The Innsbruck Aspen
The Innsbruck Aspen is the heart of Aspen CO, one of the top ski resort locations in the world. I was excited to travel to the resort even in offseason since I am not much of a skier, and the area is amazing.
Colorado for me means a flight. Flight time is about 6.5 hours which beats the heck out of a long 30-hour drive. My limit for travel by car these days is likely about 14 hours. Even then anything over 12 and I will break it into several days of driving. I think the longest drive I ever did was 24 hours one time with a friend who was moving to Texas and I will not sign up for that much time in a car or truck again.
Flights to Aspen any time of the year are not cheap. My flight was booked through a friend and it still ran $550 round trip in the summer, and it included a slight layover in Denver. Again, though compared to the specter of a drive I’ll take it.
Day One Arrival
I arrived at the resort a little after the earliest check-in time which was fine. It meant that my room was ready, and I could nap then tour the resort, and get a meal without any delay.
This resort has a giant list of amenities and features.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
- Whirlpool Bath
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- BBQ Grills
- Outdoor Pool
- Business Center/Fax
- Fitness Room
- Vacation Planning
The rooms were available in one- and two-bedroom units. On this trip, I was solo again, so I chose the one-bedroom Presidential room.
This meant a full kitchen, bath, living room, and a nice size bedroom all in a 545 square foot layout.
Take a look at the resort photos on the site to see much more. The resort is within an easy walk to the town of Aspen and they also provide bikes and shuttle service if you prefer not to walk. I liked the bike idea because since it was summer it was 72 degrees outside and sunny, perfect for a bike ride.
There are a ton of restaurants about 4 blocks up from the resort. On this first night, I picked the Mia Chola a neat Mexican spot. I felt a Margarita calling my name after the two flights to get here. I was in luck this place had like 14 specialty margaritas waiting for me to choose from. They also had a menu that included combos and I enjoy getting a combo when eating Mexican food. I think it is because I do not eat it often so when I do I want to have a few of my favorites at the one meal.
I also enjoy trying platers or combo meals on vacations to sample a sizable part of the menu somewhere without eating or ordering too much food.
I noticed when I was reading the menu that they also carried deep-fried ice cream on the dessert menu. I know it is silly, but I love that stuff. I think it comes from my younger years when the Chi-Chi chain was still a thing on the east coast. I went to that restaurant chain for more than a few birthdays when I was young. I always had to get the fried ice cream for dessert afterward. So now it makes a meal feel like a birthday when someone has it on the menu.
I think I shared this thought when I was in Chicago, but the same applies to Aspen as you might expect. The food here is pricy. This is compared to most other markets. But many of the guests that come to this town have deep pockets, so the local dining matches that target market.
I will not mention pricing again but just be aware that for most the prices here will seem double the prices from home for similar items, that is unless you live in a large city. I just would not want people to get into town because they saved so much on the resort with TZort and expect to find bargains on food or other experiences too.
After the meal, I found out (by overhearing someone) that the local playhouse or theater had a show tonight. I went online to see if it was sold out. It was not, so I instantly grabbed tickets. The play was the Little Shop of Horrors which has music, and a good sense of humor, so I thought I should jump on it.
That was a great call because while it is a smaller venue the performers were great and it was a neat thing to be able to do. I found it interesting that the theater was an enclosed tent. That seemed odd for an area with so much money, but I assume it is some kind of work in progress. It still was a good show and a fun time.
After the show, it was back to the resort and off to bed for an early start tomorrow.
Day Two at The Innsbruck Aspen
I woke up ready to take on the world, well after breakfast anyway. I headed for a spot that a nice couple I met at the theater raved about. Hickory House Ribs on the weekends, this place does one heck of a breakfast. They also do fresh-squeezed juices. When I went to check out the juice operation as I waited for my food, I saw that they make mixed drinks even at breakfast time and only for $2 more than just an orange juice. Well, this was a vacation, even a working one deserves a drink or two. I had them make my OJ into a screwdriver, oh that was good.
This was a great place for breakfast. I could just imagine you ski fans eating here before a big day of skiing and loving it. Juicing and energizing up for those runs up and down the mountain. Given we were in the heart of Aspen still the prices were also affordable. I peaked at the lunch menu and it to was full of great-priced items, and a fun menu. Check it out for yourself on their website.
After a great meal, I headed for the sightseeing mecca of the area, the same Gondolas that take skiers up the mountain for some of the best snow skiing in the world, take riders all summer up the mountain for site seeing fun.
I purchased a 3-day pass for this for less than $40 and I intended to come back tomorrow if I enjoyed it as much as it looked like I would.
The Gondola takes you up above 11,000 feet to the top of the mountain. Strange things happen to the human body at altitude. The air pressure hits you everywhere. Also, when you are out of shape like me, breathing is labored some, and it would make playing the world’s highest disk golf up here a little too much fun for me.
However, the views here in summer are insane. They are worth the slight headache and pressure fun. I imagine the skiing here is amazing given the mountain runs that appear to be nearly endless as viewed from the top of the mountains here.
I looked it up for you and the longest run here is 3 miles. With a drop of over 3,000 ft during that time. That is amazing! There are also 336 runs developed in that area with a healthy percentage of those rated for experts (36%) so for the serious skier, this seems to be an amazing spot.
Once I had seen all I could handle today, I chose to head back down to the base to save my headache and breathe easier (literally). I can not imagine what those crazy folks that scale Everest experience almost another 10,000 feet higher up. Just wow.
Once down, I found a local guide to take me to the nearby Ghost town of Ashcroft. It was like 2 weeks before the time of the year when they staff the site with a docent for tours daily. So, for a bargain, I found a local guide to show me that and a few other things in the area for the day. This included another ghost town called independence as well.
A few months back now I had stayed in Eagle CO and I had seen some of the neatest things historically for the area. This trip I was focused on some of the sites closer to the Aspen side of things. During the westward expansion, this area gained a lot of attention due to mining and the silver mines that struck and made a few wealthy. They however were shallow mines that played out quickly.
In 1878, Congress approved massive silver purchases by the Government. This meant that they literally created a run on the market. The historically massive inflation of the currency supply occurred during and after the Civil War. Although the gold price remained set at $20.65, silver prices were significantly higher and the ratio reached a historic low of 7:1 in 1864. This combined with the Government’s orders for silver increased demand and therefore the supply of people becoming miners to strike it rich.
Back in the 1800s, a million dollars was a massive sum, and during this silver boom, more than 82 million in silver was mined in Colorado alone. This came just a few years after a major gold mining boom as well. The silver mining industry would later collapse because the Government changed its silver buying policy in 1893, and that destroyed the market.
These days we seem to make our fortunes online instead of from the ground. Doing so with the sale of services and information, instead of the exchange of metals.
The afternoon was a ton of fun for a history buff like me, and the local guide was very knowledgeable and had a great sense of humor as well.
After all of that walking and talking around old sites, I was ready for a meal. We headed back towards town and to Mawa’s Kitchen. This restaurant is one of the main suppliers of chef-prepared meals for flights in the area. Or more correctly, the business is. So, they prepare top-end meals for the rich and famous, or at least very capable.
From 4 to 9 PM, the Aspen location makes their dinner menu available. The menu has a clever appeal and it healthier than I normally eat. They offer Vegan items as well as your favorite meat dishes with a clean, fresh, approach.
I had the MOTHER-IN-LAW’S VEAL SCHNITZEL, which was a very good presentation of that time-honored dish. Something you do not see on many menus anymore. It was fantastic!
Day Three back to the mountains
Today I wanted to go back up on the Gondola and see more of the amazing views of the mountains. I thought being at the base level for several days now that my body would have adjusted more to the altitude. Especially with my history walks yesterday for healthy exercise.
Something tells me, however, that even a younger (more fit person) would feel the effects of the altitude. Especially people who live on the coasts at sea level. This is where many (40%) of us live. Presently about 40% of the world’s population lives within 100 kilometers of the coast. Another interesting number is more than 600 million people (around 10 percent of the world’s population) live in coastal areas that are less than 10 meters above sea level.
I know that sharing that fact in a blog about travel may seem odd to you, but if you come here from sea level, you will understand why I am sharing that note. It makes a big difference on your trip. Your body adapts very fast, but it still has to adapt to carry more oxygen in your blood.
Going back up the mountain today still was a visually impressive experience. Also, as expected, my head hurt less than on the first trip. I also think it helped to skip breakfast because there was less inside my digestive systems to move around with the pressure as well. Yes, the air pressure and blood oxygen thing do seem to affect the entire body.
The mountain top here does not have enough photos online to even begin to do the area justice. I can only imagine the impact the views and all the ski runs have on your avid skiers. With 336 ski runs in that area, it must be something to see during the winter here.
I have only been in Aspen and at The Innsbruck Aspen for a few days, but I can certainly understand the draw to this area, the people, and resort. Everything has a historic underpinning, but a fresh energetic feel. This place like all towns that have a focus on sports or an active lifestyle seems to pulse with its own energy.
If you are the kind of person who needs to stay active to relax and burn off energy to feel free then visiting here should certainly be on your list. If you are an avid skier, then it already is on your list. Aspen is a name that is recognized the world over related to skiing. It may be for the ski runs that can be as long as 3 miles, but my guess is the overall location and people.