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If You Need Me I'll Be Weekending In Aspen

I've always wanted to say that I'll be spending the weekend in Aspen. The name 'Aspen' just has such a snobby ring to it, and it's a place we've always wanted to ski/snowboard.

Flying into Aspen is expensive, being such a small, regional airport. But after failing to find decent flights to Hawaii with our United points, we thought, hey, what about Aspen? It turned out to be the same amount of points as flying anywhere else in the U.S. so it seemed like a good use of them.

Friday, Mar. 25

Incredibly, we missed our early morning flight to Denver. We're still not sure what happened. Somehow, both of us thought our flight left at 8 AM, when in fact it left at 6AM. We thought we were screwed when the United agent told us the next 'confirmed' flight he could get us on was Monday, but we decided to try our luck with standby. As it turned out, we ended up on the noon flight, which was lucky.

We arrived in Denver to find that our flight to Aspen was cancelled because of the wind. United offered us a bus ride to Aspen instead. My dreams of touching down at ASE were dashed. The bus ride was long, and full of people who seemingly weren't used to riding on the bus. One of them included a woman who had her Louis Vuitton bag burned by the under-seat light which was missing it's protective cover. She asked the bus driver to lodge a complaint, 'Tell them it's a Louis Vuitton, *they* will know what it is.' Ah, Aspen.

Along the way the bus driver made many announcements. It was more of a running commentary really. The most disappointing announcement was that the Vail pass was closed, adding 2 hours to our already 5 hour journey. We thought we would never make the concert we had purchased tickets for, which started at 10:30PM.

After a short stop for a break, we reboarded and were treated to good news, the Vail pass had re-opened. It was still cutting it close though, we rolled in at 10:30PM and still needed to wait for our bags and ski gear, and then catch a cab. We checked in as quickly as possible and literally ran to the Chris Cornell acoustic concert, which was only about 5 blocks away at Belly Up.

We missed a few songs, but still had a good time along with a few beers. Exhausted from our day long journey we crashed back at the hotel.

Saturday, Mar. 26

- Woke up and had breakfast at our B&B, the Mountain House Lodge. Then we walked over to Aspen Mountain and bought our 3 day lift tickets ($296 each) and that's with a discount for skiing 3 days. Definitely the most we've ever paid for lift tickets.

- Walked right onto the gondola, with no line at all and handy automatic gates that read your lift ticket card with an RFID chip that's kept inside your pocket.

- The hill wasn't busy at all, and we didn't have to stand in a single lift line all day and there was hardly anyone on the runs.

- Each time we rode the gondola we would hope for a red one (1 out of every 5) because they had iPod docks where you could listen to your own music or their selection of tunes. Our success rate at getting the red ones was actually pretty high.

- As for conditions, there was some fresh powder and the sun was out all day, what the locals call a 'bluebird day' in Colorado. We took a break in the afternoon at the Sundeck, a nice lodge at the top of the mountain and enjoyed the fireplace and views.

- At the end of the day we sat at the bottom of the hill, enjoying the people watching and the DJ that was playing.

- We headed back to our B&B, and enjoyed the complimentary wine and cheese. We freshened up and walked into town in search of bathing suits (which we forgot) so that we could enjoy the hot tub at our B&B. We each found one, Chris's was designed by the guy that was working in the store.

- Then we went and bought some rum and picked up a pizza at New York Pizza which we enjoyed back at the B&B. We capped off the night with a dip in the hot tub.

Sunday, Mar. 27

Woke up and had our hotel breakfast again. Took the free bus to Aspen Highlands. It was a little cloudy but there was more fresh snow which was nice. Then around lunch time we took the shuttle over to Buttermilk. I was skeptical of the hill, thinking it might be geared more towards beginners only but it turned out to be a great hill with some excellent views.

We had Mongoligan BBQ at the top of the hill but it was lacking taste. Skied some more, good snow, good views, good times! Took the bus back home to Aspen and enjoyed the hot tub again. For dinner we went to Pyramid Bistro, a mostly vegetarian restaurant. Chris had pharaoh risotto, and I had gnocchi, and both of us had squash soup. Everything was delicious, great atmosphere, located on top of a bookstore.

After dinner we ate our cookies and fudge from Paradise Bakery, and came back to the hotel to play bananagrams.

Monday, Mar. 28

Took the bus to Snowmass, there was a slight delay due to a BMW sliding into another bus but when we arrived we were treated to even more fresh powder. We started on a run called Long Shot, which required a 'short but strenuous hike' to get to. We felt it was more like a 'medium length strenuous hike'!. It turned out to be well worth it though, with lots of fresh powder. It reminded Chris of the Japan ski movie we saw at the Banff Film festival.

Did a few more runs and then went to the Stew Pot for lunch. Chris had habanero pepper pork stew over mashed potatoes, and I had veggie chili.

After lunch we found a nice gladed area with more powder. The snow kept coming down in huge flakes the entire day. One of our best snow days ever! Then we packed it in around 3:00 as we had to catch our flight home that night. Went back to our B&B and packed up, and dragged all our luggage back through the snow into town to catch the bus to the airport.

We stopped at CP Burger just before we got on the bus, for a burger and a milkshake. Chris thought it was one of the best burgers he's ever had! Jumped on the bus to the airport. Chris met a guy named Tommy who he chatted with the whole way - turns out Tommy ran a 'Aspen locals helping tourists' website.

Got to the airport to find out that our flight was cancelled due to all the snow. We weighed our options and decided that 1 more day of skiing and catching a flight the next night sounded much more appealing than taking a bus back to Denver!

We hauled all our lugage back to the bus stop, caught the bus, hauled all our luggage back to our hotel, and had one more hot tub as the snow continued to fall, and fall.

Tuesday, Mar. 29

Woke up for our 2nd day at Snowmass. The weather was now clear and sunny, with *plenty* of fresh powder to say the least. It was another bluebird day, with 22 inches of snow in the last 24 hours. We headed for the glades again. This time the snow was a little *too* deep for my liking but Chris enjoyed it thoroughly. Ok, I'll admit it, I got stuck and started swearing.

Then we took the platter up to the very top. I nearly bailed at the beginning, but managed to right myself. We enjoyed one run through some fresh, deep powder, carving our own tracks into the mountain.

For lunch we went to Goodfellows Pizza, which had huge slices. Yet, I still managed to have 2. Made our way back to the hotel, packed again, ate at CP again, bused it to the airport again.

This time we had a flight, and it was a short one, just 28 minutes, an improvement on the 5 hour bus ride!

All in all weekending (plus a bonus day) in Aspen was everything I had hoped for, and we definitely lucked out with the snow. The locals said it was their best snowday of the year.