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Get to Know Aspen

ASPEN 101

Located in the Rocky Mountains, Aspen was first discovered by the Ute Indians and called “Shining Mountains.” In the summer of 1879 the first silver miners arrived in the Roaring Fork Valley to “Ute City,” Aspen’s former name until 1880 when the settlement was renamed. It had 300 residents back then.

The “Silver Boom Days” lasted from 1879 until 1893 when Aspen produced 1/16th of the world’s silver and had reached a population of 12,000 people. The boom town had six newspapers (the Aspen Times being one of them), two railroads, four schools, three banks, its own water system, electric lights, a hospital, two hotels (the Hotel Jerome among them), two theaters, an opera house, and a very small brothel district.

In 1893 the silver price dropped drastically, and Aspen declined as a mining town causing it to go into what were called “The Quiet Years.” Most of the population left, leaving just a few hundred citizens who turned from mining to ranching and agriculture for living. This period lasted a little over 40 years.

In 1936, some investors came to town with the idea to create a ski resort, but then came the World War II, again affecting the economy. In 1942, the American 10th Mountain Division came to Aspen and used the area for training exercises. Many of its veterans returned after the war ended and helped develop the skiing in Aspen.

One of these veterans was Friedl Pfeifer. He met industrialist Walter Paepcke and his wife Elizabeth. Together, in 1946, the three of them established Aspen’s first ski lift. This was the birth of Aspen Skiing Company and the start of Aspen’s reputation as one of the best ski resorts in the world.

Find out more at the Aspen Historical Society

 

GROCERY AND RETAIL STORES

For grocery shopping in Aspen, there is the City Market and the Clark’s Market which has also a store in Snowmass Village.

If you need to get things like clothes, bedding, furniture, dinnerware, etc. – WalmartTargetRoss, and Marshalls in Glenwood Springs might be your most affordable options.

However, if you like and/or prefer second hand items, the Aspen Thrift Shop in Aspen is a great resource for items like plates, cups, silverware, and clothes.

 

THE BUS SYSTEM

RFTA (Pronounced rafta) is the Roaring Fork Transit Agency that runs our local bus system. The buses can get you almost anywhere in the Roaring Fork Valley, safe and comfortably. They are equipped with heat and air conditioning.

Buses run every 15 to 30 minutes depending where you are going. Between the Aspen area and Snowmass Village you can ride a bus for free. However, if you are traveling farther, you will have to pay a small fee. For those employees who live down valley between Aspen Village and Rifle, Aspen Skiing Company offers discounted RFTA bus passes to get you to and from work. Head to the Employee Perks page for information or ask your supervisor where you can get the bus passes to take advantage of this benefit.

In Snowmass Village there is also the Village Shuttle that you can ride for free within the Town of Snowmass.

During the winter many people prefer to take the bus instead of driving because the road conditions can be very icy and dangerous. If you don’t know the area, we suggest that you avoid driving for your own safety.

You can view the bus schedules and stops prior to your arrival on the RFTA website at www.rfta.com / www.snowmasstransit.com

 

PHARMACIES 

There is a City Market Pharmacy and a Carl’s Pharmacy in Aspen. Carl’s Pharmacy sells medicines as well as a wide variety of objects, from small souvenirs to office supplies and other goodies, so if you need something but do not know where to get it, it is very probable that Carl’s might have it.

 

HOSPITAL AND PHYSICIANS

We really hope that you will be healthy and strong while you stay here, but, if you need to go to the emergency room you can go to the Aspen Valley Hospital, located approximately 10 minutes out of Aspen, in the Marolt Ranch area (Bus Number 3: Castle/Maroon). If you don’t need immediate attention, there are doctor’s offices in town that you can call to get an appointment.

Check with your health insurance provider to get information about which physicians are part of their network and therefore, more affordable to visit.

Aspen Valley Hospital

970-925-1120
401 Castle Creek Road
Aspen, CO 81611

Snowmass Clinic

970-544-1518
105 Daly Lane, Snowmass Village (On Fanny Hill at the end of the Snowmass Village Mall)
Snowmass, CO 81615

 

ACTIVITIES AROUND TOWN

MOVIES:
There are two main movie theaters in the valley: the Isis Theater in Aspen, and the Movieland 7 in El Jebel, off of Hwy 82.

ART PERFORMANCES:

The Wheeler Opera House offers a wide variety of events including operas, concerts, ballet, film festivals, etc.

NATURE HIKES:
ACES free snowshoe tours is a great way to see places that are difficult to reach on your skis or snowboard. If you like to hike, snowshoeing is also a great way to explore the mountain during winter.

RECREATION CENTERS:
If you are looking for a place to renew your body and spirit, the Aspen Recreation Center and the Snowmass Recreation Center are great places to work out and relax. They have swimming pools, hot tubs, weight rooms, and fi tness classes.

CONCERTS:
Belly Up is one of the live music venues here in Aspen. They have concerts almost every day and some of them are free! Throughout ski season, there are plenty of free outdoor concerts and events that you can attend.

ART MUSEUM:
The Aspen Art Museum was relocated to its brand new building in 2014. It presents international contemporary art and hosts other events as well.

BOOKS:
If you like reading, the Pitkin County Library is your place to go. It has hundreds of books, from classical novels to the latest magazines, including scientific encyclopedias, etc. It also has a good variety of movies in different languages, and it offers free internet access to the community. Sign up for free as soon as you get here!

LEARN MORE:

The Aspen Chamber (ACRA) offers lots of additional information on Aspen.