Aspen’s Best: Places
It goes without saying that anyplace will suffice, but it’s nonetheless interesting to ask this question every year. We just like to see the answers that come in.
So, to the bottom line: Despite or perhaps because of the newer, roomier cabins on the Silver Queen Gondola, Aspen’s favorite ski bucket continues to be the preferred place for a daytime shag. Or at least it makes for a good cocktail-party story.
The second-place finisher, and frankly the least interesting answer, was “home.”
After that, things got more fun. Of course, none of these nominations garnered a significant number of votes, but they’re still interesting to publish: “In a tent,” Paepcke Park, “Tourist’s hotel room,” Silvertree hot tubs, Sky hot tub, alley behind Belly Up (Ah, the odor of the garbage Dumpster!), roof of Belly Up, balcony above Rustique and Shag’s ‘R’ Us.
Eric’s continues to stand tall in this category, although we’re unsure whether it’s a distinction to be proud of. Either way, there was more competition this year from Belly Up, Club Chelsea, 39 Degrees and other hot spots around the valley. What are those other hot spots, you ask?
Well, downvalley surged, with The Black Nugget and Carbondale itself getting votes. Would the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce approve of this?
Other interesting nominations: “Camp,” “produce section at Clark’s,” Great Divide Music (for musicians only?), New York Pizza (are you kidding?), “Popcorn Wagon at 2 a.m.,” “yoga class,” the gondola and church.
Despite living in a world-famous paradise, Aspenites need their getaways like anybody else. And around here the favorite escapes, at least according to our readers, are the desert and the big city.
Moab, Utah, won this category with 20 votes. The state capital of Denver was the nearest runner-up with 14 votes.
Other contenders were Crested Butte (a number of respondents were more specific, saying “Hike to Crested Butte”), Las Vegas, Glenwood Springs, Telluride, Vail, “hut trip” and the Little Nell.
As they say in the real estate business, it’s all about location, location, location. The runaway winner in this category was the Ajax Tavern, footsteps from the gondola station at the base of Aspen Mountain, with 17 votes.
A close second was 39 Degrees, just around the corner at the Sky Hotel. A number of others mentioned the Nell, but it was unclear where exactly they meant.
After that, it dropped off considerably, although virtually every bar in town got at least a mention ” Little Annie’s, Mezzaluna, Jimmy’s, J-Bar, Aspen Brewing Co., Elks Club and others. Out at Snowmass, Big Hoss Grill, Sneaky’s and Cirque Bar and Grill had a few fans as well.
A couple people griped “Who cares?” and “None left.” Two folks boasted “my house,” and one said “brown bag from the Grog Shop.”
If you’re looking to see and be seen in Aspen, there is one area of town not to miss: the Little Nell/Gondola Plaza, which tied for top honors in this category. Folks with a few bucks to spend can settle into one of the couches in the Nell for some serious sightseeing (think apres ski), while those on a budget might just pull up a bench in Gondola Plaza to watch the people go by. And trust us, you’ll see all types at these prime people-watching locations, from locals out to make a few turns to fur-flaunting tourists looking to, well, see and be seen.
Other places to get your voyeurism fix, according to our always-observant readers: the corner by Paradise Bakery, especially in summer; the Caribou Club; Bentley’s windows; and the airport.
At times it seems like Aspen has gone to the dogs, literally. And that’s even more true on our local trails, especially the Rio Grande Trail. Earning top honors in this category once again, the Rio Grande is perfect for pooches in many ways: it’s easily accessed below the Post Office; it’s relatively flat; and because of it’s popularity, it’s usually packed down. But be forewarned ” your dog must be on a leash. Seriously. If you’re looking for an off-leash romp, our readers suggest Independence Pass, the Marolt Open Space and anywhere “far off the beaten path.”
There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home ” to read a book. At least that’s what our readers think, and we’re inclined to agree. Honestly, is there anything better than curling up with a good read in the comfort of your own home? If there were such a place, it’d Explore Booksellers, which placed second in this category, or the library, which placed third. And while we’re not sure how this response could qualify as one of Aspen’s Best, it sure is true: “the beach.” We can all dream …
We’re not really sure what to make of this, since we’re pretty sure most of our readers are not paying guests of our local lodges, but here it is: The best place to skinny dip in Aspen is the Sky hot tub, followed closely by the St. Regis hot tub. Also in the running were the hot tubs at the Silvertree, Molly Gibson and St. Moritz. Don’t ask us, but this seems a little, well, illegal? Nevertheless, the people have spoken. And they also suggested Conundrum Hot Springs, the Punchbowl (brrrr…..), and our personal favorite, “my bathtub.”
Well, this one was kind of interesting. The winner was perhaps predictable ” the Wagner Park bathrooms, which are absurdly clean and pleasant for free public facilities ” but usually we see a number of amusing references to the great outdoors, or at least Aspenites’ favorite places to relieve themselves after a long night of drinking or during their favorite hike.
This time, readers answered with the names of private establishments all around town where they apparently feel free to unload at will ” Little Nell (8 votes), St. Regis (5 votes), Cache Cache (2 votes), Aspen Brewing Co. (2 votes), and a handful of others. There were also votes for the Pitkin County Library, the Aspen Recreation Center, the Wheeler Opera House and the Aspen Ranger District, all public entities that don’t necessarily expect the hoi polloi to simply enter and pee in their restrooms.
Four voters named the Sundeck, and another six said “under the gondola,” which may indicate that Ajax skiers pee more than their counterparts at other mountains.
One reader said simply “Basalt,” and we have no idea what he or she meant.
Our collective hearts breathed a sigh of relief when we tallied the responses to this question, because … drum roll, please … Aspen is still a ski town. We know this because an overwhelming majority of readers agreed that the best place to find your soul mate (really, the only place to find your soul mate) is “on the hill,” “skiing” or “boarding.” So all you singles out there, now you know the secret to finding your beloved. In other words, stop reading this and get out there! (And to the two readers who answered “not here” to the question, we suggest you stop your bitching and get your butts on the slopes.)
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: The Colorado Department of Transportation gives Aspen’s roundabout a poor grade in terms of level of service so it’s thinking about making changes. But first, a study or two must be done.