A few months back we wrote a post on ways you could stretch your dollar in Aspen and Snowmass Village during the winter. Now that we’re in the throws of summer, we thought we’d offer up some similar budget-conscious suggestions with a decidedly summer twist.
This past Friday, Aspen Snowmass kept the Elk Camp Gondola running until sunset as a mix of locals and vacationers, families and couples, foodies and revelers headed up to Elk Camp for the first of 10 Valhalla Nights this summer.
Held every Friday through the end of August (as well as select Tuesdays), this evening party serves up delicious food, drinks on the Elk Camp patio, live music, and classic summer pastimes from s’mores to hula hooping to mountain biking to badminton. It’s the summer rendition of the popular Ullr Nights, which is held at the same locale in winter.
I came up with my wife and two daughters — ages 4 and 5 months — and I’m convinced it was the mellow vibe that kept the kiddos tantrum-free well-past their bedtime. The event offers up several kid-friendly activities that appeal across a spectrum of ages. So while the older kids tackled the climbing wall (or could enjoy Bike Snowmass’ mountain biking trails), our oldest played in the giant sandbox, explored wildflowers on a nearby nature trail, and danced a jig to the live music.
But most of all, she enjoyed the gondola ride — her first since she was a baby. The views of the forest as the sun set, the promise of a playground at the top … she was downright giddy with anticipation. (And here I was, thinking that s’mores or the Strider bikes would be her favorite part).
As for my wife and I, we are foodies, so the roast chicken with golden beet salad and asparagus, and creamy mac-and-cheese was an immediate dose of comfort. And it was especially cool to see a few selections of Colorado wine (yes, Colorado makes excellent wine) on the wine list.
Valhalla Nights will be held this upcoming Friday (July 18) from 4pm to 8:30pm. For more information on future dates and other details, check out the official page for Valhalla Nights.
When it comes to “reasons why we all love summer,” few things rank higher on the list than the classic family vacation. Its that rare time in the year when you can reconnect and rejuvenate as a family, and build memories for your kids that they’ll carry into adulthood.
With all that in mind, there is also nothing wrong in cherishing time away with your spouse while your kids dive head-first into the Camp Aspen Snowmass experience. Reconnect? Rejuvenate? Build memories to last a lifetime? Do for each other what you’re doing for your kids by enjoying these six “grown-up-centric” things to do in and around Aspen Snowmass.
While there are plenty of kid-friendly mountain biking trails at Bike Snowmass — as well as around the valley — there are plenty you’ll pass up due to difficulty if the kids come along. Chase each other up and down the mountain on such trails as the Vapor Trail and Cross Mountain Trail. It’s the ultimate couples workout.
2. Yoga at Sundeck
At 10:20am every Monday, Wednesday and Friday through the summer, we offer free yoga classes at the Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain (with gondola ticket purchase). It’s the perfect opportunity for couples to open their minds, stretch their bodies and savor the remarkable views of the Elk Mountains. Follow the class with an easy mountain-top hike.
With the kids at Camp Aspen Snowmass for the day, now is the time for you two to indulge your inner foodie and not worry about pleasing a fussy eater or two (or three). No other mountain town in the United States offers a better collection of gourmet restaurants than Aspen (there’s a reason the FOOD & WINE Classic is held here). This higher standard of dining even carries over to the on-mountain offerings at Elk Camp, Sundeck and Ajax Tavern, where you’ll savor exceptional cuisine in a casual, laidback environment.
4. Indulge in a Little Shopping
If you are in need of some new threads — or just want to rediscover the joys of shopping without the kids in tow — Aspen is tailor-made for this moment. Throughout the walkable and charming downtown, you’ll find a blend of haute couture brands (e.g. Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna, Burberry), upscale consignment stores, shoe boutiques, jewelers, art galleries and wine shops.
Rediscover the joys of solitude with each other by taking a pulse-quickening hike in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Here, in the shadows of six 14,000-foot peaks, you can reach unbelievable heights and take in some of Colorado’s best scenic vistas. Find trail suggestions on our complete guide to the area.
6. Speaking of Indulgence … Hit the Spa
Everybody could use a little pampering now and again, and here’s your chance. Swing by the Remède Spa at the St. Regis Aspen, the Auberge Spa at the Hotel Jerome, the Aspen Club & Spa at the Sky Hotel, or any of a number of local day spas and take your unwinding to a new level.
7. Savor a Night on the Town
Camp Aspen Snowmass’ overnight campouts for kids serve a dual purpose. Foremost is the unforgettable experience your children will have sleeping out under the stars. But we also can’t forget what it affords the two of you: the chance to savor Aspen and Snowmass’ dining, nightlife, and arts and culture scene on your own terms. Begin your evening with a stroll through the Aspen Art Museum, take in a performance by the renowned Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, dine at any of a handful of acclaimed restaurants (such as Element 47, Rustique or Matsuhisa) and then take in a concert at Belly Up. When you pick-up the kids in the morning, they might think they had more fun than the two of you… just let them believe what they want.
Shuttles to Camp Aspen Snowmass
Parents: as you plan out your day without the kiddos, take note that we offer free shuttles from Aspen (pickup is at 8am at the Yellow Brick Schoolhouse between First & Garmisch on Bleeker St.) to Camp Aspen Snowmass. This gives you a great option to get your day together started quickly if you are Aspen-based. Learn more on our Parent Information page for Camp Aspen Snowmass.
Summer is just around the corner, and we’re eagerly getting ready to reopen the Snowmass Mountain and Aspen Mountain to mountain bikers, hikers, nature lovers, and of course, families.
So what do families have to look forward to this summer? Continue reading