Lapping it up in Aspen, the valley
ASPEN ” Visiting a dry climate like Aspen’s may evoke a need to get wet. Luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to take a swim while in the Roaring Fork Valley. Both public and private facilities have pools that are available in the winter ” some indoors and some situated in the great outdoors.
Here is a synopsis of the public amenities in the Roaring Fork Valley:
ASPEN RECREATION CENTER
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Judging by the 225,000 people who walk through the doors of Aspen Recreation Center (commonly referred to as the ARC) every year, the facility clearly has filled a need.
Now in its fifth year of operation, the $18 million facility has become just as popular among tourists as it has for locals, said Tim Anderson, director of the ARC.
“The out-of-town guest is a huge market for us, accounting for 20 percent of the revenue,” he said. “The visiting families love the ARC as an alternative. They think it’s a great family escape.”
Parents often lounge around in the ARC’s lobby while their children take advantage of the leisure pool, lazy river and 42-foot tall water slide. The ARC also has a 25-yard lap pool, diving board, steam room, sauna and Jacuzzi.
Lap lanes are open to the public most hours of the day, Anderson said. Several user groups also take advantage of the facilities for drop-in events and unorganized pick-up games like water polo, he added.
An outdoor pool and two hot tubs, which are currently being designed, will be the next additions at the ARC slated for the end of 2009.
SNOWMASS RECREATION CENTER
Residents and tourists flock to the Snowmass Recreation Center to take advantage of the hot tub, wading and lap pools and to enjoy the leisure pool’s waterspouts, tumble buckets and 120-foot slide, said aquatics specialist Katie Workman.
“It’s the perfect setting,” she added.
The state’s only saltwater aquatics center, the Snowmass Recreation Center is one of Snowmass Village’s best-kept secrets, distinguishing itself as a unique family-oriented facility where possibilities abound.
Tucked unassumingly off of Brush Creek Road, the Snowmass Recreation Center blends seamlessly with its surroundings. So much so, in fact, that many people tell Parks and Recreation Director Andy Worline that they never knew the facility was there.
GLENWOOD HOT SPRINGS POOL
As one of the top attractions in Colorado, Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is on the hot list of adventures.
This is the place where you can soothe your muscles after a strenuous day on the mountain. The pool is always kept at between 90° and 93° F. The therapy pool, where you can treat aggravated joints and dehydrated skin with all-natural, therapeutic minerals, averages about 104° F. You will feel the difference throughout your body within minutes of stepping in.
Then jump into the big pool that spans over two city blocks to cool down. You can swim laps in the deep end, practice your form in the diving pool, hit the water slides, putt around the mini golf course, or frolic in the kiddie pool: rafts, floats, masks, snorkels and foam discs or balls are all welcome.
The main hot springs pool is 405 feet long and 100 feet wide at the widest point. It contains 1,071,000 gallons of water, and features a diving area and exercise lap lanes. The therapy pool is 100 feet long and contains 91,000 gallons of water.
While there are over 15 different minerals found in the chemical analysis, the four most abundant minerals in the pool are sodium chloride, potassium sulfate, calcium sulfate and calcium bicarbonate.
The Yampah spring is located at the eastern end of the property. It has a daily flow of 3,500,000 gallons of water, at approximately 122° F. The source for the Yampah spring is south of the Colorado River in the Lookout Mountain and Grand Hogback areas. The water percolates through fractures in the bedrock formation into the Leadville aquifer. As this occurs, the water is heated by the geothermal gradient in the area.
The Aspen area also offers a number of private facilities where visitors can purchase a pass for the day:
The Aspen Club and Spa, located less than a mile from downtown Aspen on Ute Avenue, offers day passes for $60. The facilities include a lap pool and outdoor Jacuzzi, as well as steam rooms, saunas and hot tubs in the men and women’s locker rooms.
The Snowmass Club is a private club in Snowmass Village that is owned by the Aspen Skiing Co. The heated outdoor pool can be accessed via a day pass, which can be obtained through a referral from a member. Guests accompanied by a member will pay $30; those unaccompanied by a member pay $40 for a day pass.
The Aspen Athletic Club is located in the heart of downtown Aspen on the corner of Hyman and Original, and has a small lap pool, as well as a co-ed Jacuzzi and steam room. Day passes are $20.
Two other pools in Aspen are worth noting ” the Sky Hotel and the St. Regis Aspen Resort. Both pools are located outdoors and are available to the public. However, changing rooms and lockers are not part of the deal. The scene at the Sky Hotel pool, at the base of Aspen Mountain to the east of The Little Nell on Durant Street, heats up considerably during apres ski, while The St. Regis, at the western end of Durant, offers a more low-key ambiance and has two hot tubs on the patio.
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The city of Aspen is working on a plan to transform parking spaces in the downtown core for restaurant seating and retail areas amid COVID-19 restrictions.