Recently, John Eric Home sat down with Liz Leeds, a resident of Aspen, Colorado who gave us the scoop on what this enchanted city is like during the holidays…
JEH: Can you describe for our readers what Aspen is like during the holiday season?
LL: Aspen is very ‘magical’ during the holiday season. With the snow glistening everywhere locals and visitors meander in and out of our shops to purchase that special holiday gift. Restaurants are decorated beautifully, and it’s hard to decide if one wants to cozy up by the fireplace or wine and dine at one of their favorite eateries.
Starting December 20 with a free kick-off skating party, there are dozens of public, adult and family friendly events around town. From cookie decorating, art projects and story hours for the kids, to free hot chocolate on the Cooper Street Mall, live jazz, après ski drink specials, and Victorian caroling, there’s something for everyone.
JEH: What is your favorite aspect of Aspen during the holidays?
LL: The excitement of watching skiers coming and going throughout our ski areas. Children are laughing and having fun whether skiing, ice skating, sledding, or going for ice cream. The villages are lit up with gleaming lights making it feel so very special.
JEH: How is Aspen different during the holiday season than during other seasons of the year?
LL: Aspen is very busy with many of the second homeowners coming to town to celebrate the holidays and take advantage of early season snow. The annual Wintersköl celebration highlights what makes winter in Aspen so special. The celebration features four days of festivities across town. Guests should stay on the lookout for snow and ice sculptures, firework shows, a canine fashion show, fat-bike races on the snow, après ski parties, and much more!
JEH: If one of our readers happens to be in Aspen during the holidays, what is the one thing that they must make sure to see or do?
LL: It is great fun to try a sleigh ride and let the horses do the work! Take an evening trip to Pine Creek Cookhouse for a memorable holiday adventure.
JEH: Are there any special events that are held?
LL: Join Aspen residents to gaze at The Little Nell tree lighting. The brightly lit trees are held in the Limelight’s sister hotel’s slopeside courtyard. Be on the lookout for cookies, carolers, Santa and live reindeer. Plus, you’ll be sure to feel the cool and welcoming community vibe.
JEH: Are there any special shops or boutiques that you could recommend for unique gifts?
LL: One cannot go to Aspen without going to Kemo Sabe Aspen. An Aspen institution, Kemosabe is the go-to spot for authentic Western gear. In addition to a wall-to-wall assortment of classic cowboy hats and boots, the shop offers monogrammed silver belt buckles, turquoise jewelry, Navajo blankets, vintage saddles, and leather bound journals. Whether there to shop or just enjoy the lively scene, it’s a must-stop for any visitor.
JEH: Is there one particular food or tradition that is special to Aspen during the holidays?
LL: Aspen Crud at the J-Bar. Aspen used to have soda fountains. The J-Bar, easily Aspen’s most famous watering hole at the Hotel Jerome was turned into a soda fountain (wink, wink) during Prohibition. And what did the locals order?
A milkshake, of course: vanilla ice cream spiked with bourbon. It’s still on the menu, a potent reminder of Aspen’s wild and crazy youth.
JEH: What makes Aspen special always? (Not only during the holidays.)
LL: While Aspen certainly has everything you’d want in an outdoor paradise, the city is also bursting with arts and culture. Several theaters and music and film venues call the city home, bringing in world-class acts, as well as playing host to local favorites such as the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet. Art lovers will enjoy the Aspen Art Museum, as well as a wide array of art galleries throughout the downtown area. The city is also home to several impressive cultural institutions, including The Aspen Institute and Aspen Words for literature lovers.
The Aspen Music Festival is considered one of the best classical music festivals in America. The eight-week summer season sees over 400 music events, with some of the biggest names in classical music gracing the stage. Visitors can see performances by five orchestras, as well solo and chamber musicians, and fully staged opera productions. With an emphasis on music education, there are also master classes, lectures, and children’s programming available.
JEH: What do you enjoy most about living in Aspen?
LL: There is so much variety in Aspen between great restaurants, high end retailers, four different ski mountains, plenty of culture, good schools, non-stop events; one will never get bored.
Come to Aspen for fun. Please call me for a personal tour or to get information relating to all that Aspen offers!
Liz Leeds at lleeds(at)slifer(dotted)net
Liz Leeds specializes in the luxury real estate market and loves to sell homes that suit the individual needs of her clients. She is knowledgeable of and has personal experience with a variety of neighborhoods in the Vail Valley, as she has owned homes in Edwards, Vail, and Wolcott, among other areas. Liz has had her luxury properties featured in Forbes Magazine, Jet Set Magazine and other high-end publications. As a proud member of the Slifer Smith & Frampton family, Liz carries the values of hard work, integrity, and outstanding client service – the hallmark of her reputation – into everything she does.