How do you describe Aspen in the winter time when snow falls all night, giant balls of white fluff that land all over you but you can’t feel a thing because they’re so soft and dry?
When you walk up the street and everything looks like you’re walking through a movie set yet there’s no actors around and no-one yells ‘cut’.
Then when you wake in the morning and there’s not a cloud and the sky’s so blue it looks purple, like it’s going to ooze goo all over you. And when everything sparkles around you as the sunlight catches the new snow on the ground and a million flashes go off in your eyes.
When you stand up the top of a mountain and all you can see are more mountains, no people, just mountains covered in snow going for miles and miles and planes that leave a perfect plume of white behind as they go past you at crazy angles in the sky (you’re so high here that planes look like they fly at 90 degree angles straight up from the ground… why? Because the earth’s round, silly).
When you sit in a jacuzzi and watch the last bit of sunshine of the day light up the highest peaks while everything else gets ready for the night.
When your muscles are so sore from boarding you can hardly move but you know you can’t miss a night on the town because there’s about 50 pubs in town and you’ve only seen 30.
Wouldn’t have a fucken clue, you’ve got to see it for yourself.
Gay ski week
Aspen is now way cool for younger people. The folk who run the place want you to know that. It’s not that stuffy, pretentious place we might have considered it to be.
The night before I arrived the Offspring played in the main street of Aspen, 5000 people went crazy in one gigantic town mosh-pit as part of the celebrations of the world-renowned X Games held each year in Aspen.
Note I said “the night before I arrived”? That’s right, I missed the X Games by a day. But thankfully I did arrive just in time for Gay Ski Week, an institution in the United States, fantastic in its concept because I’m all for gay rights, but being a hot-blooded heterosexual male I would much rather the X Games and its mix of women in skimpy bikinis (even in the snow), death defying sports and beer-soaked punk bands.
Every heterosexual male seems to have this idea any homosexual male would like to have sex with him, even if they’re fat, bald or ugly.
It’s an archaic idea, imagined by paranoid males who fear things they don’t know, and also have massive confidence issues. Not every man in Aspen wanted me, probably only about half did.
Snowboarding in Aspen
“Hey dude, you want to find some fresh powder through the trees?” It sounded innocent enough. The young guy who asked me seemed to have good intentions (it actually turned out to be a girl called Jennifer, but that’s another story).
Snowmass mountain, Aspen’s biggest (there’s four here – Aspen, Buttermilk, Aspen Highlands and Snowmass) had received a foot of fresh snow overnight. It was sick, dude. Jennifer took me to a rope. We crossed under it.
“Hey, didn’t that say this is out of bounds?” I asked. “Yeah, it’s cool, don’t worry about it.”
The snow was deep, really deep, I was sinking to my waist in it.
“Okay dude, keep to my tracks, it gets a little tight through here, watch out for the trees.” Tight? Tight? Like we’re talking 20 centimetres between massive tree trunks. But I was confident, I was riding Colarado powder, nothing could stop me.
That’s where I was wrong. Trees do, even in Aspen. I hit one with my head. Just hard enough for me to not quite black out, but not quite be conscious. As I lay there checking my skull for spilling blood I consoled myself with the fact I was at Aspen and I was finally seeing stars, and they were everywhere.
The Harvard kids
I didn’t see Cher, Catherine Zeta-Jones or Julia Roberts, but I did run into some Harvard students. There was six of them. One of them had a dad who owned a villa here.
He was paying for the other five while they were there. He also chartered his private jet to bring them all down. Then on the way home he was paying to fly the kids back to their respective homes.
My dad never did that. A snowboard instructor also told me his friend got given a house in Aspen for a wedding present by a guy he taught to snowboard. I taught some of my mates to snowboard, they didn’t even buy me a beer.
“Dude, aren’t you hot in that big coat and sweater, and is that thermals you’re wearing under all that, man?” Don’t even ask me about the flight home, okay?
World’s first ski-in, ski-out champagne pop-up bar
Drink Veuve Clicquot while gazing at spectacular views of Aspen Mountain at the world’s first ski-in, ski-out champagne bar. The Little Nell has taken the pop-up trend to a whole new level (roughly 11,000 feet), with The Oasis.
The stylish pop-up bar is in the champagne house’s iconic yellow color and has umbrellas, lounge chairs, solar-powered sound system, flags and other eye-catching features that stand out in the white snow.
The secret location is shared each week via Twitter from @TheLittleNell, and the bar is actually pulled by a snowcat to move it around the mountain. It operates Friday-Sunday afternoons.
If you’re looking for destinations for an extended holiday in North America, read this.