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Don?t ski? Aspen has all the answers

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Entertainment,Andrea Farnum
Not everyone is happy to strap on skis and plummet headlong down a snowy slope. What are skiing devotees to do if their family or friends don’t share their enthusiasm for the powder-filled peaks? Colorado’s premier ski town of Aspen offers not only four ski resorts, but also a plethora of activities to appease the non-skiers in your group.

“To me, there is no better spot than Aspen to keep me happy while my husband schusses the day away,” said Tracey Reider, an elementary school teacher from Towson. “I’m not shy about it — I just hate skiing — but there’s so much to do in Aspen that I don’t even have to get near the slopes.”

Ranked the top après-ski resort by Ski Magazine, Aspen not only has activities for skiers, but also offers an opera, high-end shopping, five-star restaurants and the best celebrity watching in Colorado.

“Aspen is a great compromise for families that have both skiers and non-skiers,” said John Labuda, a veteran ski instructor who relocated to Aspen 10 years ago. “You have world-class skiing facilities as well as culture all wrapped together in this very scenic former silver-mining town.”


Culture abounds in Aspen’s century-old Wheeler Opera House, which not only features world-class opera, but also hosts big-name music entertainers. Music aficionados might want to time their travel from February to March, when the Aspen Winter Music Festival goes into full swing, featuring classical performances that are up-close and personal.

The town’s 30 art galleries feature local painters and sculptors and exhibit world-renown artists as well. Rotating high-caliber contemporary exhibitions are featured at the Aspen Art Museum instead of a permanent collection.

“This is definitely what I would call an artsy-fartsy town,” said Labuda, laughing. “In my years here, I have seen every kind of art imaginable.”

Hipsters and celebrity hounds will want to belly up to the bar at the 39 Degrees Lounge at the Sky Hotel. This is the place to be seen, complete with outdoor fire pits, hot tub and heated pool that are open all year. “I never miss having a drink there when I’m in Aspen,” said Anne Marie Falcone, an accountant from Annapolis. “On one trip I managed to see Kevin Costner, Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson — you can’t ask for more than that.”


On the Net
» www.aspenchamber.org
» www.aspenmusic.org
» www.wheeleroperahouse.com
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