Life Beside the Aspen Slopes

Skiing is a major part of Aspen’s identity but the city’s Mayor reveals that life here is about much more than its famous, crisp white powder

Just by looking out the window of the red-brick City Hall, the mayor of Aspen can see the jewels of the city’s skiing crown.

Now in his second two-year term, the mayor, who just goes by the name Torre (his given birth name is Ronald Wayne Maranian III), says his city has “unparalleled access” to the slopes from downtown.

Many of Aspen’s residents and visitors are within walking distance of Aspen Mountain Ski Resort, while the city’s other three peaks – Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk - closely border the picturesque community of roughly 7,500 people.

“One of the most amazing things about the City of Aspen is that it goes straight up to the base of Aspen Mountain,” Mayor Torre says.

Access to the mountains is managed by the Aspen Skiing Company, which works closely with the City to ensure outdoor enthusiasts can get their snow-fix during the season, which runs from November to June.

This long snow season makes Aspen a particularly compelling location for property owners with a penchant for winter sports.

But there’s much more to Aspen than its snow-adorned slopes.

Surrounded By Nature

Put simply, Aspen, with its crisp air, big skies, and 246 days of sunshine a year, is an outdoor adventurer’s paradise all year round.

“Skiing is definitely in the top three best aspects of Aspen, but once the snow melts, you still have unrivalled access to natural amenities,” Mayor Torre says.

“The only question we ask each other in Aspen is ‘which direction are you going?’, because wherever you go, you’ll have an incredible hike with jaw-dropping views.”

Aspen sits on the Roaring Fork River, which flows to Glenwood Springs where it meets the mighty Colorado River, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to take part in various watersports, whether it’s rafting, canoeing, stand-up paddle-boarding or even fishing.

Mayor Torre, who has lived in Aspen for 28 years, recalls his first visit to the city, when he stayed with a college friend.

Upon waking on his first full day, his friend asked him what he wanted to do.

“He asked me whether I wanted to go hiking, biking, play tennis, go for a round of golf, try out fly-fishing, go hot-air ballooning or even paragliding,” he recalls.

That was the moment Mayor Torre knew he wanted to move to Aspen. He cut short what was supposed to be a three-day trip to return home for his belongings so he could relocate to his new home in the Rocky Mountains.

True Escapism

Now, Mayor Torre says the days he particularly loves in Aspen are so-called “three-sport days”.

“For me and many Aspen residents, the days we love are when you can go skiing in the morning, play tennis or golf in the afternoon, and go for a walk or bike ride in the evening,” he says.

Essentially, Aspen is about escapism – a key piece of advice for anyone moving to the city.

“For anyone considering moving to Aspen, I would say to them to leave their big-city concerns behind and look to join our vibrant community.”

Besides the abundant choice of physical pursuits, Aspen offers an enviable calendar of events and activities, as well as being a culinary and artistic melting pot.

“Access to world-class arts and culture is something Aspen is extremely well-known for,” Mayor Torre says.

“Our summer recreational amenities are amazing, and people truly appreciate the quality of life that Aspenites have when they come here.

“We live elevated – and not just in altitude.”

A Desirable Community

The enviable climate, close-knit community, and superb surroundings have made Aspen one of America’s most sought-after cities for homeowners.

Many actors, authors, sport stars and world-renowned musicians continue to make Aspen their home, including in some of the nation’s most exclusive properties.

Aspen’s appeal appears to be unwavering; real estate prices have risen every year since 2012, with a significant uplift witnessed throughout the Covid-19 pandemic as home buyers increasingly seek family homes with outdoor space away from major conurbations.

And even with a curtailed skiing season in 2020/21 due to lockdown restrictions, the Aspen Skiing Company still recorded nearly 1.2 million visits.

“We welcome visitors and residents with open arms as we understand that Aspen is a special and unique place thanks to its environment, culture and community,” Mayor Torre says.

“It was the people I met here and the lifestyle they live, which is adventurous, outgoing and caring, that brought me here as a resident and inspired me to become mayor.” Mayor Torre says the community is perfect for families, as well as for people that love and respect the outdoors, and that he is dedicated to ensuring Aspen remains the best it can be for anyone that makes it their home.

“I’m focused on trying to work for the community and to deliver the brightest future I can for it, which is truly an honour,” he says.