The wellness principles of mind, body and spirit are exactly what Aspen Institute founders Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke promoted in the 1940s when they moved to the area and spread the “Aspen Idea”. The rustic former mining town grew not just into a ski town, but a cultural center where mind, body and spirit can flourish. Today, just as it has for decades, Aspen lures everyone from world leaders and business moguls to ski bums and celebrities. Sure, some come to see and be seen, but most want to appreciate Aspen’s natural beauty, breathe the fresh mountain air, challenge their bodies and connect with the welcoming locals and diverse visitors that make Aspen unique possibly the most interesting mountain town in the world.
“Aspen is a special destination because it’s a casual and welcoming small mountain community with all the cosmopolitan elements of a city, like music, art and education,” says O2 Owner and Buyer and Roaring Fork Valley native Brittany Van Domelen. “You can spend all day outdoors doing a variety of activities and feel like you’ve escaped urban life, then enjoy world-class art, food, music, ballet and more.”
Between four mountains and one lift ticket, Aspen/Snowmass offers more than 5,000 acres of terrain. For efficient vertical, nothing beats Aspen Mountain or “Ajax”. A high-speed top-to-bottom gondola services Aspen Mountain’s 3,267 feet of vertical just steps from downtown. Aspen Highlands offers the legendary, hike-to Highland Bowl and Cloud 9 Alpine Bistro (just as famous) and Buttermilk and Snowmass serve up plenty of kid-friendly and intermediate terrain.
All four Aspen Snowmass resorts accommodate the fastest growing segment of skiing and Aspen’s favorite winter cardio: uphilling. Rent top-of-the-line equipment and skin up designated routes before the mountain opens (or during operating hours at Buttermilk and Snowmass). Aspen Snowmass even hosts uphill clinics and private lessons. You might find Brittany and her husband, Colter, skinning up Buttermilk to the Cliffhouse for hot chocolate.
More than 55 miles of trails comprise the Aspen Snowmass Nordic Ski Trail System. Whether you’re after a great hour-long workout, a scenic walk through the woods with the whole family or a snowy outing with girlfriends to the Pine Creek Cookhouse, cross-country skiing offers something for everyone. Both the Aspen and Snowmass Cross Country Centers offer group and private lessons.
The social hub of Aspen since its opening in 1889, The Hotel Jerome is synonymous with Aspen. The hotel consistently honors its historic past while offering modern amenities like recently renovated and spacious rooms, a luxury spa and world-class cuisine. “The Living Room” is the perfect destination for après-ski—an open, inviting space with plush arm chairs and sofas to enjoy imaginative food and drink. Do not miss the best gluten free muffins in the morning,” says Brittany.
Ajax Tavern’s deck at the base of Aspen Mountain offers some of the best people watching in town, not to mention great food in a fun atmosphere. “It’s fun for lunch or après,” says Brittany. “We always order the cauliflower gratin—it’s a vegan mac and cheese!”
Bosq’s intimate dining room is sleek, yet cozy. “Chef Barclay sources the best, most local and fresh ingredients that he can for every dish, which is hard to do in a remote town at 8,000 feet,” says Brittany. “I love the smoked salmon crackers.”
“Spring Café is owned by my friend Sabrina who walks the walk when it comes to health and wellness, so I trust whatever she does,” says Brittany. Follow her lead and the “Go Green Scramble”, which combines organic kale, broccoli, green onion and hemp seeds with free-range eggs.
Some, like Brittany, like it hot. O2’s robust class schedule includes heated Power Flow and Sculpt classes that will warm your body and spirit, warding off any winter blues. O2 Heated Power Flow adds an extra dose of heat (85° - 95°), humidity, core work and fun music to an invigorating power vinyasa flow. Expect to move, strengthen and sweat!
O2 Heated Sculpt is designed to get your heart rate up while toning your whole body. The hour sweat-fest combines standing exercises (lunges and squats) that mimic Pilates movements, core work and weights to tone large and small muscles.
Renowned for its deep-tissue massages and signature facials, the O2 Spa takes pride in its on-going therapist training. “They are the best in the valley,” says Brittany. O2’s Signature Facial with Biologique Recherche utilizes the new French skincare line with a cult following and specific facial massage techniques to lift and contour the face. The customized treatment is designed to rejuvenate, sculpt, illuminate, purify, and hydrate. The O2 Glow delivers a deep cleanse followed by a customized resurfacing, hydrating, and moisturizing treatment. The facial infuses the skin with firming peptides, antioxidants, and high-impact pure oxygen—a must for any visitors from sea level. The 90-minute service includes microcurrent or LED Lightstim therapy, as well as dermaplaning.
A working mom who’s always on the go, Brittany’s Aspen looks go from playdate to ski work meeting to après. “I think you need at least three jackets to be properly styled in Aspen” says Brittany. “A ski jacket, a sporty chic jacket you can wear around town when you’re not skiing and a long shearling or wool coat for dinners out.”
Sold at O2, Ultracor leggings made with high-performance fabric with slimming built-in shapewear, look great with a cool sweater (think striped or a fun vintage pattern) and take you from studio to après.
For evening, Brittany recommends a nice sweater or silk top with leather leggings. “I love to play up the Aspen vibe with a Kemosabe hat or a fridge poncho,” she says. “Why not!?”