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Aspen Winter News: The Can’t-Miss Spots for Dinner, Après and Late-Night Parties

Aspen never goes out of style, but it does evolve. Case in point: a flurry of high-profile openings this winter season, including an entire new neighborhood and a culture hub, plus a landmark anniversary celebration for a slopeside mainstay. Read on for what’s new and notable this year at America’s most glamorous ski resort.

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The Newcomer: W Aspen

In its ski season debut, W Aspen isn’t shy about its plans to shake up Aspen town. The property’s design is youthful and contemporary—atypical for Aspen’s posh, chalet-style retreats—and infused with thoughtful ties to Aspen’s silver-mining history and Rocky Mountain Americana. Wallpaper nods to wooden mineshafts, lighting mimics sun rays trickling through tunnel cracks and omnipresent grid patterns allude to traditional millwork. The W’s prized feature is Wet Deck, Aspen’s only year-round rooftop. Here, a heated pool, hot tubs, cabanas and fire pits draw both locals with day-passes and guests, ensuring a diverse crowd with an energy suited for mingling. Another Aspen first: quad-queen bunk rooms that can accommodate up to eight guests, ideal for families and friend groups.

The Après Après-Ski: 39 Degrees

Iconic après ski bar, 39 Degrees is all that remains of the former Sky Hotel, now that W Aspen has replaced it. W’s reinvention of the debaucherous hangout incorporates an industrial-chic design of exposed concrete, sultry velvet accents and both platform and pit seating. A hand painted Gabriel Alcala mural and Gonzo-style posters add eclectic pops of art to the scene, with equally as vibrant cocktails and small plates served into the early morning.

The Big Anniversary: The Little Nell

The Little Nell first opened its doors on Thanksgiving Day in 1989. For its 30th birthday the property has organized a slew of celebrations that dovetail with the holiday season. Highlights include a 1989 throwback party at Chair 9 après ski lounge on December 14th and a New Year’s Eve Dom Pérignon Party, which will host DJs Hakkasan Las Vegas.

Related: The 9 Best Places to Ski in the U.S.

The Nouveau Cultural Epicenter: The Collective at Snowmass Base Village

Snowmass Base Village—a megaproject valued at $600 million around 20 minutes from downtown Aspen—first opened a year ago, but development continues apace. This winter will reveal an outpost of Aspen juicery Jüs, a new yoga studio and an art gallery from local artist Kelly Peters. But we’re most excited about The Collective, a community arts center with cultural programming from local organizations like the Anderson Ranch Arts Center, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies and the Thunder River Theatre Company.

The Mountaintop Eatery: Sam’s

After a multi-million dollar renovation, the former smokehouse at Sam’s Knob on Snowmass Mountain has been converted into a Mediterranean restaurant infused with mountain soul. Sam’s will be the place to tuck into after shredding the slopes, its energy revolving around a “live-action” kitchen that serves unpretentious Italian comfort food like grandma-style pizza and house-made pastas and an open concept bar area. But if you are there just for a tipple, cozy around the fireplace or on the outdoor sundeck that seemingly floats 11,000 feet up in the Rockies.

The Speakeasy: Mini-Jimmy’s

If you’ve ever checked your coat at Jimmy’s, an Aspen fine dining institution, you’ve already peeked into its latest venue. Mini Jimmy’s, dubbed “the world’s smallest speakeasy,” resides in that very coat closet, now refurbished with a rustic wooden bar counter and bottles of coveted spirits in lieu of rods and hangers. The miniature space can fit four guests for expert-led tasting sessions of mezcals or ultra-rare Japanese whiskies.

The Art Moment: Aspen’s Bauhaus Centennial

Aspen is joining the worldwide commemorations of Bauhaus style’s centennial with several new exhibitions. The renowned Aspen Institute is hosting A Total Work of Art: Bauhaus-Bayer-Aspen and Bauhaus 1919-1928. The latter looks at MoMA’s groundbreaking 1938 exhibition on the new art movement. The former introduces visitors to Austrian-born graphic designer and architect Herbert Bayer, a Bauhaus disciple who had a profound impact on the development of Aspen. Bayer designed the Aspen Institute and other local buildings, and his Bauhaus-style posters equated skiing—and Aspen, specifically—with glamour. A few blocks away at the Wheeler/Stallard Museum, Bayer and Bauhaus showcases preliminary sketches, prints, textiles, drawings, photography and graphic design works from the architect as well.

Contact Indagare for assistance planning a customized trip to Aspen.

– Paul Jebara on November 25, 2019

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