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American?s most famous ski resort attracts skiers who are both skilled and fabulous. Throughout the season the resorts also attracts gay and lesbian skiers are both of these things. Things reach their crescendo of fabulousness during Aspen?s legendary Gay Ski Week, the granddaddy of all such winter events.
This destination though is not only about skiing. Visitors come all year round with the summer becoming more and more of a must-visit season. The combination of beautiful, mountain scenery and fresh air lure outdoor enthusiasts, spa seekers, yoga practitioners and many more.
Aspen also happens to be Colorado?s food lovers? mecca with new and interesting restaurants opening up all the time with name chefs practicing their art in smaller more intimate venues.
Another major draw to the area is the famous hotels, including the Jerome, Little Nell and the St. Regis, head and shoulders above the typical boring ski-boot friendly boxy ski resorts you typically find in such areas.
All this fabulousness doesn?t come cheap, however. You?ll find your wallet challenged and your credit cards bent to breaking but it?s all-worthwhile. Not just for the bragging rights but also for an unparalleled experience in one of America?s poshest and most beautiful resorts.
The town?s Big Three Hotels -- Little Nell, the Jerome, and the St. Regis?are not your grand pa?s ski resorts.
>The Little Nell is an intimate, super upscale ski in-ski out resort with fewer than 100 rooms and a 2 to 1 staff to guest ratio. Pack your best Prada ski cap to fit in here.
At the Jerome you?ll also find another intimate boutique property with only 92 rooms, but the feel is upscale Wild West. Big draws at this posh property include the beloved J-Bar, famous for apr?s ski and the outdoor hot tub with heated towel service.
The biggest of the big three, the St. Regis has almost 200 rooms, but is simply chock full of luxurious appointments. You?ll also find a huge and luxurious spa to knead those tired muscles. Request a room in the Red Mountain Wing if you crave a romantic fireplace.
Another great option for gay travelers especially is the Sky Hotel. Owned and managed by super gay-friendly Kimpton. The cocktail bar, 39-degrees, has become something of a gay bar. During the summer, the bar and the pool adjoining it have become a hugely trendy gathering place.
Colorado?s foodie capital has something for everyone. Cache Cache is one of Aspen?s longest running restaurants offering delicious renditions of the tried and true to fiercely loyal fan base, which spans the range from ski bums to A-list celebrities.
Warm and intimate, The Wild Fig seats only 50 and is wildly popular. Reserve in advance to enjoy the mixed Mediterranean cuisine.
At the Little Nell, you?ll find Montagna Restaurant whose chef, Ryan Hardy, takes the local produce phenomenon to a whole new level: He owns his own farm, he handcrafts all the restaurant's cheeses, and hand-cures all the sausages and meats.
Your place for breakfast is Main Street Bakery Caf?, a down home establishment that?s simple, straightforward and reliably delicious.
The Aspen ski season starts in late November and runs through mid-April. There are four mountains here: Aspen Mountain (a.k.a. Ajax), Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and the enormous, aptly named Snowmass (home to the longest and highest lift-served vertical rise in the country). Combined, they comprise 341 trails (316 miles covering 5,246 acres) served by 45 lifts capable of hauling more than 50,000 snow warriors an hour.
The most popular time to visit for gays and lesbians is during Gay Ski Week every January. It?s a fundraising event for The Roaring Fork Gay and Lesbian Community Fund and a week packed full of all sorts of activities and events from skiing and snowboarding to drag shows and comedy to much more.
During summer you?ll find all sorts of activities from outdoor yoga to mountain biking to hiking to sitting around the pool sipping the latest in exotic cocktails.
You won?t find a pulsating nightlife in town or any obviously gay bars. Most folks sort of wear themselves out skiing or hiking during the day. Still, if you would like to toast the beautiful day you just spent, apr?s ski is a refined art here. J-Bar at the Jerome is an apr?s ski lounge every one should visit once. Gay and lesbians tend to gather at 39 Degrees. To catch a movie or some live entertainment, head to Belly Up with long lines but it?s a great venue and has incredible acoustics.
If you are into fashion, Aspen is pretty amazing considering it?s in the middle of Colorado. You can shop international fashion houses along Galena Street, or pick up a something really specialy at unique boutiques and at high-end consignment stores. Aspen's two pedestrian shopping malls are full of flowers and shoppers during summer. There, you?ll find Western treasures, fine art, clothing and handmade jewelry.
As in many tony resort getaways, you?ll also find a large number of art galleries where you can whip out your credit cards.
A world-renown ski resort, Aspen hardly needs any introduction. Upscale and packed with well-heeled locals and visitors this Colorado ski and summer resort may seem intimidating to those more budget conscious. Still, it?s a beautiful town and well worth the splurge. If you?re looking for gay crowds, Gay Ski Week is the best time to visit though with this level of shopping, antiques and restaurants, it should come as no surprise to anyone how popular this is with gay women and men all year round.