Walking in Aspen village is like walking into a movie set of a James Bond film with a dizzying array of elegant furs, cashmere and finest woollen wares all emanating from the surrounding shops with brands Moncler, Postcard, Bogner, KJUS, Hermes dominating. Families with mostly well groomed teenagers and local snow boarders all mix into a part Ibiza feeling, sort of south of France mixed with American mountain town charm. The particular charm of this village that sets it apart from other American and Canadian ski resorts is that it is a former humble silver mining town dating back to back to 1879 and the buildings and surrounds evidence this fact.

The seamless combination of old world charm and modern stylish living where everyday American style food is readily available as well as five star dining in most cuisines, with world class shopping at your doorstep, all set in the valley of the most magnificent mountain peaks, makes this our favourite ski resort, at least in America. (Jackson Hole a close second, more on that in a later blog).  Of course, the skiing is world class, mountains covering all standards from green (easiest) to double black diamond . The groomed slopes colloquially called “corduroy” make even the most rudimentary of skiers  feel like an Olympic one.

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Residences at the Little Nell – outstanding service, SUV’s to drive you where you please, ski concierges at every turn, they seem to know which mountain you will be skiing on, so they can place the ski’s accordingly, before you even do. The rooms and apartments are sleek with every mod con but also retain that ski chalet coziness. You couldn’t get closer to the slope if you tried and the rooftop pool and hot tubs are the icing on the cake.

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The Little Nell Hotel is as good and the breakfast in Element 47 restaurant well and truly set you up for the skiing day ahead.

North of Nell Apartments (filled with Australians) are a more reasonable(price wise) option and still a great one – location, practicality and mountain views.

Hotel Jerome and the more expensive St Regis both have old world charm and first class service.

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The shopping at your chalet doorstep is as good as it gets at a ski resort village. It’s not NYC or LA but there is enough choice and a few of the GCR favourites reside there which always puts a pep in our step.  JCrew,  Club Monaco, Rag and Bone, James Perse along with the bigger high end brands. The Pitkin County Dry Goods has local fashion although watch the price tag to match high end labels. Kemo Sabe is a fabulous shop to curb your Western style cravings, hats, belts and cool boots with embroidered flowers. If  you arrive sans ski gear , head straight to Miller Sports which recently started stocking our favourite Italian brand, Postcard or shop Gorsuch at the base of the Gondola which has the best apres ski gear and all your ski accessories.

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Wandering the streets in your favourite apres snow shoes (in my case these knee high Pucci fur lined boots – LOVE) and window shopping is always an option.

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Cloud 9 Alpine Bistro – Aspen Highlands. Hike the Highlands Bowl in the morning and ski down to Cloud 9 for a well- deserved long lunch. Or meet your friends that have done the Bowl and settle in for a less –deserved but still deserved long lunch. The atmospheric cozy, homey cabin serving soul warming dishes like slow roasted pork and raclette, turns into a wild dance party mid-afternoon and before you know it people of all ages are in their ski boots on the tables and chairs dancing with everyone. The ski back to your chalet can be a bit fraught but take it easy and you’ll be fine.

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Bonnies on Ajax Mountain – great verandah to sit and take in the views or eat your bowl of chilli inside the cozy beautiful interior.

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The Sundeck at the top of the Gondola

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Elk Camp at Snowmass


Ajax Tavern at the base of Ajax

Nest Public House in Snowmass at the newish Viceroy’s casual eatery featuring craft brews and housemade sausages



Matsuhisa – The original Nobu.  Order the miso cod. Top tip –  the upstairs bar serves a similar but lower –priced menu.

Jimmys – a firm all American favourite.

Creperie du Village – crepes, raclette, cozy character.


Ajax Tavern -hard to beat. Order the Truffle fries.

L’Hostaria  – local’s haunt- sit in bar area, same food cheaper price

Rustique Bistro – French but American edge which in this case makes it better.

Meat and Cheese – the roast chicken is it’s specialty and it’s good.

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Fun with kids – Hickory House a fun but kind of tacky American ribs place and Little Annie’s an old time iconic Aspen restaurant with reliable standards to please most kids. (Boogies used to be great with kids but has recently closed down)


Lucky enough to be a member or more likely know a member , the Caribou Club is a fun night out in an underground bar/club sort of way. Celebrity spotting a bonus.


Travelling with teenagers or even if you’re not, you’ll  need to explain and debate the whys and wherefores of legal marijuana.  In 2014 75.4 % of Pitkin County residents voted to legalise recreational cannabis. There are 6 recreational pot shops in Aspen now that openly brag about selling the best weed and the most popular items being the edibles in the form of gummy bears, chocolate bars and lolly pops.


A Naughty Toddy at Elk Camp will increase the temperature in your frost bitten toes and fingers – brandy, raw sugar, squeeze of orange wedge and black tea garnished with candied orange rind ($9 well spent on an ice cold day).


No problem. This Elk Mountain Lodge with 28 bedrooms, 13 distinct buildings for $100,000,000 !


GCR RATING –  10/10

The ultimate GO CRAVE RAVE destination – combining luxury, adventure travel, magnificent scenery, mouthwatering food, ski-in ski out accommodation, fashionistas everywhere, and to die for shopping . This one ticks just about every GCR box.