John Denver wrote Annie’s song after it came to him on the Ajax chairlift in Aspen, Colorado, and we’ve been loving this old mining town-turned-ski resort ever since. If you only hit the slopes in America once in your lifetime, make it Aspen Snowmass.
The C&TH Guide to Aspen
Over at The Little Nell in Aspen (rooms from $899), a cashmere cocoon of a hotel that sits in pole position right by the ski-lift, offering the resort’s only ski in, ski out accommodation, they’re getting ready for the annual Christmas tree lighting, a heartwarming Hallmark-style affair that will feature carolers from Aspen High School, a mountain of Ladurée macaroons, Santa, and rescue pets from the local animal shelter that will be up for adoption. After all, it’s no biggie to smuggle home a chihuahua or two if you’ve flown in on private jet. By Olivia Falcon
Eat Your Oyster Fill
Clark’s Oyster Bar serves oysters from Washington, Maine, Prince Edward Island and Massachusetts. Also on the menu are lobster rolls, crab and fruits de mer.
Slope to Scale
It’s not so much downhill as uphill these days in Aspen. Join the 100 or so locals who ski-tour up the mountain every morning before the lifts open. It’s on-trend right now across the world, and nowhere more than in this fitness-mad ski town.
Shop Till You Drop
Before you fill your belly with wagyu beef spaghetti bolognese (yes, that really is a thing – in fact it’s THE thing to order at the hotel’s Ajax Tavern, Aspen’s answer to the Wolseley), a trip to the new Aspen X – an Aladdin’s cave of a store – is a must. Here you’ll find everything from the latest Prada skiwear to experiences that money can buy, like a ten-course tasting menu dinners with superchef Matthew Zubrod. By Olivia Falcon
The snow is always good in Highlands Bowl, so boot pack 45 minutes up to the peak at 3559 metres, take a snap at the top sitting on the chair and pick your gnarly route down. The steepest is Go-Go Gully at 48 degrees.
Entertain the Kids
Take them to the Wapiti Wildlife Centre at the top of Elk Camp Lift in Snowmass, where they can learn about the different animals living around the resort — from Elk to bobcats. Free and a great break from skiing (and to warm up).
Take a private helicopter to ski Colorado’s legendary Silverton Mountain. It’s a 45-minute flight to Silverton, over the San Juan mountains, and when you land in Silverton there are 26,000 acres to explore — and non-skiing clients are welcome to join, too.
Venture Down To Telluride
Further south in the charming town of Telluride, where the celebrities come to ski rather than to party, those in the know will be checking into the recently opened B&B Dunton Townhouse (rooms from £480). An offshoot of Dunton Hot Springs (the off-grid uber retreat where high achievers such as the Kardashians and Silicone Valley zillionaires come to unplug), the chic clapboard townhouse boasts five bedrooms with Tyrolean-inspired interiors designed by starry event planner Johnny Roxburgh. Perfectly positioned in the heart of the downtown district, you can ski directly to the gondola (which takes you straight to Alpini Vino, north America’s highest restaurant, alpinovino.com) or for those who like to potter you can shuffle round the corner to Main Street for shopping at Two Skirts (great clothes) and Crossbow Leather (best for custom belts and hats). By Olivia Falcon
Hotel to Bag
Hotel Jerome, while not on the slopes, is the most historic in Aspen. Opened in 1889, it was the favourite hotel of Hunter S Thompson, and the “Aspen Crud” was invented here at the J-Bar during the prohibition.
Three little luxuries Olivia Falcon never forgets to pack when venturing to Colorado.