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Roaming Gnome Guide: Aspen’s Top Outdoor Activities

With 11,000-foot peaks and an average of 170 inches of snowfall a year, Aspen is the ultimate snow country. And there is more than one exhilarating way to put all that fresh powder to use. While visiting the mountain town for the Winter X Games, the Roaming Gnome tried out Aspen’s ultimate outdoor activities. Here’s his guide to help you figure out how to pack the most outdoor action into your visit:

 

1.  Go Skiing:  This is the no-brainer. Aspen Snowmass has four mountains to suit a range of skiing skill sets. Hit Aspen Mountain for expert groomed runs and 76 trails. For gentler slopes perfect for families and beginners, hit the greens and blues at Buttermilk. And to feel the rush of the double-black-diamond backcountry, hike up local favorite Highland Bowl.

Social_Skiing_1.27.14
“Note: Always remember to go to the bathroom before putting your skis on.”—RG

 

2.  Go Snowboarding:  Boarders are welcome on any of Aspen’s slopes. But if you really want to shred your heart out, you belong at the terrain parks at Snowmass and Buttermilk. As host of the Winter X Games, saying they know how to build an epic snowboard park would be a serious understatement.

“I have no words for this place. Except for those seven I just said.” —RG
“I have no words for this place. Except for those seven I just said.” —RG

 

3.  Go Snowmobiling:  Want a little more horsepower in your snow day? Head to T Lazy 7 Ranch for a snowmobile tour. After a quick lesson, you’ll get to drive your own machine past Maroon Lake to take in the view of Aspen’s most iconic mountains: the magnificent Maroon Bells.

“You get hot chocolate when you’re done. Which is much better than cold chocolate. It’s freezing here.” —RG
“You get hot chocolate when you’re done. Which is much better than cold chocolate. It’s freezing here.” —RG

 

4. Go Snowshoeing:  If you want to take in the breathtaking scenery at a more leisurely pace, try your hand…er, feet…at snowshoeing. The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies hosts daily guided snowshoe tours through the Aspen groves and historic Ashcroft mining town. All equipment and even lunch is included.

“They said this was the best way to get closer to nature. SO WATCH OUT NATURE, I AM COMING FOR YOU.” —RG
“They said this was the best way to get closer to nature. SO WATCH OUT NATURE, I AM COMING FOR YOU.” —RG

 

5. Go Fat Biking:  The newest passion to hit Aspen, fat bikes are mountain bikes with giant tires for navigating snow-covered trails. Rent your gear at Stapleton Ski or Ute City Cycles in town, bundle up and then hit the Rio Grande trail.

“It’s just as thrilling as biking in the summer. Except there’s snow and it’s not summer.” —RG
“It’s just as thrilling as biking in the summer. Except there’s snow and it’s not summer.” —RG

 

6.  Go Paragliding:  You don’t get the most breathtaking views of Aspen from standing on a mountain; you get them from flying off one. Aspen Paragliding offers tandem paragliding trips daily, weather permitting. You take the gondola up Aspen Mountain, then glide off for an incredible bird’s-eye view — touring the town from 10,000 feet.

“TIP: Eat before you go. In-flight snacks are not provided.”—RG
“TIP: Eat before you go. In-flight snacks are not provided.”—RG

To start planning your Aspen snow day getaway, check out Travelocity’s Aspen vacation page.

 

Four Ski Deals to Jump On

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Seven Shoulder-Season Destinations That Won’t Break the Bank

Higher airfares, new fees, pain at the pump – who can afford to travel anymore? You, actually. Sometimes it’s less about where you go than when you go, and autumn is a prime time to get away for a lot less than what you’d pay during the peak summer months. Hotels are looking to fill rooms in the slow months between now and Thanksgiving, so take advantage of the lull and book yourself on a weekend (or longer) getaway to one of these fabulous fall destinations that won’t break the bank.

Beaver Creek, CO

The Rocky Mountains really peak – in both tourists and price – come the first snowfall, so come early and enjoy all the autumn activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking, horseback riding, fishing and golf will keep you busy during the day, and top-notch restaurants and luxurious hotels will keep you rejuvenated and ready for the next day’s adventures. Sample savings: the Beaver Creek Lodge, an all-suite boutique property situated in the heart of the town has rates from $169 per night this fall, compared with over $400 per night in the winter months.

Bonus: Use promo code COSUMMER75 before September 19 and get $75 off your four-night vacation.