If You Only Have a Day in Aspen During the Winter

Winter wonderland? You’ve found it. It’ll be tough to fit in all the great things that Aspen offers during the winter months into one day. Hopefully you are up for the challenge of skiing, spa treatments, shopping, eating, and drinking. At altitude.

105 S Mill St, Aspen, CO 81611, USA
Pinons restaurant is the best kept secret in Aspen. It has been here for 20+ years with Rob Mobilian, now the owner, starting off as the chef. On a busy night you will still see him in the kitchen but mainly he is at the front door greeting guests with the General Manager, Jim. The dining area is very elegant and the service is impeccable—but the bar menu is the best value in town. The bar menu gives you an option of two courses: one appetizer and one entrée for $35. If you splurge for my favorite entrée, the Pan-seared Buffalo Tenderloin in huckleberry sauce, it is $44. Not bad considering that normally the tenderloin is $48 on the dining room menu and with the bar menu you get that and a starter for cheaper. (The portions are the same size.) What could be better? Seating is on a first-come-first-served basis so it can get crowded but it is worth the wait.
Cloud Nine, Colorado 81611, USA
Just off the Cloud Nine lift on Aspen Highlands, you’ll find a Swiss-looking log cabin with a large patio and pristine views of the Maroon Creek Valley. When you walk in, the pungent smell of cheese may overwhelm you, but don’t be deterred. The delicious fondue is worth it. The best time to go is after a full day of skiing; make a late-lunch reservation because that’s when all the action starts. As it gets later, the crowd starts getting a little rowdy and dance parties have been know to break out, with people taking to the tabletops. Ski patrollers sometimes has to shut it down during their last sweep of the mountain, but don’t fret: If you don’t feel comfortable skiing down, they’ll graciously give you a ride.
620 E Hyman Ave, Aspen, CO 81611, USA
L’Hostaria is the locals’ favorite Italian Restaurant. Owned by Chef Tiziano who grew up and started his culinary career in Italy and then brought his masterful Italian creations to Aspen. With a waitstaff that has worked together for years they act more like family than co-workers and that enhances the home-style Italian feel. Look for Pride or Scotty behind the bar for a healthy pour of wine and a good conversation. Start the table off with one of the delectable options off the carpaccio menu and then move on to the appetizers and entrees of authentic salads, pastas, fish and meats. For the pasta lovers like me they have a gluten free substitute for any pasta. Although the menu is already very creative feel free to create your own dishes. My favorite is the Zuppa de Pesca, which is a seafood soup that I always ask to add pasta to and they happily accommodate me. They are the ones that originally suggested it when I couldn’t make my mind up between the soup and pasta. It is truly a fun, lively environment and you can’t go wrong with eating here.
Aspen Mountain, Colorado 81611, USA
In both the summer and winter, if you only have a day you must take a ride up the Silver Queen Gondola to the top of Aspen Mountain. The gondola cabs are all windows allowing for fantastic views as you travel 3,627 feet to the top. Once you get up top, walk to the ledge for incredible views of Castle Creek valley and surrounding mountains. Snap a few photos then get some food at The Sundeck Restaurant. For on-mountain dining the fare of grilled items, pizza, salad, and wok entrees, which you might expect to be like cafeteria food, is surprisingly exquisite. The experience is worth the elevated price you pay for the food to be transported up the mountain. In the summer, on Sundays there is a different Bluegrass band every week, filling the air with music. In the winter on a sunny day the outdoor patio is lined with people in lounge chairs soaking up the sun. Again, this is a must-do experience while visiting Aspen.
520 E Cooper Ave, Aspen, CO 81611, USA
Pitkin County Dry Goods is where the locals have been shopping since they opened their doors in 1969. Always up on the latest trends, Pitkin County Dry Goods carries a number of boutique designers to mix a sophisticated look with the casual lifestyle of Aspen living.
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