Aspen, Colorado

VOGUE Australia - - Vogue Voyage -

Think of Aspen and snow and ski­ing are al­most cer­tainly the first things that come to mind. But this swish moun­tain town is just as pop­u­lar with vis­i­tors in sum­mer. Given the clear blue skies, fresh moun­tain air, lush green lawns, bursts of wild­flow­ers ev­ery­where and tiny hum­ming­birds whizzing past as you make your way along man­i­cured foot­paths, it’s no sur­prise the town is buzzing in the “off-sea­son”.

Fly­ing into Aspen’s tiny air­port, the plane tax­ies past a long row of parked pri­vate jets and pulls up out­side a low-set ter­mi­nal. Step­ping onto the tar­mac, you’re greeted by a kitschy carved wooden bear hold­ing up a “Wel­come” sign. It’s the first of many con­tra­dic­tions about this town: there’s plenty of con­spic­u­ous wealth on show, with houses trad­ing for tens of mil­lions, but it’s far from be­ing a snooty play­ground of the su­per-rich.

The rel­a­tively down-to-earth, ap­proach­able vibe Aspen gives off springs from its 20th-cen­tury rein­ven­tion: in the 1940s Chicagob­ased in­dus­tri­al­ists Wal­ter and El­iz­a­beth Paepcke trans­formed the sleepy town into a cul­tural re­treat for the mind, body and spirit, com­plete with a Bauhaus-style mod­ernist cam­pus and, in 1946, built the town’s first ski lift. The Paepckes’ hu­man­ist ideals live on in the Aspen In­sti­tute, the Aspen Mu­sic Fes­ti­val and the ev­i­dent sense of com­mu­nity among the lo­cals, even as prop­erty prices have gone through the roof and headed to­wards the strato­sphere.

Their name lives on, too, in the Paepcke Suite, the grand­est of the six grand suites at the Lit­tle Nell, which is the only ski-in/skiout five-star re­sort in Aspen and has an equally im­pres­sive sum­mer of­fer­ing. The Lit­tle Nell’s ad­ven­ture concierge team can or­gan­ise ev­ery­thing from Jeep tours, horse­back rid­ing, cy­cling ex­cur­sions (in­clud­ing “ride and dine” din­ners where you cy­cle to your des­ti­na­tion and, thank­fully, are driven back af­ter­ward), fly-fish­ing and trips up the moun­tain to star-gaze at night.

In sum­mer the Lit­tle Nell’s res­i­dent gar­dener Ara­bella Beavers plants the gar­den beds around the pool with an abun­dance of ed­i­ble plants, which at­tract both hum­ming­birds flit­ting from flower to flower and chefs from the ho­tel’s El­e­ment 47 restau­rant, who pop over to grab herbs for the night’s of­fer­ings. Just as the ho­tel’s Ajax Tav­ern is the epi­cen­tre of the après-ski scene in winter, there’s no bet­ter place in sum­mer than an out­door ta­ble at El­e­ment 47, fac­ing the colour­ful “liv­ing wall” plant­ings across the pool while sip­ping wine from the renowned 22,000-bot­tle col­lec­tion over­seen by the Lit­tle Nell’s wine di­rec­tor Carl­ton Mc­Coy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.