Aspen Culture and Nightlife

Top Ski Bars In Colorado’s High Country

imagesColorado’s high country is home to some of the most fun ski bars in the United States. After all, Colorado provides some of the most fantastic skiing in the world. Once you’ve hit the slopes for the day, it’s time to unwind with friends and family. Below are five of the best apres-ski watering holes to replenish. My favorite bar in Telluride is the historic Sheridan. Click here to read CBSDenvers favorite high country bars.

Secret Stash, Crested Butte, CO – Secret Stash has the best pizza, wings and beer in the Crested Butte area. The pub is a very popular hangout after a long day of skiing or snowboarding. It has been a staple in the area since 2002 and features a happy hour each weekday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.  It’s a restaurant and a fun bar hangout all in one. 

Ajax Tavern,  Aspen, CO – Ajax Tavern is located in Aspen, at the base of Aspen Mountain. This is a fantastic restaurant during the day. One of its most popular entrees is the Ajax double cheeseburger with truffle fries. Once your day of skiing is done, you can kick back and relax with friends in the bar area. It’s a fun place to hang out with a great selection of the finest wines, as well as signature martinis and microbrews.

Cecilia’s Martini Bar, Breckenridge, CO-  Cecilia’s Martini Bar is located in Breckenridge. It provides an amazingly fun time to spend with friends and family after a great day on the slopes. Cecilia’s has a vast selection of spirits, including its signature martinis. There are nightly DJs, making it a prime spot to keep those ski legs loose with dancing.

Bowling Alley to Open in Snowmass

imagesIt’s been decades since the upper valley had a bowling alley but that’s about to change as a local man is in the midst of creating one in Snowmass.  Mark Reece recently signed a lease on a roughly 6,000-square-foot subterranean space below Venga Venga, situated along Fanny Hill, said commercial real estate agent Ruth Kruger, who brokered the deal.  “We’ve been working on [finding a space] for three years,” she said. “It’s hard to make financial sense in doing a bowling alley.”  But Reece and the owner of the building, Lance Hool, have reached a rent price that apparently will pencil out for the start-up business.   He said he’s been eyeing the space, and negotiating with Hool and his representatives, for almost three years.  “I was trying to capitalize on the right price for that space,” Reece said. “We couldn’t make ends meet. … We were willing to pay [a price] and they were willing to come down.”Reece said he has received zoning approvals from the town of Snowmass Village and will soon submit a building permit application. He said he hopes to be open by the summer.

Click here to read the entire article.

Colorado Ski Towns Face Off in Energy Challenge

imagesAspen, Crested Butte and Vail compete for skier days every winter. But this March, the towns and the counties they’re located in will go head-to-head for energy assessments in the Energy Smart Challenge.  In 2010, Eagle, Pitkin and Gunnison Counties all received Department of Energy grant funding to offer the Energy Smart Program. Now, in the third year of the program, it’s time for a little friendly competition.

The Energy Smart Challenge kicked off on Friday and will end on Earth Day, April 20. Every homeowner who signs up for an energy assessment during the Energy Smart Challenge will be entered into a raffle for a free pair of custom, locally-made skis. One lucky participant from the Aspen/Snowmass area, including Basalt, Redstone, Marble and unincorporated Pitkin and Eagle Counties within the Roaring Fork Valley, will win a pair of custom-made Double Barrel Meier skis from beetle-kill pine.

Besides good karma and bragging rights, the winning county will also receive recognition on the Energy Smart and Protect Our Winters websites and an Energy Smart Pizza Party for the community.

“Since the program began, we’ve facilitated 3,111 home energy assessments and 1,439 home energy improvements,” said Amelia Potvin, the Energy Smart Program Manager in Pitkin County. “The Energy Smart Challenge is a way to encourage more homeowners to take advantage of the program.”

Click here to read the entire article.

Elevation Outdoors Best Colorado Mountain Towns

EO_BestPartyTown_Logo-e1378226404172-150x125We thought it was too much to simply ask our readers to vote for the best single mountain town in the state. So we broke it down a bit into all the aspects that make living in the mountains so important. We put the poll up online and watched the winners slowly assert their dominance. And it ends up that we did find a single most popular mountain town, as Crested Butte took three out of the five categories. The only loss is the towns that didn’t win. Because just being in the mountains is best.


It’s sort of unfair to include Crested Butte in a “best bike town” poll. After all, this is one of two places in the world which claims to be the birthplace of the mountain bike (Marin County, Calif. the other) and the town’s whole identity seems to revolve around the famous 401 Trail. But, as the USA Pro Challenge continues to raise Colorado’s profile in the cycling universe and so many other towns in the state have made cycling a staple of their economy and identity, Crested Butte has still managed to lead the pack.

Click here to read the entire article.

Colorado’s Top 13 Family Vacation Ideas for Summer 2013

indexSummer is just around the corner and you don’t need to look far to have a world-class vacation with your family. From theater hikes to Outhouse Races to free events galore, we have the inside scoop on All Things Colorado.


It may be summertime but Snowmass has returned to the Ice Age with the Snowmass Ice Age Discovery Center that features the most significant Ice Age ecosystem find in Colorado history (and it’s free). Touch a mastodon tooth, marvel at a half-sized 6-foot Wooden Mammoth Skeleton, do a dig of your own or a daily Ice Age Discovery Hike by  Environment Studies.  Visit the Snowmass Rodeo on Wednesday nights (June 12- August 28) and sign up your kids for the Calf Scramble and Mutton Busting. Ride the Elk Camp Gondola up Snowmass Mountain where the Elk Camp Restaurant will open for activities including downhill biking, dinner, campfires, live music, movies, Stryder Park and Kid’s Playground on Friday evenings. Try your hand at some slopeside bowling at the new bowling alley below Venga Venga Cantina featuring eight full-sized lanes, a lounge area with full bar, wood-fired oven pizzas, upscale bar food and more. Then, get inspired at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, a stellar place for kids of all ages to take workshops that include sculpture, photography, painting, beading, and mask-making.

Click here to read about all the other fun Colorado towns.

2013 Aspen Ideas Festival to Feature Marijuana Legalization Debate

indexThe Aspen Institute and The Atlantic are hosting their ninth annual Aspen Ideas Festival from June 26 through July 2, 2013. More than 300 insightful thinkers and leaders from around the country and beyond will gather in Aspen, CO to discuss their work, the issues that inspire them, and their ideas. The week’s programming will cover a variety of important issues, including the economy, the Middle East, energy, space, mobility, design – and marijuana legalization, among other topics. The public dialogue will engage, over seven days, a festival audience of more than 4,000 attendees between the campus at the Aspen Meadows and the town of Aspen, as well as those following the festival online throughout the world.

On Monday, July 1st  (10:20am-11:20am Mountain Time / 12:20-1:20 Eastern), Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, will debate former DEA head and U.S. Congressman Asa Hutchinson on marijuana legalization. Nadelmann and Hutchinson have previously debated on a national stage, such as on CNN’s Crossfire.

Click here to read the entire article.

Aspen Ideas Festival Inspires, Engages, Promotes Debate

indexEvery summer, some of the most interesting thinkers, leaders and artists in the U.S. gather to share ideas in Aspen, Colorado.  It’s called the Aspen Ideas Festival.  It is an incubator of creativity which attracts the best and the brightest in many fields – from across the United States and around the world to the small western U.S. town of Aspen, known for its great natural beauty.

Xiao Xiao, pianist, technologist and doctoral candidate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, brought to Aspen her insights from piano-playing to human-computer interaction, designing experiences that bridge the digital and the physical.

“One day when I was practicing the piano I was looking at the really pretty reflection that’s in front of the keyboard of my hands, and I had this thought of wouldn’t it be really beautiful if instead of seeing my own hands there I could see somebody else’s hands,” Xiao Xiao said.  Dr. Joel Dudley is director of bioinformatics and assistant professor of genetics and genomic sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He shared at Aspen the great strides made in health care, specifically in the field of personal genomics.

Click here to read the entire article.

Pot Votes in CO Raise Specter of Weed Tourism

Hit the slopes — and then a bong?

Marijuana legalization votes this week in Colorado and Washington state don’t just set up an epic state-federal showdown on drug laws for residents. The measures also open the door for marijuana tourism.

Both marijuana measures make marijuana possession in small amounts OK for all adults over 21 — not just state residents but visitors, too. Tourists may not be able to pack their bowls along with their bags, but as long as out-of-state tourists purchase and use the drug while in Colorado or Washington, they wouldn’t violate the marijuana measures.

Of course, that’s assuming the recreational marijuana measures take effect at all. That was very much in doubt Friday as the states awaited word on possible lawsuits from the U.S. Department of Justice asserting federal supremacy over drug law.

So the future of marijuana tourism in Colorado and Washington is hazy. But that hasn’t stopped rampant speculation, especially in Colorado, where tourism is the No. 2 industry thanks to the Rocky Mountains and a vibrant ski industry.

The day after Colorado approved recreational marijuana by a wide margin, the headline in the Aspen Times asked, “Aspendam?” referring to Amsterdam’s marijuana cafes.

Colorado’s tourism director, Al White, tried to downplay the prospect of a new marijuana tourism boom. “It won’t be as big a deal as either side hopes or fears,” White said. Maybe not. But many are asking about marijuana tourism.

Ski resorts are “certainly watching it closely,” said Jennifer Rudolph of Colorado Ski Country USA, a trade association that represents 21 Colorado resorts.

The Colorado counties where big ski resorts are located seem to have made up their minds. The marijuana measure passed by overwhelming margins, with more support than in less visited areas.

The home county of Aspen approved the marijuana measure more than 3-to-1. More than two-thirds approved marijuana in the home county of Colorado’s largest ski resort, Vail. The home county of Telluride ski resort gave marijuana legalization its most lopsided victory, nearly 8 in 10 favoring the measure.

“Some folks might come to Colorado to enjoy some marijuana as will be their right. So what?” said Betty Aldworth, advocacy director for the Colorado marijuana campaign.

Marijuana backers downplayed the impact on tourism. Aldworth pointed out that pot-smoking tourists wouldn’t exactly be new. Colorado ski slopes already are dotted with “smoke shacks,” old mining cabins that have been illicitly repurposed as places to smoke pot out of the cold. And the ski resort town of Breckenridge dropped criminal penalties for marijuana use two years ago.


Film Festival Season in Colorado: Something to Suit Every Taste

Now in its sophomore year, the Crested Butte Film Festival plans to elude any sort of slump, starting with tapping moviemaker Alex Cox as its inaugural guest programmer.

“We’re very lucky to have him here,” said Michael Brody, who, along with wife Jennifer, founded and directs the Western Slope festival. “He wanted to show ‘Walker,’ ” Brody said, adding, “it’s wild, chaotic.”

Last year, the director of “Repo Man” and “Sid & Nancy” joined the University of Colorado at Boulder faculty as an assistant professor.

“Walker,” his 1987 acid Western, stars Ed Harris as the historical figure William Walker, an American adventurer who became president of Nicaragua in 1857, was removed in 1859 and met a bad end in Honduras in 1860. Cox breaks conventional period storytelling. (There’s a helicopter escape!) Reviewing the film in The New York Times, Vincent Canby wrote, “Cox and the writer Rudy Wurlitzer have made ‘Walker’ a hip, cool, political satire that’s almost as lunatic as the title character.”

Wild and chaotic, indeed

Other highlights: Boulder-produced doc and Sundance 2012 victor “Chasing Ice,” by Jeff Orlowski. The wondrous short “One finger, two dots then me,” featuring poet Derrick C. Brown. “Under African Skies,” about Paul Simon’s return to South Africa, the site of his legendary album “Graceland.”

Click here to read about five other film festivals we’re psyched about this fall.

National Publisher Buys Aspen Magazine

Aspen Magazine has a new owner. National magazine publisher Modern Luxury announced Monday that it has acquired Aspen Magazine, which launched in 1973. Janet O’Grady, the previous owner, will remain the editor-in-chief, according to a statement.

“Aspen Magazine is the perfect addition to the Modern Luxury brand and its portfolio of titles,” O’Grady said in the statement. “The cities where Modern Luxury has strong titles, like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Dallas and Houston, for instance, also happen to be Aspen’s biggest markets, a fact very important to both our local and national advertisers.

“I’m excited to be part of a company that is bullish on great content and print and is staying ahead of the curve in integrating print with digital platforms in these game-changing times. I look forward to continuing to curate and discover the best choices for our loyal readers.”

Aspen Magazine is part of Modern Luxury’s expansion plans that include the launching of a magazine in the Hamptons next summer. Modern Luxury currently publishes 40 titles in 12 of the U.S.’ most affluent cities.