote seclusion accompanies quick access to Aspen’s downtown core. Every bit of Charlotte’s 13,000 square feet is witness to exceptional craftsmanship. The home is brimming with amenities such as a library, bar, media room, gym, massage room, outdoor hot tub and wine cellar. Eight bedrooms will luxuriously accommodate up to 16 guests.
Exclusive Shopping in Aspen
Aspen is known for its high-end shops such as Gucci, Dior, and Prada and in fact, some non-skiers make the trip for the shopping experience and quaint beauty of the village. Here are some choices for exclusive shopping:
Gorsuch takes the majesty of nature, and expresses it through stunning garments defined by lasting value, quality, and craftsmanship. These are pieces worthy of being passed down from generation to generation. Fine ski wear, apparel, and home goods, Gorsuch's philosophy of quality is imbued with the sensibilities of nature and outdoor recreation. This shop is a notable staple for everything from chic ski wear to outstanding items for your home.
The name speaks for itself and it has a big presence in Aspen. You will be privy to see the brand’s more rustic side with sharply-detailed items and chic ski apparel. The shop also carries the latest looks from its casual collections as well as bags, clutches, boots, shoes and sunglasses, making this boutique a one-stop shop to experience a mountain getaway in style.
Pitkin County Dry Goods
Pitkin County Dry Goods offers an eclectic mix of creative designers and wearable fashion basics. Deeply rooted in the community, Pitkin County Dry Goods is the town's oldest clothing retailer frequented by an international clientele. This lovely boutique is known to locals as having the absolute best jewelry selection, so you might want to pay a visit in between ski times.
Telluride Ski Resort has insanely gorgeous views of the San Juan Mountains and is home to more than 2,000 acres of lift-accessible terrain. Telluride’s 4,425 feet of vertical is accessed by 19 lifts and 148 runs. With a lift-served elevation of 12,515 feet and a maximum elevation of 13,150 feet, the mountain has no trouble holding onto its snow -- more than 280 inches of average snowfall. Telluride’s terrain ranges from beginner to intermediate, with four hike-to terrain areas for advanced and expert skiers. The ski area offers multiple terrain parks for all skill levels as well as 10 kilometers of Nordic skiing. The season begins at the end of November and finishes in early April.
Here are some experiences of which you may to take note while in this lovely ski destination:
Telluride Places to Dine
When you are looking for an elegant dinner, any of these five culinary gems would fit the bill:
Dining at Allred’s is having a meal with altitude! The eatery is located halfway up Telluride Ski Resort and can only be accessed by a gondola ride. Once there, diners have a number of choices, however the elk strip loin, marinated in juniper bourbon and served with sunchoke puree and black cherry compote comes highly recommended as does the crispy Scottish quail with blue-corn cornbread and lingonberry-jalapeno sauce.
The epitome of fine dining, La Marmotte is as sophisticated as Telluride’s landscape is untamed. You can expect to enjoy expertly prepared dishes like beef tartare with caper berries and lemon, and roasted mahi-mahi, dusted with bee pollen and served with black garlic and sage sauce. Despite the elegant atmosphere, service is always fantastic.
Touted as one of the sexiest restaurants in Telluride, The National is run by several long time locals who’ve worked at other local restaurants. The cuisine is an ever-changing menu of creative contemporary American fare, with items ranging from a Kobe ribeye for two to delicious small plates such as roti flatbread with house-smoked salmon and a hamachi tiradito with Asian pear kimchi. Great wine list, too!
221 South Oak Bistro
Vegetarians flock to this Oak Street eatery for its addictive, meatless menu options, like chips made from delicata squash, and chickpea cakes with plum butter. There’s also a healthy choice for carnivores, including the Rocky Mountain elk T-bone with goji-berry-walnut jam. Chef Eliza Galvin appeared on the TV show, Top Chef. Fans should take advantage of her on-site cooking demonstration and wine pairing classes, which include 12 recipe tastings and up to nine wines.
If you have an interest in the prohibition era during the mining days, The Tunnel would be a wonderful restaurant for you. To get through the “trap door” and into the venue, you will need a password. Find a place on the amazing deck or in one of the two unique dining rooms. The Tavern room offers a table for up to six, while the dining room seats up to 12. Once you arrive you can enjoy the new tapas concept, along with a number of spirits.
Villa Claudette is a striking contemporary estate perfectly suited to its dramatic Alpine backdrop. Set on a hillside in scenic Gray Head, this residence provides the utmost seclusion, immersed in majestic mountain woodland scenes. A stunning Telluride luxury vacation rental, head and shoulders above the rest, few guests have proven impervious to this home’s charms. Unobstructed mountain views are brought into each corner of the residence. Large picture windows dazzle upon entering a sunken living room. Gorgeous free-form furnishings convene around innovative fireplaces, post-modern artwork,while glittering light fixtures impart cosmopolitan glamor. Sliding doors open to a beautiful wrap-around deck replete with a gas grill and relaxing hot tub before unmatched views of Mount Wilson. With 14 bedrooms, there is room for up to 14 guests. Amenities include a cinema room, gym, sauna, and hot tub.
Exciting Telluride Experiences
There is so much to see and do in Telluride. Here are some activities that sound particularly photo-worthy:
Seasoned skiers looking for untracked powder in the backcountry, need to try heli skiing. Fly into the beautiful San Juan Mountains in a helicopter at the highest elevations ensuring panoramic scenery and powder turns. Choose from day trips, multi-day outings, and custom tours. Guests won't be jumping out of a helicopter that hovers above a rocky slope. Pilots take great caution and care in selecting safe landing sites, and they'll land and let skiers off directly on the snow at the top of the run.
The alpine setting of the San Juan Mountains offers world-renowned ice climbing and provides a wide variety of winter climbing opportunities. To fully explore the winter climbing routes, using a local guide is recommended. Standing 365 feet tall, Bridal Veil Falls is Colorado's tallest free-falling waterfall, and one of the most classic and difficult ice climbs in the country. Having been closed to climbing for the better part of a few decades, with the exception of a few brief openings, the climb re-opened to the public in the winter of 2008-09. Access is contingent on a climber’s awareness and compliance with a number of rules: You must sign in at a kiosk; avoid the Powerhouse area at the top of the falls; and all descents must be via rappel.
Experienced adventurers who want a thrill of a lifetime should consider the Via Ferrata experience. Via Ferrata is not for the faint of heart, but it's a must-do for any adrenaline seeker or to-the-core adventurer. At its most intense, you are suspended on a small iron foothold by a harness at 500 feet. The climbing route is technical, breathtaking and exposed on the east end and south-facing wall of Telluride's boxed canyon. If you decide to partake in this incredible adventure are urged to use an experienced guide to tackle the trip.
Whether you choose Aspen or Telluride – or would like to experience both this winter – LVH will provide you with the most luxurious accommodations complete with full services and support and will also create a custom itinerary for you with other experiences to make your trip exceptional. We invite you to contact an LVH client relations team member to get the wheels in motion for your foray into the magical world of skiing to make new tracks in the fresh pow!