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HIKES, BIKES & YOGA: DISCOVER ASPEN, COLORADO, IN SUMMER

Snowmass and Aspen in Colorado are known for their snowy mountain views and great skiing, but come summer you can experience the Rocky Mountains in all their sun kissed glory, where they become a haven for those who hike, bike and meditate…

It takes a moment to adjust to to the sight before your eyes when you first see the Snowmass landscape wrapped around you in the summertime. It’s surreal in every way. Like an uncannily realistic set of Jurassic Park with huge, jagged mountains. Located near the town of Aspen in Colorado, the area is known for its winter skiing and tastefully modern homes that complement the natural, protected landscape.

The air is crisp. Clean air is a luxury reserved for those who don’t crave the buzz of city life, but when you watch the Snowmass locals go about their daily business contently, at one with the great outdoors, you almost forget why city life has any appeal at all.

As we got acquainted with our cosy, country classic lodgings at The Crestwood Lodge, a short burst of rain gave way to a glorious bout of sunshine, and we headed off to Wanderlust festival, which welcomes yoga buffs from all over the world for alfresco practice and meditations in amazing surroundings.

I’m not a keen yogi by any means, but when in sun bathed Snowmass, I thought I’d give it my best go and opted for the Rim Trail Hike, which takes you to the top of a mini mountain of sorts where you meditate on top of a giant marble Ying Yang sign with total strangers, feeling like you’re on top of the world. I found myself some pals for the tough, exhilarating hike – the breathtaking views at the top serving as my reward.

The Britishness in me suddenly took over when it came to meditating with a random partner on top of the beautiful Ying Yang sign that shimmered in the blazing sunlight, and I felt out of my comfort zone. But once we all closed our eyes, it was as if it was only you, the mountains and the elements, all sharing this quiet moment. Connecting with nature has never been one of my priorities, but that’s probably the closest I’ve ever got to experiencing it, and I’m definitely better for it.

The Rim Trail Hike takes you to the top of a mini mountain of sorts where you meditate on top of a giant marble Ying Yang sign with total strangers, feeling like you’re on top of the world

The next day we tried our luck at mountain biking, something we all found thrilling, even if I did lack a few advanced skills. Legs burning and in need of some TLC, we headed down to the luxurious Viceroy Hotel for massages before a glamorous New Orleans-inspired feast in the restaurant. Venturing down to the Snowmass Rodeo in the blazing sun was a real highlight too, giving us a chance to immerse ourselves in Colorado culture.

I was sad to leave my rustic apartment when the time came to make the move over to Aspen Town, though I was in for a completely new type of treat at Hotel Jerome. The historic building oozes old school Colorado luxury and felt like something fit for President George Washington, like a perfectly preserved interior from a bygone era.

They even have a beautiful abstract painting of a water boy who apparently drowned in their pool a century or so ago and, it’s rumoured, haunts the corridors, leaving random wet footprints everywhere. This quirky piece of history made me love Hotel Jerome all that much more. For a ‘haunted’ dwelling, I’d never had such a peaceful sleep, in a bed that was big enough for an entire family and stacked high with fluffy layers like something from The Princess & The Pea.

You’d be mad not to venture around Aspen’s old town for a day, it’s a chance to forget it’s 2017 for a moment and lose yourself in a real life version of a cowboy Western, minus the violence and Clint Eastwood. It was truly fascinating. And it would be a mistake not to explore the eye opening arts scene. The artistic and theatre talent in this town is astonishing, from outdoor renditions of Mama Mia to the eclectic offering available at the Aspen Art Museum, which is a masterpiece in itself – I could marvel at it all day from the sidewalk.

Once you’ve had enough of being firmly on the ground, jump in a cable car up Aspen Mountain and grab your share of Instagram gold with panoramic views your friends will envy. Make sure to organise a night time mountain Stargazing Aventure with The Little Nell and you won’t be disappointed. It’s like an explosion of giant fireflies against an inky black sky. Though you’ll be sad to leave, you’ll know you ended your summer in Snowmass and Aspen in the best way possible, up in the mountains marvelling at the starry night sky.

TRIP NOTES

Scott Dunn offers seven night Aspen & Snowmass itineraries from £2,525 per person based on two travelling and includes return BA flights and private airport transfers. For more information on each destination see gosnowmass.com and aspenchamber.org



 

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