Waiting on the snow...
We pulled into Aspen just before super bowl sunday and after thinking through the money we were likely to spend sitting at a bar for the game, decided to book a hotel room instead. There was also no storm on the horizon, so killing a few days with wifi and a shower sounded pretty attractive.
Didn't hurt that jen found a room with a hot tub on the balcony, which pretty much sealed the deal for us... I mean what better way to watch a superbowl with two teams you don't really care about, than from the comfort of a hot tub??
We also got to watch a movie from bed, which has been a long time coming (even if the movie was an odd 1980's combination of Aspen skiing and Top Gun). If you ever find yourself in the middle of an adventure where you quit your job and find yourself driving across the country chasing snow in a van... go ahead and rent "Aspen Extreme". It's good for a laugh and maybe a moral or two, but you might want to have a cocktail first, or another during. ;)
Also gave us the time and space for some van project-ing. Finally got the solar hooked up to the electrical (All systems go), added a lock to prevent our step/porta potti from sliding out every time we hit the brakes, and just some general maintenance and details that never got finished before we pulled out of portland (and haven't really been able to take care of en route).
We enjoyed our down time and spending a few extra days to get to know the town around us. Aspen obviously caters to a high-end crowd, and we had no problem at all finding some great food and beverage choices...anything to kill a few days while praying for snow.
We caught a matinee (only in aspen would the seats be plush leather with electric reclining/adjustments), and hit a few other bars/restaurants we heard were on the top5 list. Our favorite was probably Hooch, which drew us in with a great name, but also had terrific cocktails and food. This place sits in the basement behind an almost hidden doorway and feels very much like it's leftover from prohibition. Reminded us very much of Portland actually.
Seemed like every time we left the van here we met another Australian couple who we enjoyed a long talk with at the bar and could have talked with for hours. Clearly it's about time for us to return to AUS for an adventure....which we would probably already be doing if we weren't pretty sure it meant a few years driving around the country by van ;) Eventually the storm we were waiting for hit, but somehow only delivered a few inches on top of what was by now pretty hard-packed snow. We aren't ones to complain so we took the lift up from town and tried a few runs, then grabbed a bus over to Highlands (Aspen has 3 different mountains just to make sure you don't get bored) because the reports were saying they had gotten 11" overnight.
We didn't really buy the report because we watched the clear skies all night...but thought it was worth checking, and we wanted to experience Highland anyway. We might have seen an inch or two of fresh on top...but I wouldn't call anyone a liar. Maybe 11" blew from one side of the bowl to the other and landed on the measuring device, who knows. It certainly didn't stop hoards of people from waiting in line and making the hour long hike up the ridge to the summit trying to find whatever spot had that 11"...
It also didn't stop us from enjoying our days on the mountain, but given the conditions overall it's probably fair to say we had a better time in the town of Aspen than we did on the slopes. We did stop at the world famous Cloud Nine, which sits at the top of (you guessed it, Cloud Nine chairlift) and serves almost exclusively expensive apres apps and bottles of Champagne. Only in Aspen would people buy $100+ bottles of champagne and apparently turn the "in" thing into spraying it on each other rather than drinking it. Fun, yes... but also wasteful.
We opted to drink our bubbles and head back down the mountain before things got too crazy...but we'll come back with friends another season and see if we're equally as strong...
On our last night (in fact, we may have stuck around just for it) there was a drink and draw event, in this case called "nudes and brews" going on with free beer and a live model. We obviously couldn't resist, and any time you stumble on an event that allows you to check off several of your goals (in this case travel and creativity/art) at one time, you simply have to make it happen!!
It was a great event with a great group of people and probably the highlight of our time in Aspen. In the morning we packed up and hit the road to telluride, figuring that if we waited for almost a week here without a storm…it probably wasn't coming (and it didn’t help that almost all of the rest of North America was getting dumped on while we sat here waiting).