Christmas Backpacking Adventures in the Snowy Hills: Aspen, USA

Aspen is the kind of place that intrepid travellers aspire to visit by any means necessary. Whether you’re a huge fan of skiing or snowboarding, a person who simply wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of cities, or simply an individual looking to recreate the epic journey of Lloyd and Harry from Dumb and Dumber, Aspen could be the perfect place for you to start or finish a holiday as a backpacker in 2012.

The Colorado-based city is described by its Teletext Holidays guide as the company’s “favourite American resort”, though it goes on to claim that “it has everything we look for – except, obviously, convenience”. For this reason, it serves as the perfect place for people to make their own way to. While it is still an option to transfer to Denver on a flight from one of the main airports of the US, the chance to backpack from somewhere like Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago or New Orleans could be one of the most life-affirming experiences you may ever have.

While the chance to join in on festivities has passed for 2011, the Christmas period for Aspen is one of the busiest and most exciting periods. There are a bunch of free holiday activities that will undoubtedly keep visitors happy in the “12 Days of Aspen”, an event held in a large number of venues across the city for skiers and snowboarders alike.

After making your own way to Aspen, you will find it to be the best place to relax and unwind. Due to its 6,000 or so residents, the town-like atmosphere of the area gives peace and tranquillity – something even reflected on its world-class slopes. These boast perfect snow conditions for sportsmen and women of all abilities, while partnering resorts at Snowmass and the Aspen Highlands spoil you for choice if you want to go slightly further afield.

While Aspen boasts the most expensive property prices in the US, it still remains to be an attractive old-style mining town that drew investment from the silver boom in the late 1800s. For this reason, it is packed with restaurants, bars and shops – both general and specialist – that can cater to the needs of anyone who wants to spend their final few dollars after a long backpacking trip across the States.

5 Things Not to Miss in Aspen:

  • The Aspen Art Museum is free every day.
  • Ambassador Program – Ambassadors offer free mountain tours daily at 10.30am.
  • Free sing-a-long and Kids crafts occur weekly by the campfire at Snowmass base.
  • Hallam Lake – walk the half mile nature trail loop.
  • The Red Brick centre for the arts – rotating exhibitions, watch the artists at work and browse the shop.

Of course, it may be perfect for Aspen to be a penultimate stop-off. Given its isolation from the rest of Colorado, it may be worth finishing your adventure in Grand Junction, Denver or Colorado Springs. Just ensure you plan well – Aspen’s not the easiest place to get to!