Adventures of Non-Skiers in Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado

The beauty of Colorado is nestled in its boisterous peaks, of the Rocky Mountains. While skiing often attracts those looking for high-altitude jolts of excitement; there are plenty of opportunities for the non-skiers. Join me, as I tell the story of my husband and I, in Aspen, Colorado.

The plane arrived in Denver, Colorado. We arranged a multi passenger transport, with Colorado Mountain Express, from Denver International Airport to our hotel in Snowmass, Colorado. The 5 hour ride from the airport in to the mountains was worth the slightly cramped ride in a 15 passenger van.  We were able to view Breckenridge, Vail, and Copper Mountains, from the highway. My personal favorite involved seeing a handful of big horned sheep on the ragged edges of the highway.

Snowmass, Colorado is  9 miles from Aspen. We stayed in the Westin Hotel. The hotel is located near the Snowmass mall and the Snowmass mountain skiing area. First recommendation, eat breakfast at Fuel . My recommendation is the Mediterranean burrito, with a brewed coffee; if you are feeling some extra carb lust, grab one of their pastries or doughnuts.  Snowmass is a picturesque town placed in the mist of mountains. A town with unending views of the world’s first beauty. My husband’s personal favorite was Francesca’s Argentinian empanadas. Visit the Ice Age Discovery Center , a great spot for families they information on the mastodon found by archaeologists, in that area.  The Snowmass area offers many options outside of downhill skiing. For a complete list of events and activities, check here

Snowmass, Colorado

Before the story continues, I must note that the elevation of Snowmass is 8,209 ft. These Iowans struggled with altitude sickness given that Iowa is around 955 ft above sea level. Take altitude sickness seriously.  Rest, drink plenty of water, eat carbs, limit alcohol, limit caffeine, get oxygen, if necessary (all hotels and resorts can assist with this), and in severe cases head to a lower elevation. I, personally, had two full days of sickness; however, I continued to struggled even as I increased physical activity, for the remainder of the week. Experts say that it takes about 3 weeks to fully acclimatize to higher altitudes.

The Aspen and Snowmass areas are easily visited from either location. There are buses that run regularly, from both mountains (and, they are free to ride). My husband and I, regularly utilized the bus system to go from Snowmass to Aspen.

Aspen is an interesting place. Yes, there are plenty of places to ski. However, there is an artistic, environmental focus to Aspen. Aspen has a focal dedication to conservation, reducing waste, and recycling. Every trash receptacle in town offers a section for recycling, composting, and trash. Every store we purchased items from packed our items in a paper bag. Aspen Skiing Company believes in operating their business with sustainable energy and an intentional focus of reducing waste.  Please read the environmental commitment  for more information about Aspen Ski Company’s plan to use sustainable energy.

My husband and I toured the  John Denver Sanctuary, Aspen Art Museum, and Explore Booksellers. We, highly recommend the Pyramid Bistro located in Explore Booksellers. The Agave Lemonade is unbelievable.

The Aspen Art Museum has a wonderful cafe on the third floor and admission to the Aspen Art Museum is free. The Museum is focused on showcasing modern artists in the galleries; the building itself, is a structural piece of art. My husband bought a new camera lens for this trip; he loved the interesting lines of the building itself.


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Ugo Rondinone sculpture


The John Denver Sanctuary is a short walk (down hill) from the Aspen Art Museum. John Denver was a folk singer. He often wrote about his love for Colorado and nature. He lived the majority of his life, in Aspen. Denver died at the age of 57, in a single occupancy plane crash, near Pacific Grove, California. The John Denver Sanctuary is located in the Rio Grande Park, in Aspen. This sanctuary pays homage to Denver’s life.

John Denver Sanctuary


Basalt, Colorado is down valley from Snowmass. Again, the bus system between these communities is affordable and easy to navigate. The Snowmass or Aspen bus will take you to directly to the bus stop for down valley stops. Basalt is a great place to breath again (haha). Basalt’s elevation is 6,611 ft. There are many quaint restaurants and boutiques. Of course, my husband located a resale book store within the Basalt Library.

Frying Pan River
Frying Pan River
Basalt, Colorado
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Tree house outside of the Basalt Public Library

Stay tuned for the conclusion of our trip with an account of our snowshoeing excursion in Ashcroft, Colorado….

Disclaimer: I am receiving no financial compensation for this post. These are strictly my thoughts, opinions, experiences and photographs. 

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