Alpine Aesthetic: Aviator Nation founder Paige Mycoskie’s perfect day in Aspen
Kicking-off a new time-stamped series where the local style set shares their origin story and ideal itinerary.
The 45th Aspen Gay Ski Week is a wrap. But thanks to Aviator Nation, there is no shortage of rainbows year-round in town.
Best known for bold color-blocking and funky graphics on its super soft sweatpants, t-shirts and hoodies, Aviator Nation was born in a Venice Beach garage in 2006. Since then, it has grown into a 15-store empire of California cool. Aviator Nation founder and president Paige Mycoskie was way ahead of her time with the brand direction, too, nearly a decade before anyone even knew what “athleisure” meant.
“My perspective on this category is that it is simply the best. I am obsessed with being comfortable and (so I wanted to) figure out how to make that look fashionable,” Mycoskie shared with me during a recent interview. “I don’t think of it as a trend, because it’s always been my way of life. I’m definitely stoked that more people are accepting and adapting this casual vibe in recent years with a ton of other companies entering the space. This gives me even more motivation to do it better.”
Following the opening of five flagships in her home state of California from 2009 to 2016, Mycoskie decided on Aspen for her first out-of-state location and dropped her debut 1970s-inspired outerwear collection along with it in 2017.
“Aspen is my favorite place in the world next to California, so naturally, I had to be here. I’m super into the outdoors — mountain biking and snowboarding — and (it’s a dream) to do those things (here),” added Mycoskie. “I am very picky when it comes to our destination locations and only choose towns that I love, so that I can really be a part of the community. Opening in Aspen had nothing to do with business strategy. It was truly a personal thing just to have a life here.”
Supporting events like Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ Labor Day Experience with custom-branded Aviator Nation swag or hosting after-parties during the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen and Aspen Ruggerfest upstairs in the Mill Street Mall building, Mycoskie embraces the “Locals Only” mentality sewn into her trucker hats wherever she’s working and playing (she lives between Malibu, Aspen and Austin). Aviator Nation’s latest lineup for winter has expanded from puffer jackets and powder suits into teddy fleece, flannel and cashmere pieces — all handmade in its downtown Los Angeles factory.
As her bright blue downtown brick-and-mortar shop marks its fifth year in business next month, Mycoskie was the perfect pick to kick off Alpine Aesthetic’s recurring, time-stamped series where Aspen’s style set shares their local roots and an ideal itinerary for the best day ever.
“I grew up going to Beaver Creek where my parents had a condo, but we liked to get out and explore. One day, my mom brought me over to Aspen because we loved to shop together when I was little. I immediately felt at home in Aspen the moment I first stepped into town. I vividly remember noticing that the buildings were all different colors, and the boutiques were all so unique. I used to love Boogie’s and Ute Mountaineer — I (have always been obsessed with) gear. When I was younger, I would literally go to the Ute and hang out for hours looking at all the goods and chatting with the locals. Then I got super into rock climbing, and the Ute was the spot where all the best guides were. For those who have been in Aspen for awhile, you know that the original Ute was in the space I have now. … I spent so much time in the very same place where Aviator Nation Aspen is today! I started snowboarding here, too, and fell in love with Ajax. There is just something different about Ajax — how steep it is and how it sits right on top of some of the best shopping in the world. (Aspen) is a true community (compared to other ski towns), and that is exactly why I love it. I’m so proud of myself for working hard to make it an actual home for me and my brand.”
I like to make my own coffee — three cups of strong black coffee — because a lot of special things go into it like MCT oil and organic, unsalted butter. I also write in my journal when my thoughts are fresh and uninterrupted.
Head to Inferno Hot Pilates with Jaime at Arjuna Yoga — it’s the best workout in town.
Get dressed to shred! There is so much newness in the (Aviator Nation) collection right now that it is actually hard for me to choose what to wear these days. I love all of our onesies and jackets. And off-mountain, our denim jeans, flannels, teddy fleece and cashmere sets are totally to die for. I need a bigger closet!
Shred Ajax. It’s my favorite mountain by far because it’s steep and cruisey. I’m a goofy-(stanced snowboarder) and take Cooper Bowl from top to bottom — I ride hard on the left side, so I can go up and down (on my) mountain toe side. Rinse and repeat all day.
To be honest I don’t eat lunch most days — I do intermittent fasting, and I eat a big dinner, but if I were to stop for a snack mid-day, Ajax Tavern is so convenient and yummy.
Hot tub action and chill — I’m more of an après ski at home girl, but if I do go out, it’s usually at The Little Nell.
Dinner at Matsuhisa is my go-to, but if I’m craving Italian, then it’s Casa Tua.
After dinner, you can find me hanging out upstairs at Aviator Nation Aspen, running the pool table with friends and my rad team, listening to good tunes and sipping on some (Don Julio) 1942.
That’s my perfect day in Aspen!
308 S. Mill St., Aspen
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Katie Shapiro can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.