Thursday, February 3, 2011
It’s no secret that the month of February is an amazing time of year to hit the slopes. The temperatures are consistently warmer than December and January, there is a well established snowpack, and storms are usually frequent. Yet despite the pleasant conditions, even the most dedicated skier or boarder will need a day off from time to time. Fear not! Aspen has plenty of great activities that don’t involve buying a lift ticket (yes, even in the winter). There is of course always the option of perusing Aspen’s famous shopping scene, or eating at one of the many world class restaurants and cafés. But for those of you that still want to experience the great outdoors on your day off from the slopes, opportunities abound. Believe it or not, winter is a favorite time of year for dedicated anglers. Not only is the fishing still fantastic, but crowds are nearly non-existent. While the cold can be a challenge, the right equipment and proper guidance can make winter Fly Fishing a very pleasant experience. Much like Fly Fishing, people think of Aspen’s hiking trails as a strictly warm weather pursuit. What many don’t realize is that with a good pair of boots and stabilizers, or some snowshoes, most of Aspen’s most popular hiking trails lend themselves well to winter hiking. There is nothing quite like watching a winter sunrise over Aspen from your favorite hiking trail! Aspen has quickly become well known for the miles and miles of free Nordic skiing trails. From the impeccably maintained municipal golf course and Rio Grande trails, to the back-country, Aspen has something to offer for all levels of Nordic skiers. If your body truly needs a rest, yet you still want to get outside, Snowmobile tours with the T-Lazy 7 ranch are a great option. These tours will take you through the stunning Maroon Creek valley just outside of Aspen. Another popular activity is to take a guided snowshoe tour with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. These tours depart from the summit of Aspen Mountain every day at 10:00 and 1:00 pm. The two hour tour costs $57 for adults, $45 for youths (13-27) and $35 for children (7-12) and seniors (65+). This ticket price includes the gondola ride to the top and back, beautiful scenery, snowshoes, a knowledgeable guide, and basic snowshoe instruction. Not only are these tours an invigorating way to experience the outdoors, they are also very informative. Guides with The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies are trained educators equipped with a vast knowledge of local geographic history, wildlife, and human history. So as you can see, Aspen has a lot more to offer than lift-serviced skiing!