More than just a winter wonderland

ASPEN and its neighbouring town of Snowmass, in Colorado, USA, are best known to Australians as possibly the most aspirational snow destinations in the world. Yet few Australians know these winter playgrounds are even more beautiful in the summer.

When the snow melts and the leaves return, a different Aspen and Snowmass emerge, beckoning outdoor enthusiasts, artists, musicians and writers to an idyllic mountain town with roots as deep as the mountains are high. 

A mining past draws visitation to the rugged wilderness, world-class shopping, cosmopolitan dining and rich cultural scene. 

Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA) Destination Marketing, in partnership with Snowmass Tourism, has announced the launch of Aspen and Snowmass as a northern hemisphere summer destination.

PR and marketing executive Leigh Maloney said: "We first introduced Aspen as a winter destination to Australia some 20 years ago and its popularity quickly grew. 

"Australia has been the number one international market to Aspen/Snowmass in the winter since the mid-90's and we are confident that Summer will be adopted in much the same way.

"What might seem surprising to most Australians, is that the heaviest days for visitation to Aspen occur not in Winter, but during July and early August when Summer days are warm and dry."

Situated on the western slope of the Rockies, bordered by two of Colorado's most scenic and accessible mountain ranges, with the Roaring Fork River running through the valley, an Aspen and Snowmass Summer is a mecca for world-class athletes who train on local trails and rivers.

More than just ski resorts, a plethora of warm-weather pursuits pique nearly every passion, from cycling and kayaking, to food and wine, even fine writing and independent film, with festivals and special events ranking among the world's best in their genres.

From late-May through early October, the warmer temperatures are conducive to outdoor festivals and events galore, from the legendary Food and Wine Classic and the Saturday Farmers Market, to the Aspen Ideas Festival, the Environmental Forum and the Music Festival, the Snowmass Free Outdoor concerts and the weekly Rodeo and USA Pro Cycling Challenge - it's a cultural and outdoor hub that Australians are sure to adopt.  

Some of the highlights of Summer 2012 events calendar include:

  • May - July 15             Aspen Art Museum presents 'The Residue of Memory' and Simon Denny Solo Exhibition      
  • May 19-20                    Aspen Cycling Festival                                                                                                           
  • June 8-10                     Outside in Aspen                                                                                                             
  • June 15-17                   Food & Wine Classic                                                                                                              
  • June 17-22                   Aspen Writers' Foundation Summer Words                                                                          
  • June 21-August 23       Anderson Ranch's Featured Artist Lecture Series                                                                 
  • June 22-July 7              Jazz Aspen Snowmass June Festival                                                                                       
  • June-August                 Theatre Aspen's Summer Season            
  • June 22-25                   Aspen Environment Forum                                                                                                    
  • June 27-July 3              Aspen Ideas Festival                                                                                                               
  • June 28-August 19       Aspen Music Festival and School              
  • July 4                           Aspen's Old-Fashioned 4th July Celebration         
  • Mid-July-Mid-Aug     New Views Documentary Film Series                                                                                    
  • July 15-August 31        Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's Summer Dance Series                                                                     
  • July 27-October 7        Aspen Art Museum Presents its Artist in Residence & Lucio Fontana Exhibition
  • July 28-29                    10th Annual Aspen Arts Festival                                                                                             
  • August 20-24               Aspen/Snowmass Women's Pro Cycling Challenge                                                              
  • Aug 22-23                    USA Pro Cycling Challenge                                                                                                    
  • August 30-Sept 3         40th Annual Motherlode Volleyball Classic                                                                            
  • August 31-Sept 2         Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day Festival                                                                              
  • October 1-7                 Aspen Filmfest                                                                                                                       

>> Read more travel stories.

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