Living in Aspen, Colorado is like nowhere else in the world. Many long-time residents have admitted they came for the epic skiing in the winter and stayed for the fantastic summers. Having lived in Aspen for the last year myself, I must also admit that summer in Aspen keeps you from leaving. Daily life in Aspen is the perfect blend of laid-back, cultured, and high-performance.
Over the summer, Aspen hosts the Idea Festival, which attracts some of the top minds in the world. While walking the streets downtown, you will casually pass by thought leaders like Bill Gates or Malcolm Gladwell. Celebrity sighting are par for the course in Aspen. Home to many of the biggest celebrities and wealthiest people in the world, the carefree vibe of Aspen seems to dampen normal starstruck feelings. It is normal to have Emmy Award-winning celebrities elbow up next to you at the bar at White House Tavern.
If you are looking for athletically challenging experiences over the summer, Aspen offers world class mountain biking, trail running, and paragliding. While on the Marolt Trail or Rio Grande Trail, you may pass legendary cyclist Lance Armstrong who is a resident of Aspen and frequents the trail systems on his bike. If you are looking for an adrenaline fix, try Snowmass Mountain Bike Park, recently ranked #1 on the 12 Best Things to Do in Aspen in the Summer guide. After a day of riding, head down to the river for a soak in ice cold snow melt, the perfect remedy for sore muscles.
The outdoor lifestyle is the heart and soul of Aspen. The town sits at the end of the Roaring Fork Valley. A series of paved trails connect most of the Valley starting from Glenwood Springs all the way past Aspen and up Independence Pass. A quick drive up Independence Pass and you will find turnoffs for some of the best hiking in the area. One of my favorites is the Weller Lake hike. A short 1.5-mile hike to the lake, this is the perfect dual-sport adventure. Over this past summer, I hiked in with some friends, my dog, and inflatable SUP boards to paddle on the lake. If you need to rent equipment, check out the Aspen Snowmass website for recommendations.
Aspen is unique because of the accessibility to the mountain. The gondola and many of the best trails in the area can be walked to from the city center. This makes it easy to have a balanced daily life. Many locals will take a long lunch to mountain bike in the summer or ski in the winter. Infact, locals that work in town have the timing so dialed in that they can complete a two top-to-bottom ski runs from the gondola and grab lunch within one hour. Here is the math on it. Each gondola ride is 14 minutes and the ski down can be done in under 10 minutes (24 minutes round trip). On the second gondola ride up, call in an order from Big Wrap (located a block in from the gondola). With 12 minutes to spare – two round trips at 24minutes a round trip (2*24 = 48 minutes), you can snag your to-go from Big Wrap, eat, and be back at work. Changing time out of ski gear not factored in.
If you are passionate about the outdoors and love elegant and sophisticated aesthetics, Aspen could be the perfect place for you. While rent is crazy expensive, there are opportunities for subsidized housing if you are working year round, full time. Let me know what you think of Aspen in the comments below or reach out through the contact info in my bio with any questions.
Photos are courtesy of the author
Guest Author Bio
I’m Stephanie. I’m an ultra-runner and lover of all things outdoors. I’ve traveled to 26 states in the U.S. and several countries around the world in pursuit of outdoor adventure. Each week, I author the klubb’s newsletter, which dives into high-performance living and the impact of modern technology on wellness. You can subscribe, here.