Bro Down: The ultimate Aspen itinerary for your next boys trip

Comments by Jonathan Glass/

When was the last time you headed out on a trip with your best friends, whether it be your boys from college or high school, for a long weekend of shredding, partying and reminiscing of the good ol’ days? It’s probably been far too long…

But from time to time it’s necessary to let loose in order to keep your sanity from the day-to-day exercise of life. And what better place to ride and party with old friends than Aspen/Snowmass, Colorado?

Now I could bore you with the details of why Aspen is so amazing. But you already know why people flock there year after year, summer or winter. What I want to do is a tad more specific: provide you with the ultimate Aspen itinerary for your next boys trip.

If you haven’t heard, Colorado has had a stellar winter so far with a snow pack well above average, with more on the way. If that’s not reason enough, let me hold your hand and walk you through how to do Aspen right.

Location is key

Aspen Colorado Panorama
The possibilities are endless. | Photo: Aspen/Snowmass Jeremy Swanson

When deciding on a place to stay, there’s one thing to keep in mind: partying. Let’s be honest, you’re on a boys trip. You aren’t going to fancy dinners; you’re heading out on the town to throw down.

Depending on your budget there’s a few ways to go about this. If your not trying to spend your hard earned cash on where you rest your head because you won’t be doing much of that, head to the Limelight or the Sky Hotel. Both are reasonably priced, for Aspen, and you won’t find yourself walking far to have a good time.

If you want to go the other route and ball out, I recommend the Little Nell or Hotel Jerome. Each hotel boasts amazing quarters where you’ll look like a king to the lucky lady who might find herself there late night. Closing not included in room fee.

Local secret: Gang up with all your boys in a baller suite to cut down on the cost and have an insane place to stay. Trust me, it will be worth it.

Power of Four

Blasting through the aspens in the Cone Dumps. | Photo: Aspen/Snowmass Jeremy Swanson
Blasting through the aspens in the Cone Dumps. | Photo: Aspen/Snowmass Jeremy Swanson

Aspen boasts four beautiful mountains, each one tailored by Mother Nature for a specific type of riding. Our focus will be Ajax (Aspen Mountain) and Highlands.

While you’re getting cozy with your boys in a suite at the Little Nell, Aspen’s only ski in ski out hotel (The entire town is in such close proximity to the Silver Queen Gondola that it almost feels like everyone has the privilege) you’ll walk out the door to find a 16-minute gondola ride to the top of the mountain (the perfect amount of time to finish off a bottle of champagne later before your last run).

Hitting on chicks 101: Feeding the Camp Robbers on top of Ajax never fails.

Make sure to snap a photo with Highland Bowl and the surrounding Elk Mountains in the back— but don’t be a fool and get a “sharp shooter” to do it, a local with your iPhone 5s will probably take a better photo.

Local secret: Grab a slice of pizza from the Sundeck and head outside. If you hold up a piece of crust the “camp robbers” (bird) will fly by and grab it right out of your hands; an Instagram must that will garner some major likes.

If there’s fresh snow, and there most likely will be as storms have been pummeling the area this winter, your first stop should the Cone Dumps. Head to FIS chair (it’s a double you can’t miss) then ride to skier’s right where you’ll drop into perfectly spaced Aspens filled with glorious face shots.

Once you track that out, it’s time for some fast groomer laps and euro turns. Any trail will do but my favorite is Buckhorn to Midway then down North American.

Each trail has a plethora of side hits you’ll want to take advantage of. Plus, at the top of North American, to skier’s right, there’s a solid drop off followed by a huge kicker the locals keep ripe for the hitting. It’s easy to miss, so as you come up on Bonnies stay hard right and look for it as the trees stop.

Local secret: Find a local and ask them to show you their favorite shrine. We can’t say much more than that.

Hiking up the Highlands Bowl. | Photo: Aspen/Snowmass Jeremy Swanson
Hiking up the Highlands Bowl. | Photo: Aspen/Snowmass Jeremy Swanson

Once you’ve tackled Ajax like a local, head to Highlands for a day of bowl laps. At 12,392, Highlands Bowl is not to be messed with. If you’re in decent shape, the hike should only take 45 min after a fun cat ride up the ridge. You’re welcome to drop right in without hiking, but your boys will never let it down. Hike to the top and snap some glorious photos with Maroon Bells in the back.

From there it’s anyone’s game. You can head straight down the 50-degree G-Zone pitch or go right for the “G” woods to skier’s right. I’d stay in the bowl all day, but most can’t handle it. My recommendation, after at least two laps head to Boomerang Woods where you’ll find more perfectly spaced Aspens to lap.

Local secret: Bring a few beers in your bag, two each will do, and you’ll be crowned king when you hand a local a frosty cold Coors at the top of Highlands Bowl. They even might show you some hidden pow stashes.

Added bonus: As Aspen is always pushing the boundaries of tech, thanks to its killer digital department, they’ve launched 5 new 45+ megapixel 360 degree HD webcams in various spots around the town. It’s taking snow cams to the next level!

Adult, on-mountain fun

Besides the obvious pow stashes and trees, Aspen has taken adult on-mountain fun to a whole new level. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll fully enjoy taking an hour or two from shredding to take advantage of something you can’t find anywhere else: The Oasis pop-up champagne bar and Cloud 9 (skip to 1:57 for the action).

You know it's a good time when older gals can party harder than you...
You know it’s a good time when older gals can party harder than you…

When getting pitted on Ajax, a must stop for the gents is The Oasis pop-up Veuve Clicquot champagne bar, which changes locations every weekend. To find this mobile party simply follow The Little Nell on Twitter or Facebook as they post the location every morning. From a solar-powered audio system to Veuve paraphernalia and bottles of champagne for a reasonable price, The Oasis will have you straight arming bottles at 11,000 feet. Something we consider insta-gold!

The Cloud 9 closing day party is a ruckus! Good luck getting down...
The Cloud 9 closing day party is a ruckus! Good luck getting down…

If you make it over to Highlands for those bowl laps I mentioned earlier, a reservation at Cloud 9 (skip to 1:57 for the action) is a must (1pm is perfect). Imagine a European-style cabin that serves amazing food including fondue and raclette (my favorite) then turns into the craziest mid-day dance party you’ve ever seen. Cougars dancing on tables, bottles of champagne sprayed ‘till there’s no more (who drinks champagne anymore?) and debauchery you can’t find anywhere else (this gram sums it up nicely). The only thing you have to worry about is getting down the mountain after you’ve consumed copious amounts of alcohol. But don’t worry, ski patrol will take you down if you’re too intoxicated (been there, done that!).

Après FTW

Après at Sky Hotel's 39 Degrees can get out of hand. Watch out for the dude stew!
Après at Sky Hotel’s 39 Degrees can get out of hand. Watch out for the dude stew! Photo: Nate Abbott

If you love après as much as I do, you’ll want to head immediately to Ajax Tavern (3-6pm) for a discounted menu including a $15 double cheese burger and a pint, $3 drafts and $2 oysters (yes, that’s cheap). Not only is the food delicious, the people watching is literally the best in the country. Fur gone wild!

This is Benny The Blade. He crushes souls!

If you’re looking for something a little crazier, head to 39 Degrees at the Sky hotel. Rated one of the best après spots in the country, by me, for its younger scene, hot tub (watch out for the dude stew), cocktails and food – 39 Degrees should be your everyday après. I personally recommend the nachos – they have fondue on them – as well as the pretzels and wings. To wash it all down ask the bartender for a “locals” Coors Light. But don’t tell him I sent you…

Local secret: Look out for a long blond haired man named Benny The Blade. He usually chills next to the fireplace and can be seen rocking jean shorts, a cutoff tee and sunnies. If you challenge him to a dance off outside you’ll most likely lose but you’ll be the life of the party and might be rewarded with some free drinks. He also has an official Benny The Blade Facebook fan club if you’re so inclined.

Send ‘er all night!

If, after all that riding and partying, you’ve somehow made it to when the sun dips below Shadow Mountain – and I don’t blame you if you don’t – you have some options for a night on the town.

There’s a plethora of places you can find yourself dancing all night looking for strange, and two of those spots should be Escobar (think underground Boing 747 with a stripper pole in the back) or the newest club in town, Bootsy Bellows.

If you want to hang with the locals, head to The Red Onion. Local ski legend, Pat Sewell, pours a mean cocktail (the singles are doubles, the doubles are triples and the… well you get the point) and the place is always bumping. Just make sure it’s karaoke night for the ultimate experience.

The Belly Up, Aspen | Photo: Belly Up, Aspen
The Belly Up, Aspen | Photo: Belly Up, Aspen

If you’re looking for a live show, there’s no better venue than The Belly Up. It’s one of my favorites as it boasts a cozy atmosphere that will get you up close and personal with the all-star line up of shows that come through. You’ll leave there wishing the show never ended wondering who’s playing the next night.

Lastly, if you’re looking for the cheapest drinks in town, you can’t go wrong with Little Annie’s. A sort of cowboy saloon, Little Annie’s is guaranteed to get you drunk as f*ck. Watch out for those shots, they’ll catch up to ya!

As the night comes to an end and your drunk ass is hungry and thinking about how tomorrow’s flight from Aspen to wherever you’re headed is going to suck balls, soak up some of that booze with a few slices of New York Pizza. The slices are all time (remember how drunk you are?) and the scene is even better. But don’t be a dick there, otherwise someone might throw you down the stairs.

To help you decide on the perfect long weekend, here’s a breakdown of spring events in Aspen:

Date Event Location
March 7, 14, 21 & 28 Bud Light Big Air Fridays Snowmass
March 1 Power of Four Ski Mountaineering Race Four-mountains
March 11 & 25 Highlands SkiMo Race Series Aspen Highlands
March 14 – 23 14th Annual Bud Light Spring Jam Aspen & Snowmass
March 14 Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series Aspen Mountain
March 15, 16, 22 & 23 Terrain Park Boot Camp Snowmass
March 15 KickAspen Big Air Aspen Mountain
March 16 Fallen Friends Memorial Event Aspen Highlands
March 21 Bud Light Core Party Aspen
March 23 Helly Hansen Battle In The Bowls Aspen Highlands
March 26 – 30 Nature Valley NASTAR National Championships Snowmass
March 29 Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series Snowmass
March 29 Elk Mountain Grand Traverse Aspen Mountain
April 6 Buttermilk Rail Jam Buttermilk
April 20 Schneetag TBD