Posted on April 19, 2019 by Chris Klug
Spring has officially sprung and most Aspen Snowmass locals are already feeling the itch for some much-needed rest and relaxation. For full-timers — especially real estate brokers — the winter months bring the busiest days during often never-ending work weeks. As soon as the lifts stop spinning, the majority of ski town dwellers take an annual sojourn in the sun.
Whether it’s for the entire off-season (aka “mud season”) or just a long weekend escape, we asked four Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty team members to share their go-to getaways along with their favorite spots to eat, drink, stay and play to inspire any pending travel plans:
Sean de Moraes, Broker Associate
Why you love it:
We have been traveling to Moab every spring since the mid-‘90s and usually make it a long weekend. Moab is the perfect distance for a quick road trip once the snow starts to melt off and the skiing starts to get marginal. It offers a ton of outdoor activities after a long winter, such as mountain biking, hiking, jeeping, and rafting. It’s a bit of a home away from home feeling, because it is so common to run into a ton of people you know from the Roaring Fork Valley and other Colorado ski areas. You’ll be biking along a trail, having dinner at a local restaurant and you can pretty much count on seeing someone you know between the April and May months.
There are so many great places to stay. If you are looking for smaller, there are a number of hotels, but the best thing to do is grab a group of friends and head down to Rim Village condos adjacent to the "Old Spanish Trail Arena." If you’re camping and want to get away, stop by Willow Springs and do some mountain biking on the Klonzo trails north of town or rally the side by sides in the sand washes.
Nothing beats a grilled steak campside, but if you want to head into town to fight the crowds, stop by Pasta Jay’s for some Italian, Sabaku Sushi for a roll (yes, it’s good!), but don’t miss Jailhouse Café for Sunday breakfast and grab a side of their famous thick cut bacon!
Need to grab a beer to cool down after a long day on the trail? Check out Moab’s only brewery, Moab Brewery, or Eddie McStiff's, both located on Main street. Don’t wait around before you head over as it can get pretty crowded in the late afternoons/early evenings.
Everyone talks about the famous Hells Revenge for jeeping and the Slick Rock mountain biking trail, and they are a must for any first-timer. However, there are countless trails around to escape the crowds too. Some of my personal favorites for jeeping are Metal Masher, Golden Spike, and Cliff Hanger but be prepared to challenge your driving skills and be sure to always bring a friend. For mountain biking, check out the Klonzo Trail area or shuttle up to Mag 7 or Porcupine Rim and get some epic downhill riding in.
Weekdays are less crowded, drink lots of water, never go alone anywhere, respect the trails at all times and watch for the Highway Patrol guys between I-70 and town!
PUNTA MITA, MEXICO
Lucy Nichols, CNE, CRS, GRI Broker Associate
Why you love it:
We have been vacationing here for 20 years now for one or two weeks in the spring when the weather is great, and the water is more bracing. Punta Mita has grown up in the years we’ve been visiting. While it was very rustic in 1999, it now offers fine dining, luxury lodging, multiple golf courses, bike trails and such, especially “inside the gate” of the Punta Mita Resort. There is still an authentic “local” element of real Mexico and culture available to those who venture beyond the Resort as we do — a French patisserie is tucked into a back street, fresh margaritas at the Surf Shack along a dusty road to Sayulita, hiking trails to mountain tops overlooking the ocean, tiny towns with fewer than 100 residents where the freshest oysters can be had and ancient Indian petroglyphs deep in the forest. The people are welcoming and willing to entertain my lousy Spanish with a smile! The Resort and old town Punta de Mita are all accessed by golf cart, no need to ever get in your car! An important distinguishing factor is the security — it’s very safe.
The St. Regis or the Four Seasons are both gorgeous resorts. There are also many private homes and estates available to rent — perfect for extended vacation stays.
Just about anywhere on-property at either resort. If going out on the town, we love Babellas, Sufito and Mercedes.
The jalapeño margaritas at Mercedes are a must! And many resorts and restaurants offer tequila tastings.
You’ll find amazing and authentic artisan shops along the streets in old town Punta de Mita. We also like to sightsee and shop in nearby towns like Sayulita.
Like Aspen, there are more choices to adventure than time to do it all! Our days are spent paddle boarding, biking, sea kayaking and surfing followed by yoga on the beach. There are also two signature Jack Nicklaus golf courses in the area and plenty of tennis and pickleball courts. Vallarta Adventures offers an amazing zip lining experience. And be sure to book a special whale watching excursion with a local guide when in-season (December - March).
Evan F. Boenning, CRS, MRE Broker Associate
Why you love it:
For the past four years, we’ve gone to Hawaii for two weeks in the spring. I love Maui and discovered that the weather in Lahaina is better than other areas of the island. The town is lively and there’s always something exciting going on, and it also has some of the best beaches in the area.
Hyatt Residence Club's Ka'anapali Beach Resort is like a home away from home. It’s a luxury yet low-key place that’s smaller than most of the area resorts, which we like, and all of the units have views of the ocean.
We like to go to the local fish market up the street and then cook out on the grill, but there are many great restaurants in the area. Duke’s Beach House and the Hula Grill are two restaurants owned by the same group — we love them both for the casual atmosphere, great food and live music on most nights. The Monkeypod is another interesting place to eat in Whaler’s Village.
Rum! And happy hour at Duke’s Beach House with Chet Winchester is always a good time.
We play a lot of golf at The Plantation Course at Kapalua. We love walking along the boardwalk for miles with our grandchildren and taking them in the ocean and pool at the resort.
Andrew Roberts, Broker Associate
Why you love it:
I have been traveling to the beach areas of Southern California ever since I moved away from the Los Angeles area back in 1991. For the most part, it has been a trip that never gets missed, as I am typically quite ready to get my feet out of my ski boots and into the sand by the end of March. My trips to the coast usually last just over a week, which gives me the opportunity to both visit the beaches and sneak in a two day trip to central California with a stay at Ragged Point. The diversity of southern and central California, from the incredible beaches to the world-class wine country are truly inspirational. In my mind, it's a timeless way to kick off the spring by indulging in truly exquisite food and wine while taking in the incomparable beaches.
As a person of habit and for a bit of nostalgia, I usually check into the Beach House, a boutique hotel in Hermosa Beach that is literally on the beach! Only a 15-minute drive from LAX, this hotel is at the center of it all.
For upscale dining, I cannot recommend enough FWD, short for “Fishing with Dynamite,” where Chef David LeFevre delivers anincredible, locally sourced cuisine experience that is both sophisticated and timeless. My personal favorite, however, is El Tarasco, an enduring and discreet locals spot that serves up some of the tastiest Mexican food you have ever experienced, on the cheap! The extra top secret part about El Tarasco is the garden area just up the stairs from the street where you can enjoy views of the Pacific Ocean while enjoying your life changing food. For breakfast, and only steps from the Beach House hotel, Good Stuff never disappoints and is a great spot to take in the views and crush some well-earned pancakes after an early morning surf. Moving up the coast, the Ragged Point Inn and Resort is undeniably one of the most captivating spots on this planet. The resort boasts infinite views of the rugged central coast that are sure to captivate your soul! Along the way, stop off at Taco Temple in Morro Bay for the absolute freshest seafood tacos imaginable.
Stop off at Laetitia Vineyard, 2 minutes off of the route to Ragged Point, just off the 101 highway and taste a few great glasses of California wine.
I would highly recommend taking in a show at the local Comedy and Magic Club, a local institution that attracts an incredible amount of talent. On our last visit, Jerry Seinfeld dropped in for a set! What an experience! If you are a history buff, or want to experience one of the most refined and sophisticated mansions ever created, save a few hours for a visit to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Now a National Historic Landmark, it was conceived and built by William Randolph Hearst, the publishing tycoon, and his architect Julia Morgan.
Blog Credit to Katie Shapiro, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's Elevated Living Blog
Posted on April 5, 2019 by Chris Klug
Get ready for an epic couple of weeks ahead here in beautiful Aspen! It really feels like springtime today! Tonight, head to the base of Buttermilk for the first ever Après Music Festival! This three-day festival starts with a performance by Umphrey’s McGee tonight, followed by back to back performances by The String Cheese Incident on Saturday and Sunday.The Après Music Festival marks the start of a series of fantastic closing day parties on all four of our local resort mountains. Before the concert on Sunday, participate in Buttermilk’s closing day party, or as locals like to call it, Bacon appreciation day. Starting at 9 am head to Buttermilk for all things bacon, including bacon and waffles from the Cliffhouse Restaurant, bacon doughnuts from ColoraDough, and various bacon samplers scattered around the mountain from 11 am until it’s all gone. From 1 - 5 pm there will be live music, kids games, face painting, and a bacon and beer happy hour at Bumps Restaurant from 2-4!
Personally, my favorite closing day experience is found on Highlands starting on April 14th. I like to start by picking out the most ridiculous costume I can get my hands on. Last year I wore one of those inflatable T-Rex suits, and while dressing up isn’t required, I strongly recommend it. Start your day by hiking the bowl for a free ski patrol BBQ at the top. From there head on down to Cloud Nine for a drink and to watch, or even participate in, a champagne war! Finally, join the rest of the closing day partiers for a beer and a slice of Pizza at the Ale House, the natural conduit for all skiers and borders coming off the mountain. This is great place to mingle with other locals or out of towners to say goodbye until next year.
The next weekend after Highlands Closing Party we also have Snowmass Mountain’s Surf and Snow Beach Party to celebrate the closing of Snowmass Mountain on the 20th, followed by the 80’s Prom Party on Aspen Mountain for their closing on April 21st. What a month to be in Aspen! Happy Friday! Have fun at The Apres at Buttermilk this weekend!
Posted on April 3, 2019 by Chris Klug
As I am sure you’ve noticed, the off-season switch has flipped! Most restaurants are empty or closing until summer, the mountains are scarce with people, and Aspen’s parking department has lowered the price per hour for parking around town.
If you’re a local, or even planning a trip to Aspen during the spring, there are many activities to keep you busy during our mud season. Start by taking some runs on one of our four mountains, and have every run practically to yourself. Now is a great time to get some cross-country skiing or hiking in with the beautiful weather we have been having. As the snow melts, Aspen and Snowmass’ world class mountain biking trails will be opening up, so be sure to get your bikes ready for a great summer of riding ahead.
If you don’t come to Aspen during the spring for the outdoor activities, then come for the retail opportunities, short waits at restaurants, spring concerts, and better deals on lodging. It’s a local’s market during the off season, so enjoy decreased prices at almost every hotel, store and restaurant! Enjoy live musical performances, starting with the Après Music Festival, a three-day musical event starting with Umphrey’s McGee followed by back to back nights of The String Cheese Incident! The Festival Starts on April 5th, and goes all weekend at the base of Buttermilk Mountain.
As always there are also killer performances at Belly Up going on all month, as well as historic ski tours, Aspen Art Museum tours, and Friday morning uphill breakfasts on buttermilk. One of my favorite artists, Xavier Rudd is playing on April 11. I hope to see you there! Have a great week in aspen! Happy springtime!
Posted on March 25, 2019 by Chris Klug
It is a beautiful Monday here in Aspen. According to local weather forecasts, it should remain sunny until at least Friday. Finally, we are getting a good dose of the sunshine I’ve promised in my last couple blog posts. Start this week off right by checking out Big Gigantic on Tuesday night. This Boulder based duo is comprised of saxophonist/producer Dominic Lalli and drummer Jeremy Salken. Over the last couple years Big Gigantic has accumulated a massive following, and is considered one of the most entertaining shows in the music business. Also on Tuesday night, catch a performance by Wynonna and the Big Noise. Wynonna has over 60 various musical awards, and was once referred to by Rolling Stone Magazineas “the greatest female country singer since Patsy Cline.” Depending on your musical tastes, this could be a really tough choice. However, I’m sure neither performance will disappoint! On Wednesday, catch the Fly Fishing Film Tour’s 13thlap around the globe! The Film Tour is filled with great shorts and stories that will get you in the mood to head up the Frying Pan in pursuit of a trophy trout of your own, catch and release of course. It all leads up to the famous Grand Traverse, a night time backcountry ski race starting at Midnight in Crested Butte traversing Star Pass and Taylor Pass and ending at the bottom of Ajax in Gondola Plaza. Certainly not for the faint of heart, this 38-mile backcountry ski mountaineering race actually follows an old mail route, and includes a climb of over 7,800 vertical feet in elevation! Enjoy this week of fun events and warm weather, and end it by cheering Grand Traverse competitors across the finish line in downtown Aspen! Have a great week. Happy springtime from Aspen Snowmass!
Posted on March 22, 2019 by Chris Klug
With the spring equinox two days behind us, its remarkable how many tourists have stopped me on the street to ask why it’s still snowing. If you’re a local, then this awkward in-between time that marks the start of our off season is nothing new. Standing on the outside looking in, most assume this is a bad time to be in Aspen - right after the height of our main ski season and before the start of all the summer activities. Personally, and I’m sure I’m not alone on this one, I consider this the best time to be in Aspen. It gives us all time to recharge from a long winter in preparation for a summer that always goes by too fast. There are some killer events going on in town this weekend, starting with the KickAspen Big Air event. Tonight 20 skiers and 20 snowboarders will throw down their best tricks at the base of Aspen Mountain, with the winner going home with $1,500! The event starts at 8 pm, so make sure you bundle up! After the big air event, rush over to Belly Up for a performance by instrumental electronic rock band STS9, known for pushing the boundaries and using both acoustic and electronic methods to convey their unique sound. If you don’t manage to get a ticket for tonight’s show don’t worry, the funky group will be performing every night this weekend! Also tonight, the sixth instalment of the International Ocean Film Tour at the Wheeler Opera House, showcasing the best ocean adventures and environmental documentaries from around the globe. Tomorrow night catch Aspen Laugh Festival’s event with Marc Maron, a comedian known for his raw, honest, and thought-provoking humor. As always, there will also be Aspen Historical Society lead ski tours on aspen mountain and guided tours at the Aspen Art Museum. It is forecast to snow all weekend! Stay warm and have fun in the moutnains! Happy Friday!
Posted on March 15, 2019 by Chris Klug
Even though it may not look like it, spring is here. It feels like today is the first day of springtime! In the days ahead we will have more back-to-back sunny days than we have had all winter, allowing some of the feet of snow we’ve received the past weeks to start the melting process. While the skiing and snowboarding has been fantastic, I am excited for some Colorado blue bird sunny days ahead. I have a feeling this spring will be similar to that of 2016, when the snow stuck around so long that Aspen Mountain was reopened in June. Aspen Skiing Company announced today that Aspen Highlands will remain open for two bonus weekends April 19-21 and April 26-28. All this snow means a huge spring runoff and hopefully decreased wildfire danger this summer. The fly fishing and boating are going to be great this summer. Get ready for better rafting conditions, cooler mornings, and sitting around campfires again this spring and summer. For most people in Aspen, spring is our secret season. Off season will set in once the lifts close in late April. Springtime and off-season provides front row parking and dining at restaurants that have been crowded all winter, and skiing bluebird days in one layer. With Easter Weekend late this year the lift access spring skiing season is extended until April 21 and possibly beyond with the huge winter we’ve had. Aspen Snowmass received over eight feet of new snow in March alone. The down valley mountain biking trails will dry out again soon and be ready for some fun riding. Get ready for lower hotel rates, closing day parties, and spring skiing and boarding. The calm before the preverbal summer storm of activity is approaching. Enjoy it!
Posted on March 8, 2019 by Chris Klug
Want a better idea of how Aspen's real estate market is stacking up against other Resort towns? Be sure to check out Aspen Snowmass Sotheby's International Realty's 2019 Resort Report for more information.
Posted on March 4, 2019 by Chris Klug
Posted on March 1, 2019 by Chris Klug
The snow is coming down hard in Aspen Snowmass today! I am excited to share a few of my March top picks for best real estate deals in Aspen and Snowmass. 71 Pitkin Way is a great lot opportunity on lower Red Mountain, sold with CCY plans to build and 8,600 square foot home. Permits ready to pick up and break ground, saving a buyer about two years of designing, planning and approvals. 50 Pine Lane, listed by Coldwell Banker Mason Morse, is a fantastic ski property at the top of Wood Run. 174 Twining Flats is also one of my favorite riverfront properties. This 2.6 acre lot to include the plans from KA DesignWorks for for a 4-bedroom, 4.5-bath, 4,245 sq. ft. residence with a 923 sq. ft. 3-car garage and detached barn. For a few ski-in/ski-out condo opportunities, check out 130 Wood Road Unit 341, Unit 716 and Unit 506.
Please call or email anytime if I can be of help. I study the market every day. I'm here full-time, ready to help you. It's going to be a great spring season ahead with more powder days to come! Have a fun weekend. I hope to see you out racing the Power of Four!
Posted on February 27, 2019 by Chris Klug
February is coming to a close and spring is right around the corner, even though it definitely doesn’t yet feel like it. This week there is an awesome lineup of musical performances around town. At the Belly up, catch performances by awarding winning DJ DEADMAU5 (Joel Zimmerman), who will be preforming Thursday night, and Matoma, who will be preforming tonight. A winter performance by pianist Marc-Andre Hemelin will take place at the music tent on Thursday night. Don’t miss Ola Onabule on Friday and Saturday night at the JAS Café at The Little Nell. As always, there will also be historic pub crawls, ski tours, and Hotel Jerome tours. More snow is expected this weekend in Aspen Snowmass, which should make for an interesting Power of Four SkiMo Race on Saturday morning. Cheer on the competitors as they skin and descend 24 miles over 10,000 vertical feet from Snowmass Village to the Base of Aspen Mountain. Recreational and cultural opportunities abound this weekend in Aspen Snowmass. Enjoy the final days of February!
Photo Credit: Aspen Skiing Company