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Aspen shines this summer: Stepping into The Limelight

An eventful Aspen summer...
An eventful Aspen summer...
Jeremy Swanson, Aspen Skiing Company

You may think of Aspen as only a ski destination as the mountain did reopen for some brief Memorial Day skiing; but with over 300 days of Rocky Mountain sunshine each year, you can get a tan closer to the sun this summer. With Aspen and Snowmass Mountain open to adventurers of all kinds, there’s something for everyone beyond the exquisite dining and shopping options. It’s time to lighten up this summer as we venture to where the air is rare…

Paddleboarding in Aspen-- SUP!
Jeremy Swanson

Aspen and the surrounding areas offer a truly elevated vacation experience. From grand hikes, biking and gondola rides, you’d have to try to be bored here. Summertime kicks off festival season as well. Wine enthusiasts, yogis, pro-cyclers and more will have a lot to enjoy. But riding the Silver Queen gondola to the top is a must, as during the summer ski patrol runs free family friendly activities. Yes, free in Aspen is more common than expected! From disc golf to sledding in June, it’s definitely worth the minimal gondola ticket fee. For those looking for a one of a kind experience, try hiking to the Grottos. Off of Independence Pass, hikers will enjoy cascading waterfalls, lounging in the sun or if you’re lucky, you can access the ice caves. Also, have you heard of SUP? It’s not slang but stand-up paddle boarding. Yes, you will think you’ve been transported to Cali as you see boards on top of cars, but the sport is anew in the region and beginners are welcome!

But to wind down from an active day, go where the locals go at Belly Up. Opened by owner Michael Goldberg in 2005, two years after his brother acquired the original Belly Up in California, the Aspen location has over 300 live concerts a year! Favorites such as Widespread Panic, The Flaming Lips and Chris Isaak have been on the playlist and it’s a venue worth checking out during a stay.

However a trip here really needs several days to have time to take it all in and relax, which means finding a place to lay your head. The Limelight Hotel, acquired by The Aspen Skiing Company in 2010, stands out as a perfect choice for those looking for high-end accommodations with value. Their Perfect Summer package includes 3 days of gondola rides on Aspen Mountain and Snowmass, a $10 lunch voucher for on-mountain dining, and a bus ticket to the famous Maroon Bells. The hotel is pet friendly, has a stellar complimentary breakfast and encourages guests to borrow a cruiser bike during their stay on a first come first serve basis to explore the town. The property is contemporary yet inviting and the guest service is wonderful. Also be sure to check out one of their famous pizzas and maybe wash it down with the locally made Woody Creek potato vodka, made from Colorado potatoes or an Aspen Brewery beverage.

There is so much to experience here, far beyond what you’ve seen in Us Weekly or on TV. What makes it special is the small town feel you’ll get with all the luxury of a city. The mountain, the town and the people create a Colorado vacation that you and your family will remember; whether you want to hit the river or just take-in an outdoor concert. Your Aspen is however you want it, and chances are, you’ll go home with a Rocky Mountain tan…

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