10 Tips for the Best Ski Vacation in Aspen

Cover: Aspen Mountain
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #1
Get in ski shape before you visit

10 Tips for the Best Ski Vacation in Aspen - Tip 1To make the most of your time on the slopes, some time spent pre-ski conditioning will get your body ready for high-altitude fun and also help prevent injury.

Rachelle Edinger, a Personal Trainer at the Aspen Club & Spa, put together a ski conditioning program for getting us into top ski shape before we ever clicked into our skis.

Check out Rachelle’s ski conditioning suggestions »

Ski Conditioning
Ski Conditioning
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #2
Leave your stuff at home

10 Tips for the Best Ski Vacation in Aspen - Tip 2What if you just went to the airport, flew to Aspen, and then someone brought everything you needed to your hotel, condo or house?  Boot fittings with a glass of wine in hand. Now we’re talking.

Check out Ski Butlers-they bring it all to you (well, except the wine) »

Aspen Ski Butlers, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Ski Butlers, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #3
The perfect spot for some zzzzs

10 Tips for the Best Ski Vacation in Aspen - Tip 3Finding a great hotel for your Aspen ski vacation is easy – making a choice may be a little more difficult.

Aspen has a wide variety of accommodations from quaint hotels to luxurious condominiums. Things to consider – while staying in the central core, or downtown Aspen will be more expensive but highly convenient for après, shopping and dining. Staying at Highlands or Buttermilk is ski in/ski out, but can be a bit quiet in the evenings. Families love the atmosphere at Snowmass, but it is about 15 miles from Aspen (the bus is free).


Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #4
Choose the best ski gear

10 Tips for the Best Ski Vacation in Aspen - Tip 4We all want to be comfy & warm all day on the mountain & a big part of accomplishing that lies with our ski gear choices. What makes some ski gear better than the rest?

Hear it from an expert – a former ski racer who loves skiing, owns two Aspen ski shops, and simply believes in things done right.

Bill Miller of Hamilton Sports & Miller Sports walks us through some options for the best in ski jackets, ski pants, and skis.

Aspen shppping: Hamilton Sports
Aspen shopping: Hamilton Sports
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #5
Which mountain should you ski or ride? Hmm, Aspen has four.

10 Tips for the Best Ski Vacation in Aspen - Tip 5Finding a mountain for your skill level or mood for the day is easy in Aspen – there’s four to choose from!

Whether you are looking for some green gliding or the most challenging inbounds skiing in the state of Colorado, you will find it at AspenSnowmass. Check out all four:

Aspen
Aspen Highlands
Buttermilk
Snowmass

Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Highlands, Aspen, Colorado Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #6
Aspen Eats

10 Tips for the Best Ski Vacation in Aspen - Tip 6You are sure to work up an appetite while in Aspen and your palate will be pleased with the variety and quality of Aspen restaurants.

From five course dinners to a bite on the run, Aspen restaurants offer something for everyone. A few of our favorites…

  • Red Onion. Aspen’s oldest restaurant with a great bar and great happy hour beer prices.
  • J-Bar.  Always a fun crowd with a healthy number of locals.
  • Matsuhisa. Best sushi in town and good bar specials.
  • Ajax Tavern. Best location (base of the gondola) for people watching.
  • Brexi. Good bar menu deals.
  • Cache Cache. Prettiest bar in Aspen. Again, good bar menu specials.
  • Mezzaluna. Guess what – great après menu! Our go-to-spot for pizza.

Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #7
A night out on the town

10 Tips for the Best Ski Vacation in Aspen - Tip 7When the sun goes down, Aspen’s nightlife comes alive.

Dinner? Drinks? Theatre? Ballet? A concert? Aspen offers world-class entertainment in some of the finest venues anywhere.

Be sure to stop by the Wheeler Opera House, Aspen’s cultural showcase & premiere site for concerts, movies, festivals, lectures, community events and opera performances since opening night on April 23, 1889.

Wheeler Opera House, Aspen, Colorado
Wheeler Opera House, Aspen, Colorado Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet
Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Photo credit: Rosalie O’Connor. Photo courtesy of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet.

The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet brings touring dance companies from around the world to Aspen in both the summer and winter seasons. The company regularly performs at the Kennedy Center, American Dance Festival, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, and New York’s Joyce Theater, as well in cities around the world.

Belly Up Aspen is an intimate venue in downtown Aspen that hosts over 300 live concerts a year with musical talent ranging from Jane’s Addiction to Wyclef Jean to Seal.

The choices are yours – put together your favorite combination and enjoy your night on the town. Aspen awaits.


Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #8
Take a day off and go to the spa

10 Tips for the Best Ski Vacation in Aspen - Tip 8Aspen is filled with luxurious spas – find the perfect place for a tranquil day of pampering & indulgence.

The Aspen Club, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #9
Take a lesson from a pro

10 tips for the best ski vacation - #9 ski schoolSki lessons are a great way to start any ski trip, regardless of your skiing level. And, if it’s your first ski trip, ski lessons are a must.

The ski school at Aspen Snowmass is recognized worldwide as one of the best.

They offer group lessons, which can be great fun, as well as private tuition.

Aspen Snowmass Ski School, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Snowmass Ski School, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Best ski vacation in Aspen Tip #10
A bit of Aspen shopping

10 tips for the best ski vacation - #10Aspen has a wide variety of shopping options, from toiny boutiques to local retailers to art galleries.

Head downtown for an afternoon stroll to discover all that Aspen stores have to offer.

Aspen Food & Wine Classic 2012

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

10 tips for the best ski vacation in Aspen
10 tips for the best ski vacation in Aspen Photo: © Chasing Light Media
Denver 16th Street Mall

Weekend in Denver

Cover: 16th Street Mall at night in Denver
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


We swung by Denver this weekend to check out what was new at the annual SnowSports Industries America (SIA15) Snow Show, grabbed a few bites at some of our favorite places, and even got a surprise snowfall.

Volkl skis at SIA Snow Show 2015 in Denver, Colorado
Volkl skis at SIA Snow Show 2015 in Denver, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Denver is such a great walking city. When we lived here our apartment was in the Riverfront between LoDo and Highlands and we only got our car out about once a week.

We had a view of the Colorado Rockies ballpark from our couch and Sports Authority field from our bedroom.

Coors Field, Denver, Colorado
Coors Field, Denver, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Strolling along the 16th street mall brought back many great memories of bike rides, hikes, lots of beer and some awesome food. Speaking of awesome food – after SIA on Saturday, we headed to Boulder to one of our favorite restaurants, Carelli’s. Upscale casual, Carelli’ makes a great sauce, amazing bread and has a warm, inviting atmosphere.

Carelli's of Boulder, Colorado
Carelli’s of Boulder, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

While a trace of snow was predicted for overnight, we woke up to about 7 inches.

Boulder snow
Boulder snow
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

No visit to the Denver area would be complete without a visit to Cherry Creek, which meant lunch at the Cherry Creek Grill, where the Macho Salad is a must. A  combination of avocado, corn, tomato, scallions, almonds, dates, cornbread croutons, mixed greens, goat cheese and vinaigrette (and chicken for non-vegetarians), the salad is ridiculously good and has a great story behind it.

As the story goes – someone working at a zoo nearby had the then otherwise-named salad for lunch and took their leftovers back. A gorilla named, you guessed it, Macho, was sick and hadn’t been eating. The gorilla wanted the salad, ate it, felt better and the zookeeper went back and told the restaurant the story and they renamed the salad.

Macho salad at Cherry Creek Grill, Denver, Colorado
Macho salad at Cherry Creek Grill, Denver, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

And, by the way, if any part of that story isn’t true – I don’t want to know.


Disclosure & disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

A weekend in Denver
A weekend in Denver Photo: © Chasing Light Media
Four Seasons Vail

Vail Four Seasons

Four Seasons Vail
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


We love staying at Four Seasons resorts.  The Four Seasons are always luxurious and inviting, dog-friendly, and have great staffs and the best of amenities. What’s not to love? The Four Seasons Vail is no exception and is actually one of the best Fours Seasons where we have had the privilege to stay. Here’s why…

Four Seasons Vail
Four Seasons Vail
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Four Seasons Vail: Large rooms with beautiful views

Four Seasons Vail
Four Seasons Vail Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Our room on this visit was a mountain view king and it was one of the largest “standard” rooms we’ve had at a Four Seasons.

The hickory entry is impressive, with a built-in cabinet complete with coffee and tea maker, assorted teas, mini fridge and glassware.

Beautifully decorated, the room was warm and inviting with hickory accents, a large stone fireplace, an oversized chair and ottoman, and a nice sized desk with plenty of outlets.

Comfortable chairs on the balcony rounded out the accommodations and were used frequently during our stay as the perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine and take in the fabulous view of Vail Mountain.

Four Seasons Vail
Four Seasons Vail
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Four Seasons Vail: Dog-friendly

The room was prepared to enchant even the most discriminating pooch and Kibo instantly gave it two paws up. The fluffy dog bed and two bowls made it very dog-friendly. The homemade puppy cookies made it dog-delightful.

Four Seasons Vail
Kibo at the Four Seasons Vail Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Four Seasons Vail: Oversized, luxurious baths

The very large, limestone bath was pure luxury.

A gorgeous soaking tub, long double sink vanity, glass-enclosed shower with rain shower head and separate enclosed WC made for a more than just a nice place to get refreshed.

Four Seasons Vail
Four Seasons Vail Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Four Seasons Vail: The best of amenities

All your needs are met with a hair dryer, lighted make-up mirror, big screen TV, and twice-daily housekeeping, should you desire it. But not just conveniences are provided.

Four Seasons lavishes bathrooms with L’Occitane and bath products. Since experiencing L’Occitane bath products at a Four Seasons over a decade ago, our own bath has never been absent of the scent of lemon verbena. In addition to the L’Occitane luxury, the thick robes, softest of towels, slippers, and down pillows and duvets, turn a visit into an experience of comfort and pleasure and not just a hotel stay.

Four Seasons Vail: Pool, bar and other creature comforts

After a morning of hiking or mountain biking, a bit of pool time is a welcome afternoon retreat. As the sun starts to set, the pool-side, open-air fireplace is a good place to curl up and finish the last of the afternoon with a beverage.

And, speaking of beverages, the Fireside Lounge is a wonderful watering hole to meet with friends, while enjoying the beautiful views of Vail Mountain  – and they serve a mean bloody mary.

Four Seasons Bloody Mary
Four Seasons Bloody Mary Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Flame, the onsite restaurant, serves a wonderful, diverse breakfast and, throughout the day and evening, provides local-inspired specialties in a casually elegant atmosphere.

On our visit, we did not have the opportunity to utilize the fitness center or visit the spa, which appeared to be the perfect place for a time of relaxation, restoration, and rejuvenation.

Four Seasons Vail
Four Seasons Vail
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Four Seasons Vail:

Location: One Vail Road, Vail, CO 81657, U.S.A. At the main entry to Vail Village, a short walk from the base of Vail Mountain

Design: Contemporary alpine lodge with peaked roofs and wooden beams outside, and natural hickory wood and limestone

Rooms: 118 – 97 guest rooms, 24 suites and 16 private residences

Special touches: Fireplace in every room, L’Occitane bath products, huge closets, rain shower head, robes and slippers, coffee and tea maker

Facilities: Fitness center, game room, library, year-round outdoor pool, sauna, ski concierge, spa, steam room, teen center, whirlpool

Area activities:  All-terrain vehicle excursions, biking, bird watching, canoeing, fishing, golf, hiking, horseback riding, jogging, kayaking, skiing, tennis, whitewater rafting

Spa: 13 treatment room, private couples’ suites, relaxation garden, sport and high altitude therapies

WiFi: For a fee

Restaurants & bars: Flame, Bean and Gone, Pool bar, The Remedy Bar


Disclosure & disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

 

Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Article by Kim Hull


The Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail is an easy, short trail meandering along the creek.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Maroon Lake Scenic Trail: Getting there

From the roundabout west of Aspen, take Maroon Creek Road.

Check the sign just past the roundabout for road closure status. During busy times & the summer, cars are only permitted past the guard gate to the Maroon Lake parking lot before 9am or after 5pm. On these days, park at Aspen Highlands and take the Maroon Bells bus (runs approx. every 20 minutes). If driving, a $10 fee applies for a 5-day pass.

Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail: The hike

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

From the parking lot, follow the trail to the lake.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The trail continues to the right of the lake. At the “Scenic Loop Trail or Crater Lake” marker, keep left.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Cross the bridge over Maroon Creek and continue on the trail.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The trail forms a loop through the meadow and trees.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

The trail is approximately 1 mile roundtrip.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

Disclaimer: The content & opinions expressed are entirely our own. We received no compensation for this article. Reviews are opinion only and Chasing Light Media accepts no responsibility for how the information is used.

Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull, Cool Adventures © Chasing Light Media

 

Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Meadows Trail in Aspen

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Meadows Trail is a short, pretty hike that begins in Aspen’s West End by Aspen Meadows Resort.

Aspen Meadows Resort, Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Meadows Resort, Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Meadows Trail: Getting there

Head west on Main Street, go through the “S” curve, then turn north (right) on 8th Street.  The trail begins at 8th and Meadows.

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Meadows Trail: The hike

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Meadows Trail is an easy, one mile roundtrip hike next to Castle Creek.

Beginning at 8th and Meadows, the trail runs next to 8th Street.

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado (Buttermilk in distance)
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

At Aspen Meadows, turn left and head down the switchbacks behind the resort.

At the bottom of the switchbacks, Meadows Trail runs along Castle Creek, then intersects with Rio Grande Trail.

Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Meadows Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Additional Aspen, Colorado hikes

Aspen hiking overview
Rio Grande Trail
Richmond Ridge
Smuggler Mountain
Hunter Creek Trail
River Run Trail
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop
Maroon Bells Crater Lake

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Hunter Creek Trail starts from Aspen and heads uphill (about 5 miles roundtrip).

Hunter Creek Trail: Getting there

From Main Street & Mill (corner of the Hotel Jerome), take Mill & cross the bridge by the old Art Museum.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Turn left on Red Mountain Road & then right at Lone Pine Road.  The parking lot is on the corner and the trailhead is just up the street behind the parking lot.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Hunter Creek Trail: The hike

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Hunter Creek trail is a moderate climb up a rocky path next to the creek.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Hunter Creek Trail starts from Aspen and heads uphill for about 2.5 miles (one way) with about a 1,000 vertical foot elevation gain.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The hike is mostly shady and runs next to the creek, in the midst of aspens.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Views from each of the bridges provide beautiful views of Aspen to the south.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

At the last bridge before the road (about .75 mile), be sure to look north at the waterfalls.

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Additional Aspen, Colorado hikes

Aspen hiking overview
Meadows Trail
Rio Grande Trail
Richmond Ridge
Smuggler Mountain
River Run Trail
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop
Maroon Bells Crater Lake

Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Hunter Creek Trail in Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado

American Mountaineering Museum in Golden Colorado

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

A visit to the Bradford Washburn American Mountaineering Museum is a fascinating journey that educates, inspires and immerses one in the beauty, history, adventure & cultures found in the world’s mountains.

Located in downtown Golden, CO, the museum showcases the contributions of legendary mountaineers & climbers and their roles in history, while educating in an interactive environment.

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Bringing Everest stories into perspective

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Large-scale model of Mount Everest
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

For anyone that has read an Everest expedition book or article, the push-pin marked routes on the large-scale model of Mt Everest bring the accounts to life.

View the historic West Ridge route climbed in 1963 by American Tom Hornbein & Willie Unsoeld or trace the first ascent climbed in 1953 by Edmund Hillary & Tenzing Norgay, while gaining a deeper understanding and respect for the bravery, adventure & skill these mountaineers have contributed to history.

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Historical artifacts & mountaineering pioneers

The evolution & spirit of mountaineering is captured in the collection of historic items the museum displays.

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Oxygen cylinder from the 1922 expedition to Everest lead by George Mallory.
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Peter Schoening's Ice Axe. Used to save the lives of five men during the 1953 American expedition that attempted K2. American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Peter Schoening’s Ice Axe. Used to save the lives of five men during the 1953 American expedition that attempted K2.
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Living in & protecting our mountains

The museum educates with interactive, colorful exhibits ranging from learning more about the effect of altitude on humans to the cultures that live in the world’s mountains.

American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
American Mountaineering Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

American Mountaineering Museum

Location: 710 10th Street Golden, CO 80401
Hours: Monday-Saturday, Closed Sunday
Phone: 303-996-2755
Website: mountaineeringmuseum.org

Click image to launch viewer

Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado

Hiking Smuggler Mountain in Aspen

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Smuggler Mountain is a popular hike with the trailhead located in east Aspen.

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Smuggler Mountain: Getting there

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

From Main Street & Mill (corner of the Hotel Jerome), take Mill to Gibson.  Turn right & at the Y intersection, keep left onto South Avenue.  Turn right onto Park Circle to Smuggler Mountain Road.  There is parking on the right & and a 2nd lot is just above.

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Smuggler Mountain: The hike

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Kim Hull, Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Smuggler Mountain trail is a fairly steep 1.5 mile climb that ends at the observation deck overlooking Aspen.

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Smuggler Mine sits at the base of the mountain. The trail is actually a multi-purpose dirt road shared by hikers, bikers, runners & dogs and is quite heavily used, especially on the weekends.

Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

At the top is an observation deck with stunning views of Aspen.

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Kim Hull & Kibo, Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Additional Aspen, Colorado hikes

Aspen hiking overview
Meadows Trail
Rio Grande Trail
Richmond Ridge
Hunter Creek Trail
River Run Trail
Maroon Bells Maroon Lake Scenic Loop
Maroon Bells Crater Lake

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Hiking Smuggler Mountain Trail, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Hamilton Sports, Aspen

Hamilton Sports

Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The minute you walk through the door at Hamilton Sports you know you are in a real ski shop.

Not a store that has some ski gear, but an authentic ski shop – a place where quality rules and everyone is passionate about skiing, quick to answer a question or just happy to talk about time on the hill that day.

Located just across from the Aspen Mountain Gondola Plaza, Hamilton Sports is a great place to stop in for ski clothing, skis, helmets, gloves, accessories, ski rentals or to drop off your skis for the best ski tune in Aspen.

The making of a great ski shop

Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

In 1997, speed skier & member of the 200kmh club (top speed 130mph), Bill Miller and world record speed skier, Olympic bronze medalist & first person to ski 150mph, Jeff Hamilton, founded Hamilton Sports in Aspen.

Since that time, Hamilton Sports has built a strong reputation of quality and service based on owner Bill Miller’s continual determination to “offer the finest ski wear and equipment in the entire ski world.”

Our favorite ski shop

Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

We happened into Hamilton Sports about a decade ago on our first visit to Aspen and purchased some skis on that visit.

Since that time, we’ve purchased countless other ski items, clothing & accessories – and we wouldn’t have our skis tuned anywhere else.

There’s really not much of a better way to start the day than to get up, grab a bus, walk half a block to Hamilton Sports, pick up perfectly freshly tuned skis, and then head across the street to some of the world’s best skiing on Aspen Mountain.

Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Over the decade, we’ve grown to consider Hamilton Sports as our local ski shop – even when we lived in Texas.  Why?

  • Awesome KJUS selection.  We’ve been a fan of KJUS ski wear since it’s launch by Norwegian ski racer and Olympic champion, Lasse Kjus. Hamilton Sports has the best selection of KJUS in Aspen (or anywhere else). While many stores will carry a couple of styles for the guys, Hamilton Sports has it all – for both men AND women. And, if you’re not in Aspen, they’ll ship it to you.
  • Great ski selection and experts to help you choose the right ones.  The Hamilton Sports team will take the time to make sure you get the ski that is right for the way you ski.  Hamilton carries the top skis available, featuring Blizzard and Kastle. With regard to Kastle – Hamilton Sports was the very first ski shop in the United States to offer the redesigned Kastle ski line.
  • Want to rent the best? Renting is a great way to try out new skis.  At Hamilton Sports, 100% of the demo line rentals are brand new ski equipment from the lines they carry – and if you read the bullet above this one, you know what that means. Sweeeeet.
  • Best ski tune in Aspen. Voted best ski tuning shop in Aspen by readers of Aspen Times, Hamilton is recognized by Aspen locals as the place to get your skis tuned.

We like Hamilton Sports

Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Hamilton Sports, Aspen
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

When we find a store with great quality and great people – and Hamilton Sports is a perfect example of both – we want to tell you about it.

We ski 100+ days a year and this is our favorite ski shop.  We recommend it.

Check them out…

Visit Hamilton Sports

Location: 520 East Durant Ave Aspen, CO 81611

Winter Hours: 8am to 7pm daily

Phone: 970-925-1200

Website: Hamilton Sports

Hamilton Sports: A preview…

Click image to launch gallery

Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado

Aspen’s largest ski mountain: Snowmass

Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The largest of Aspen Snowmass’ four mountains, Snowmass has 3,332 acres with 150 miles of trails ensuring there’s room enough to play.

And, with cruisers, glades, steeps, 3 terrain parks, a 22-foot superpipe and a beginner pipe, there’s something for everyone to do in all that snow.

Snowmass: Countless options

Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The wide-range of skiing, dining and hotel options make Snowmass very popular with riders and skiers of all ages and abilities.

For the kids and beginners, Fanny Hill is a good place to start, working your way up to Max Park & Scooper off the Village Express lift.

The AspenSnowmass Ski School at Snowmass is a great way to get some top-notch instruction and learn the mountain – it’s well worth the investment.

Advancing up the mountain a bit higher are four areas, from right to left: Sam’s Knob, Big Burn, High Alpine and Elk Camp.

Sam’s Knob is closest to Snowmass Village and has a good mix of greens, blue and blacks.

If you’re looking for some amazing blue cruisers with stunning views, head up to Big Burn to find a playground of long, wide intermediate trails. Served by the Big Burn and Sheer Bliss lifts, Big Burn also has access to black and double black runs.

High Alpine lives up to its name – the runs at the top are all black, with quite a few bumps. Mid-mountain down are blues.

The Elk Camp side of the mountain is home to a variety of blue runs, all with spectacular views.

Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Skiing Snowmass, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Snowmass: Eats

Snowmass Base Village BarSnowmass is home to an abundance of dining options from simple to refined.

On mountain are Gwyn’s High Alpine, Lynn Britt Cabin, Sneaky’s Tavern, Sam’s Smokehouse, Up 4 Pizza, Two Creeks Cafe, Burlingame Cabin, Ullrhof and Elk Camp.

Only slightly off-mountain in the village are dozens more. A couple of our favorites: The Stew Pot, serving homemade soups, sandwiches and a pretty tasty chili dog, and Base Camp Bar & Grill, with a great patio, good food & happy hour specials.

Snowmass: The Facts

Snowmass starts at a base elevation of 8,104 ft.(2,473 m) and rises to a summit elevation of 12,510 ft. (3,813 m) and a vertical rise of 4,406 ft. (1,343 m).

Snowmass’ 3,332 acres (1,448 hectares) contain 94 trails, served by 19 primary lifts.

6% of Snowmass’ trails are green, 47% are blue, 17% are black & 30% are double black. The longest run is 5.3 miles (8.5 km) – yeah, that’s not a typo.

For a Snowmass trail map and more info, head over to the AspenSnowmass website.

 

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado

Skiing Aspen’s Buttermilk

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Buttermilk sits three miles outside of Aspen on Highway 82, providing visitors a view of the impressive 22-foot superpipe as they make their way into Aspen.

The smallest of the four Aspen mountains, Buttermilk is primarily known as the home of the ESPN Winter X-Games and, at the other end of the continuum, a beginner’s mountain.

X Games, Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
X Games, Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Skiing & snowboarding for beginners & families

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Buttermilk’s smooth rolling terrain makes it the Aspen option for new skiers and snowboarders to learn.

Well-groomed and not crowded, West Buttermilk’s gentle greens are the perfect place to build confidence or just enjoy a casual day on the slopes.

To head to West Buttermilk, simply take the Summit Lift to the top and head to the right (west).

West Buttermilk is served by the West Buttermilk lift.

Buttermilk’s ski and snowboard school

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

The Ski & Snowboard Schools of AspenSnowmass teach on all four mountains, but generally beginner and children’s classes are held at either Buttermilk or Snowmass.

Aspen’s Ski & Snowboard School is exceptional, with skilled, professional instructors that strive to make the most of the experience regardless of age or ability.

And, while they’re in ski school…

If you are dropping off someone at ski school, jump on the Summit Express and head up to the Tiehack (east) side of the mountain.

Tiehack boasts blue and black runs that are generally groomed and are served by the Tiehack high-speed quad, new in 2011.

Racer’s Edge in the morning sun can hand over some nice fast cruising to start your day.

Catch some air at Buttermilk’s terrain parks

From beginner to expert, Buttermilk’s two terrain parks have over 100 features including rollers, jibs, boxes and hidden features in trees.

Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Buttermilk, Aspen, Colorado
Photo: Kim Hull © Chasing Light Media

Buttermilk: Eats

Buttermilk has two restaurants: Bumps at the base of the mountain and The CliffHouse at the top of the Summit Express lift.

Boasting views up the mountain of the half-pipe and terrain park, Bumps serves up burgers, pasta, soups and sandwiches in an energetic atmosphere.

The CilffHouse offers lunch with amazing views of surrounding mountains. Dining options include burgers, soups, sandwiches and the very popular Mongolian grill.

Buttermilk: The Facts

Buttermilk has a base elevation of 7,870 ft (2,399 m) and tops out at 9,900 ft (3,018 ft).

It’s 470 acres (190 hectares) contain 44 trails, served by 3 high-speed quads lifts (plus 4 ski school lifts & the Panda Peak lift).

35% of the trails are green, 39% are blue, 26% black & there are no double black.

The longest run is 3 miles.

For a Buttermilk trail map and more info, visit the AspenSnowmass website.

More Aspen

Aspen Mountain
Aspen Highlands
Snowmass
10 tips for the best Aspen ski vacation

 

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Oooh.” “Ah.” “That’s cool!

A visit to the Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum will result in those exclamations and more.

Located in Golden, Colorado, the Geology Museum is home to thousands of mineral, fossil, gemstone, meteorite and historic mining artifact exhibits on two floors.

The Geology Museum, which was started in 1874, is located in a beautiful building with natural light and plenty of room to view the amazing collections on display.

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

From Azurite to Malachite to Ferberite to gold, the brilliant colors and rich textures are stunning.

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Longwave and shortwave ultraviolet fluorescent minerals, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum Highlights

Moon rocks from 2 Apollo missions, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Moon rocks from 2 Apollo missions, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
Murals by Irwin Hoffman originally exhibited at 1939 World's Fair depicting the development of mining, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Murals by Irwin Hoffman originally exhibited at 1939 World’s Fair depicting the development of mining, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
The Betty H Llewellyn Special Exhibit Room housing invited displays, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
The Betty H Llewellyn Special Exhibit Room housing invited displays, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media
A Light in the Darkness lighting display, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
A Light in the Darkness lighting display, Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

Learn more

The Colorado School of Mines Museum is located in Golden, Colorado and is open Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 1-4 p.m.

Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum, Golden, Colorado
Photo: Greg K. Hull © Chasing Light Media

The museum features specimens from many Colorado mining districts, an introductory video on area geology, radioactivity exhibits, fossils, gemstones, and meteorites.

Special thanks to Dr. Bruce Geller, Director & Curator of the Colorado School of Mines Museum

Location: 1310 Maple St Golden, CO 80401

Hours: Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sunday 1-4 p.m.

Phone: 303-273-3815

Website: Colorado School of Mines Geology Museum

Admission: Free