Rocky Mountain Weekender: Aspen on the cheap
The end of the ski season brings with it many things. The slopes come alive with birds and squirrels and skiers in skimpy dress as the long days and warm weather take their toll on the slopes. There’s a little sadness about the season coming to an end but also a lot of anticipation for weather more suited to shorts and hiking boots than skis and numerous layers of outerwear.
But it’s not entirely over – not yet. One of this season’s best end-of-the-year values is at normally pricey Aspen Mountain. The resort – which extended its season for two extra weekends, starting tomorrow and continuing through Sunday April 25 – is offering lift tickets for less than $30, lodging deals abound, and parking is free (and easy to find within blocks of the Silver Queen Gondola) on Durant Avenue on Sunday. Skiing Aspen hasn’t been this cheap in decades.
While the snow conditions aren’t exactly prime, a little grooming goes a long way on Aspen Mountain’s 673 acres. I hit it last weekend and bombing the steep corduroy on Ruthie’s Run was grin-inducing, but some of the slush-and-ice blacks look worse for the wear. Bring your sunscreen; multiple layers are optional and likely ditch-able as the day wears on.
Lift tickets are just $39, or just $29 for youths and seniors (or if you have a pass from another Colorado resort), and $19 for kids. There are also all sorts of retail close-out deals, half-off rentals, and food and drink specials at Ajax Tavern.
Lodging deals abound, but the best bet might be at the Viceroy Snowmass, offering a $95 spring special for studio suites to Colorado residents through June 16. While the slopes at Snowmass closed for the season last Sunday, this ski-in, ski-out hotel is still a great place to hang your hat while eking the last of the season out of Aspen Mountain, 10 miles away. The rate special runs through mid-June and also includes a 30 percent discount at the resident spa.
Opening last November as part of the village’s ongoing makeover, the property is the L.A.-based luxury brand’s first foray into ski country. With sister hotels in Santa Monica, Miami, Anguilla (British West Indies), and Palm Springs, Viceroy Snowmass offers understated elegance and one of the best looking slopeside pool decks in Colorado ski country. Not only does it look good, it’s also green: The property was designed to attain Silver LEED certification.
Other lodging specials abound: Last-minute lodging deals at www.stayaspensnowmass.com start under $75 for a double as of Wednesday afternoon. Just before spring-skiing season gives way to true mud season, Aspen can truly be done on the cheap.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Aspen Snowmass: www.aspensnowmass.com; www.stayaspensnowmass.com
Viceroy Snowmass: (888) 328-1724, www.viceroysnowmass.com