Should You Go to Aspen if You Don't Ski?
Of course! While Aspen can’t help its reputation for abundant world-class ski terrain (Aspen Snowmass encompasses four stellar ski areas, all within an eight-mile radius), Aspen has plenty of wintertime activities.
Whether you’re the active type, craving culture, or seeking scenery, here are a few suggestions for non-skiers visiting Aspen, Colorado:
Ride the Gondola
If you’ve made your way to town, you won’t want to miss the view from the top of Aspen Mountain. Ride the Silver Queen Gondola to an elevation of 11,212 feet for panoramic views of breathtaking valleys and peaks, as well as the Highland Bowl. Stay warm by the fire inside the Sundeck while grabbing a meal or some cocoa, or opt-in to a guided snowshoe tour through spruce and fir forests with Naturalists from local environmental nonprofit ACES.
Snowshoeing and Sleigh Rides at Ashcroft
If speeding downhill isn’t your thing, you can enjoy the local scenery at a slower pace. Historic Ashcroft offers guided tours, snowshoeing trails, and horse-drawn sleigh rides to the charming Pine Creek Cookhouse at the base of the Elk Mountain range. Enjoy a daytime or an evening experience, depending on your mood.
Fat biking has become a novel winter activity in Aspen. Fat bikes allow for comfortable, stable biking on packed snow and other terrain due to their fatter, nubbier tires. You can rent fat bikes at the Aspen Cross Country Center (known as Aspen Golf Course in the warmer months), where you’ll find groomed fat biking trails to ride, as well. Stapleton Ski in downtown Aspen offers fat e-bike rentals with full suspension, should you not be eager for effort in the outdoors. You can even ride a fat bike to the Maroon Bells while the road is closed to car travel!
Aspen Ice Skating
Maybe you love gliding across frozen water, but downhill isn’t appealing? In that case, Aspen has plenty of ice skating options. Try the Aspen Ice Garden at 233 West Hyman Avenue, the Lewis Ice Arena on the lower level of the Aspen Recreation Center, or the Silver Circle (SK8) Ice Rink in front of CP Burger downtown. If those options aren’t what you’re looking for, head a few miles downvalley to Snowmass and visit the rink at Snowmass Town Park or The Collective’s ice skating rink in front of the Limelight at Snowmass Base Village.
Book a backcountry dog sledding adventure for yourself and your family or friends with Krabloonik near Snowmass. Your team of eight to ten huskies will be led by a professional musher, and you’ll be treated to campfire cocoa and cider mid-ride. Each dog sled ride lasts roughly an hour.
History Tours in Aspen
If you’re interested in local history and lore, register for one (or many) of the Aspen Historical Society’s historian-led tours. Take a downtown tour, a ski mountain tour, a ghost town tour, and more. The winter tour schedule runs from December through April.
Art in Aspen
The prestigious Aspen Art Museum sits in the middle of downtown Aspen, offering rotating contemporary art exhibits plus a cafe with breathtaking views of Aspen Mountain. The building itself is a work of art, designed by famous architect Shiguru Ban.
Besides the Museum, you’ll find numerous galleries around town presenting the works of groundbreaking artists. Galerie Maximilian, for example, is currently displaying works by Renoir, Calder, Basquiat, Picasso, Shrigley, Hockney, Bochner, and more.
Winter Fly Fishing in Aspen
If fly fishing has ever intrigued you, winter is the best time to learn. A guided winter fly fishing trip in Aspen’s productive waters will allow you to experience the local beauty while avoiding the crowds on the slopes. In the winter, the rivers are clear and slow-moving, so beginners will have a great chance at catching the active, larger winter fish. Since few fly fishing guides operate year-round, you’ll have the luxury of space to yourself.
Aspen Yoga and Spas
If you’re hoping to get more centered amidst the flurry of winter activities, try a yoga or pilates class — or book a massage at the spa — at O2 next to Wagner Park downtown. Aspen Shakti Shala also offers yoga and meditation classes, and is considered the most welcoming yoga studio in town. If you’re looking for a spa without the sweat, Aspen Vida Medi Spa will rejuvenate and rehydrate you with its custom, medical-grade facial and body treatments such as laser and light therapy.
With the abundance of ski shops and upscale boutiques, shopping is a must in Aspen during the winter! You’ll find plenty of big city brands in this small resort town, and you’ll also find Aspen-exclusive gems like Pitkin County Dry Goods, Miller Sports, and Meridian Jewelers. You’re sure to find something that perfectly memorializes your Aspen vacation.
Staying in Aspen
You’ll find plenty of entertainment in and around Aspen, even if you’re not a skier — the incredible landscape alone is worth the trip. If you’d like a more personal introduction to town, we invite you to stay with Alpine Property and get to know our knowledgeable concierge. Reach out to our team and we’ll help you find the perfect Aspen vacation rental.