The words "Aspen Colorado vacation" invokes visions of snow-capped mountains that can be skied with the rich, the beautiful and the famous. However, Aspen is more than a just a playground for the elite. An Aspen Colorado vacation provides people from all walks of life with the opportunity to explore the town's rich cultural history.

Like many other locations in Colorado, Aspen's history was influenced by the mining craze of the late 1800s. Many of Aspen's impressive Victorian edifices were built in this period. In 1883, Jerome Wheeler, a wealthy entrepreneur from New York embarked on an Aspen vacation and decided to invest in its mining properties. He also invested in Midland Railroad, which added to the success of the community. Wheeler then went on to build two of Aspen's most prominent buildings: The Hotel Jerome and the Wheeler Opera House.

The grand opening of the Wheeler Opera House was a significant event in Aspen's history. Rumors of the theater's elaborate interior inspired potential visitors to dress in a manner that would have them complement their surroundings. As a result, the request for exquisite millenary was a great benefit to local merchants. This in turn benefited the entire economy of the Aspen Colorado vacation area.

Unfortunately, when silver was demonetized in 1893, the town's economy, as well as Aspen Colorado travel, began to suffer. Although the town survived as a ranching center, its population was rarely above 700. When a fire damaged much of the Wheeler Opera House in 1912, hope in the future of Aspen Colorado travel began to die.

Help came briefly in 1935, when an international group came to Aspen in search for a perfect location for a ski area. They hired Swiss Avalanche expert André Roche to develop. However, the outbreak of World War I forestalled their plans. Yet even though the plans to develop a ski area were temporarily delayed, the presence of the 10th Mountain Division in nearby Camp Hale had a significant influence on Aspen's future. Although the soldiers trained at Camp Hale, they "played" in Aspen in their free time.

In the 1940s, Friedl Pfeiffer, an Austrian ski instructor and former member of the 10th Mountain Division teamed up with a Chicago industrialist Walter Paepcke and his wife Elizabeth. The Paepckes were interested in developing Aspen as a cultural center, and Pfeiffer wanted to build a ski area that rivaled the great resorts of Europe. Both accomplished their dream. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Aspen Colorado Resort added three more mountains: Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass. Meanwhile, Paepcke revived the Wheeler Opera House and helped plan the Goethe Bicentennial Convocation, which took place in Aspen in 1949. This event inspired the development of a multitude of dance, theatre and musical study programs, which in turn had a significant influence on Aspen Colorado travel.

Today, Aspen Colorado is a year-round Mecca for the arts and recreation. In the winter, the Aspen Colorado Resort features some of the best skiing in the Rocky Mountains. Since the Aspen Colorado Resort is no longer a skiers-only mountains, snowboarders can also join in the fun.

An Aspen Colorado vacation encompasses all of the glory and glamour of skiing. Excellent grooming, a superb ski school, an average of 300 inches of snowfall and varied terrain make for a skiing experience that is second to none. Although Aspen has the reputation for advanced skiing, there is actually terrain accessible to skiers and riders of all levels.

Aspen is composed of four mountains: Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain and Buttermilk. Snowmass is at a base elevation of 8,104 feet, and a summit elevation of 12, 510 feet. Its vertical rise is 4, 406 feet. Twenty-two lifts serve 88 trails. Snowmass is noted for its wide-open, groomed cruisers. It has been cited as one of the best family destinations in North America.

Aspen Mountain is also known as Ajax. It is famous for its steeps and bumps. Its base is at 7, 945 feet and its summit is at 11, 212 feet, with a vertical rise of 3,267 feet. Eight lifts serve 76 very challenging trails. Powder fans can take a luxury Sno-Cat tour off the backside of Aspen Mountain. Gourmet lunch is included.

Aspen Highlands is at a base elevation of 8,045, with a summit of 11, 675 feet. It has a vertical rise of 3,635 feet. Five lifts serve 131 trails. Aspen Highlands is famous for its steep, big mountain bowl skiing

Although Buttermilk is home to the ESPN X Games, it is actually the best mountain for beginners. With a base elevation of 7, 870 feet and a summit of 9,900 feet, it is a good mountain to start with, if you are coming from sea level. Buttermilk's vertical rise is at 2,030 feet. Nine lifts serve 44 trails.

An Aspen Colorado ski vacation can also give you the opportunity to experience some of the best ski clinics in North America. For example Thomas Crum, author of Journey to Center, offers workshop called The Magic of Skiing, which teaches a mind/body approach to skiing. Another great workshop to attend on your Aspen Ski Vacation is Weems Westfeldt's Diamond Ski Weeks. Weems is the author of Brilliant Skiing. Ski industry insiders consider him to be one of the best instructors in the country.

If you are you interested in skiing off-piste, check out John Clendenin's Camp with the Champs. Clendenin also has a highly innovative program, which features an indoor ski stimulator. Lessons on the simulator help you develop skills without the fear of falling.

In the warmer seasons, outdoor enthusiasts can participate in hot-air ballooning, river rafting, fly-fishing, horseback riding and many other activities. Cultural activities include the HBO Comedy Festival, The Food and Wine Magazine Classic, Aspen Theatre in the Park, The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and many other events.

Whether you are taking an Aspen ski vacation, or exploring the cultural aspects of Aspen Colorado travel, this is a trip that will stay in your memory forever.



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