Ultimate Guide to Living in Aspen, Colorado

living in Aspen

Nestled away in Colorado’s beautiful Rocky Mountains, Aspen is one of the most charming and beautiful ski resort towns in the entire United States. Visitors and residents alike love Aspen for its boundless outdoor recreation activities and pristine Rocky Mountain setting. People living in Aspen enjoy world-class skiing, hiking, amazing restaurants and a vibrant arts and culture scene.

There’s a good chance that you already have a good idea of what Aspen is like, but what is it actually like to live there?

If you’re thinking of moving to Aspen to enjoy its beauty each and every day – you’ll want to have a good understanding of what’s on offer and what life is really like there.

In this ultimate guide to living in Aspen, we’re going to take you through the entire process of both living and moving to Aspen, Colorado!

What Makes Aspen So Great?

We’ve already covered what makes Aspen such a special place, and there’s a good chance that almost everybody in the world has a clear picture of this beautiful area.

Winter in Aspen, Colorado
Beautiful Aspen Winter

Here are the highlights, though, that make Aspen such a unique and special place:

Perfect for Skiing

While the ski season in Aspen will vary from year to year, visitors and residents can look forward to skiing on some of the finest and most powdery snow of anywhere in the world. Aspen is undoubtedly one of the world’s top skiing destinations.

A Rich Colorado History

Skiing has been a critical part of Aspen’s history for decades now. The local area features countless little cottages and visitors come from around the world to experience the skiing culture for themselves.

Film and music

Harrison Ford at the Aspen FilmFest
Harrison Ford at the Aspen Film Fest

Aspen isn’t just about skiing: countless visitors descend on Aspen each year to experience its amazing film and music festivals. There are lots of summer concerts, too, that make Aspen a perfect place to enjoy the culture.

The Ideas festival

The Aspen Institute for Humanitarian Studies launched the Aspen Ideas Festival back in 2005. In the years since this has become one of the world’s most exciting and innovative events where new technologies and ideas and unveiled.

Shopping

Aspen also has some of the most beautiful boutiques and stores in the USA. There are countless art galleries and fine establishments where people can purchase new heirlooms and precious items.

The Vibe

There’s no denying that life in Aspen is luxurious. Residents and visitors get to enjoy close proximity to some of the world’s most beautiful scenery while also enjoying lots of the finer things in life.

History of Aspen

historic aspen
Aspen in the 1880’s

Aspen has a rich history and it’s part of what makes the region so attractive to visitors and residents alike. The city was founded by miners back in 1879 who enjoyed incredible success during the period of silver mining. The land was rich and good to those people and just a short time later Aspen already boasted a bank, a hospital, an opera house, two theaters, and a police station.

The money in this region meant that electric lights were quick to arrive, and local residents enjoyed the finer things in life. Aspen’s rapid growth has continued to this day and while the mines are no longer open, the region still retains its sense of luxury and pride. 

If you want to get up close and personal with the history of Aspen, you’ll find that there are a number of interesting museums and sites that you’ll be able to visit. There’s certainly something beautiful about visiting those areas and seeing how the hard work of miners over 100 years ago brought about one of the world’s most decadent and beautiful places.

There are lots of local legends and characters that played a role in the growth and development of Aspen, too, and you’ll have a fantastic time getting to learn all about them. The area has always been a leader when it comes to the world of skiing. It was in the 1930s that ski enthusiasts around the world started to build up Aspen as a ski resort. Those efforts were unfortunately interrupted by the onset of World War II, unfortunately.

It was after the war that things really started to develop. Countless people worked very hard over the years to build the infrastructure and reputation of the Aspen that we know today.

Wheeler Opera House - Aspen, Colorado
Wheeler Opera House – Aspen, Colorado

In the following decades, big developments were made that changed the reputation and standing of Aspen forever. The world’s longest chair life was built there, for instance, and The World Downhill Ski Championships were hosted there in 1950. That competition played a huge part in cementing Aspen’s reputation as a leading ski destination.

Aspen has continued to grow in the years since and by now, it is revered as one of the world’s finest places to ski and enjoy an unforgettable time.

Demographics of Aspen

Aspen is a relatively small place in terms of population. The most recent estimates put the population of Aspen at around 6,658 people. The demographics are shifting and there’s a wide range of ages here.

The people in Aspen are renowned for their pleasant disposition and willingness to share their beautiful natural environment with visitors from around the world. There’s a strong sense of culture and it’s a big part of what makes Aspen such a beautiful place to visit and live.

Cultural Activities

Aspen has garnered a strong reputation as a leader in terms of art and culture. As we touched on earlier there are lots of different festivals and gatherings that attract global audiences.

On a smaller level, Aspen certainly has its own strong culture and the people there definitely make the most of living in such a beautiful area!

If you decide to move or visit Aspen, you’ll love lakeside yoga classes or birdwatching activities. Those are just some of the unique activities that take advantage of the natural beauty that envelops Aspen.

Over the winter months, the cultural activities don’t stop. Visitors and residents can enjoy snowshoe and powder tours, for instance, or try something new like dog sledding and winter fly-fishing.

Whatever the time of year in Aspen, there’s always something exciting happening.

Tourism

Fine Dining in Aspen
Fine Dining in Aspen

Traveling to Aspen from Denver

Lots of people will inevitably travel to Aspen from Denver. There are about 104 miles between the two locations, meaning that there’s around a three-hour drive between the two.

This is a manageable distance and countless people will decide to invest in high-quality shuttle service between the two destinations. There are lots of companies on the market vying for the business of Aspen’s residents and visitors, but Blue Sky Limo is undoubtedly one of the most distinguished and notable.

Some of the world’s richest and most discerning visitors to Aspen will call upon the services of Blue Sky Limo’ Aspen Airport Transportation to get to Aspen safely and comfortably. It’s also the perfect way to start a trip to Aspen!

Traveling to Aspen from Eagle airport

Eagle Airport Vail (EGE) – is one of the closest airports to Aspen, given that it’s just 88.3 miles away by road. This means that people can land and quickly get to Aspen in no time at all – they’ll be ready to hit the slopes right away!

Using a Vail based airport shuttle service is a convenient way to get to Aspen from Eagle airport. You also have the option of checking out Vail, Colorado before heading up to Aspen. If you have ever wondered about the main differences between Vail and Aspen, you should check out our detailed “Vail vs Aspen Guide”.

Aspen is a haven for skiers over the course of the year, though, and the average daily population swells significantly each day. Some figures place the average daily population in Aspen at around 20,000 given the high volume of visitors to the area each year.

Those visitors come from around the world and they’re some of the finest tourists a place could hope for. Those people are nature enthusiasts and they take good care of the local environment alongside the locals.

Those visitors will come primarily from across North America, but it’s not uncommon for guests to make longer journeys to experience the beauty and tranquility of Aspen for themselves.

Skiing

Ultimate Guide to Living in Aspen, Colorado
Aspen Gondola

Aspen is renowned around the world for its unparalleled snow conditions. There are a staggering 336 trails to be enjoyed and they’re served by 40 high-quality lifts. The snow depth is often excellent and the quality of the snow is ideal for skiing enthusiasts.

There are lots of lessons and programs to take advantage of, too. Even novice skiers will be able to have an incredible time here, given that Aspen attracts some of the world’s best instructors.

This is also a convenient place for rentals. There are countless stores and shops that offer rental equipment at reasonable prices. You’ll be able to find full rental packages to make life easier, too, and the friendly staff is no strangers to kitting out visitors with the perfect gear in no time at all.

Some people often worry about the price of lift tickets, but they’re surprisingly reasonable. Very few people rarely ever pay the full price, either, given that it’s possible to enjoy multi-day savings and other discounts.

Alongside skiing, it’s also possible to enjoy different winter sports.

Here’s a look at some of the key skiing areas that you’ll find in Aspen:

Aspen Highlands

The Aspen Highlands is essentially a single ridge that has a series of trails dropping off from it. It’s possible to find absolutely thrilling descents here and there are lots of different options available in terms of routes.

The first ascent is really something else. The first time that you go up, prepare yourself and really soak in the views: you’ll find some of the best views in the entire United States here and it can be truly breathtaking.

Aspen Mountain

If you are a skiing expert, this is where you’ll want to visit. Over 65% of the trails here are advanced or expert, meaning that you’ll need to bring your A-game. There’s no room for error here, but the risks are certainly worth the reward.

Skiers relish the opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s most challenging and demanding routes here. It’s certainly worth the work and you’ll find that there are a few great restaurants to eat at.

Buttermilk

If you’re intimidated by the prospect of visiting Aspen Mountain, don’t worry! Buttermilk is much simpler and safer for beginners and novices alike. There are lots of easy runs here and you’ll still get to enjoy the powder.

The relatively calmer environment also means that people often pass up on visiting, so you’ll have plenty of space to yourself. If you’re looking to treat yourself and enjoy a truly relaxing day on the slopes, you can’t afford to skip Buttermilk.

Working

There are several potential career opportunities available to Aspen residents. The salaries are often very competitive, too, so you will be able to live comfortably in this beautiful location.

The area is filled with ambitious and world-class businesses too. This means that there are often viable career paths and opportunities here if you’re looking to build upon your abilities and land yourself an amazing position.

Here’s a look at some of the key areas available in Aspen:

Schools

If you’re an educator, you’ll find a number of schools in Aspen at every age range. Perhaps you could find a natural fit here and apply your teaching experience in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States? 

City of Aspen

The City of Aspen is a big employer and it often has adverts for various different roles. You might just find something in your area of expertise – it’s always worth keeping an eye on the City of Aspen website.

Retail

Aspen is also renowned for its various boutiques. If you have retail experience and you believe that you could drive value for a luxury brand, you might want to consider sending your CV to the different stores in the area.

Restaurants and bars

There are a number of bars and restaurants in Aspen. These are very high-quality institutions that offer some of the most amazing experiences to the world’s most discerning visitors – could you fit right in and work your magic? 

Skiing

Anybody who has a genuine love for skiing will understand that it’s the dream to work for a school or ski shop! The world’s finest skiing brands have a strong presence in Aspen so that could be a good door into the area.

Aspen also has some of the most amazing instructors working for its various schools – could you fit in there and delight Aspen’s various visitors?

Making Your Decision

living in aspen

We hope that this closer look at Aspen helps you to weigh up the various factors that you’ll need to consider.

As you can see, Aspen is an exciting place and it’s one of the most desirable places in the world to live if you’re an enthusiast when it comes to outdoor pursuits and skiing.

The beauty of choosing whether or not to move to Aspen is that you can give it a try and visit. There is a lot of seasonal work available there given the high volume of tourists that visit the region each year.

If you’re serious about living in Aspen, why not consider working in a chalet or one of the bars or restaurants here? The salaries are often competitive and employees in Aspen love the opportunity to make the most of the stunning surroundings.

As with any big decision in life, you’ll want to think long and carefully. There are lots of decision-making techniques that you can use to help the process along, but nothing beats taking a piece of paper and jotting down the pros and cons.

Take your paper and draw two columns – draw out the pros and cons and then you’ll have a much better perspective on the situation!

We hope that you’ll be happy whatever decision you decide to take. Aspen is a wonderful place and it has one of the happiest populations in the United States. Enjoy your first visit and we wish you all the best on your life-changing adventure!

Luxury Aspen Airport Transportation & Car Service Provided by Blue Sky Limo