Little Black Book

On Mountain Time: What's New in Aspen This Winter

by California Chaney
CHICA's A pumpkin-spiced vegan eggnog cocktail at Chica, the latest mountainside restaurant in Aspen. Photo courtesy of Chica.

ASPEN, Colorado — The action-packed winter season is fully underway in the legendary ski town. Hundreds of inches of fresh powder have grazed its snowcapped peaks, and new restaurants are spicing up the already impressive dining scene, with celebrity chefs and New York hotspots making their way to the mountains. It's not just the usual crowd of champagne-spraying snow bunnies heading west: The art crowd is also keeping tabs, as Aspen is the only U.S. city to debut a massive Andy Warhol retrospective at the acclaimed Aspen Art Museum. From new hotel openings offering prime ski-in/ski-out access to truffle-dusted cocktails served mountainside, Aspen's having its biggest winter yet. Here's a look at what's new and noteworthy this season.

Photo courtesy of Catch Steak.
Interior of Felix Roasting Co. inside Hotel Jerome. Photo courtesy of Felix Roasting Co.
Photo courtesy of Select Aperitivo.

Bars and Restaurants

Catch Steak
NYC's classic Meatpacking steakhouse arrives in town with a flashy 1,000-square-foot space including a bar, dining room, wine cellar available for private dining, and a year-round heated rooftop deck with views of Aspen Mountain. The elevated interiors evoke an alpine-chic vibe: red-and-black houndstooth blankets strewn across dining chairs and reclaimed wood accents throughout. The curated steak menu — ranging from hand-selected prime, dry-aged, American Wagyu, and "Snow Beef" from Hokkaido prefecture — is balanced by vegan and vegetarian options like plant-based chicken parmesan and the restaurant's signature Catch Roll, torched tableside with crab, salmon, and miso honey.

Chica
With popular locations in Las Vegas and Miami, Venezuelan celebrity chef Lorena Garcia heats up Aspen's restaurant scene, taking over the mountainside location at the base of the Silver Queen Gondola inside Residences at The Little Nell. Open for lunch, dinner, and, most importantly, après. The lively mountainside deck offers heated banquettes, DJs, black-truffle dusted Old Fashioned cocktails, and half-off Aperol Spritzes from 2 to 4 p.m. The menu (40 percent of the dishes are unique to the Aspen outpost) includes signature Latin American dishes like ceviches, empanadas, and Peruvian octopus, along with several wow-factor dishes that are revealed to the table to a lot of ooos and aahhs, including a Flaming Skull dessert with a gold-sugared skull lit on fire to reveal a molten lava cake.

Felix Roasting Co.
As if you needed another reason to retreat from the cold to the coziest and most iconic hotel in town, Hotel Jerome. Felix, a new coffee bar designed by top interior designer Ken Fulk, has opened in the lobby library. As expected from Fulk's signature maximalist style, this isn't your typical drip-coffee-and-a-counter-pastry kind of coffee shop. Velvet banquettes, Murano glass chandeliers, pink fringed chairs, and paisley-printed walls create a warm and tropical retreat from the snow. The menu matches the playful decor, serving hickory smoked s’mores latte and flower-petal flaked avocado toast.

Snow Lodge Supper Club
The team behind Surf Lodge, Montauk's trendy and exclusive summer hotspot for live music and the who's-who crowd out east, returns again with its mountain outpost, this time as a supper club in the former Chefs Club space at The St. Regis Aspen Resort. Cocktails shaken by Dante, winner of the World's Best Bar, are served alongside a seasonal menu of rustic American fare with Wagyu burgers from nearby T Lazy 7 Ranch, truffle flatbread, and antipasto platters. The focus is on the music and après scene, with a roster of nightly DJ sets and intimate concerts by up-and-coming artists and surprise guests inside the velvet-strewn music tent and dimly lit dining room.

Select Aperitivo Slopeside Pop-Up
The Venetians are getting in on the Aspen après action this winter with pop-up Select Aperitivo bars at the W Aspen and Viceroy Snowmass. Both located directly off the slopes, you can clip out of your ski boots and clink with a spritz as the sun sets behind the mountains. Vintage ski walls set the scene for the 'gram along with daily live music and DJs. 

Kenichi Snowmass
The local's favorite sushi spot that has been a mainstay in Aspen for over three decades expands with a second location in Snowmass Base Village. Guests can expect specialty rolls, nigiri, and pan-fried entrees along with an extensive sake and wine list and illuminated wood-paneled sushi bar.

The light and airy lobby at the Limelight Hotel Aspen. Photo by Brandon Huttenlocher, courtesy of Limelight Hotels.
Bedroom at the new ski-in/ski-out Viewline Resort Snowmass.

Hotels

Limelight Hotel Aspen
Aspen's longtime local favorite hotel and community living room known for its kid-friendly après, low-frills atmosphere, and nightly live music, recently underwent a head-to-toe facelift by New York design firm Stonehill Taylor. The 126 guest rooms and suites were upgraded with gas fireplaces, kitchenettes with Smeg fridges, and modern-yet-cozy alpine decor with earth tones and soft textures of tweed and plaid. The expanded lobby lounge continues to serve daily specials on local craft beers and wine, with new artwork on display throughout curated by international gallery Eaton Fine Art. After skiing, it's a choice of a muscle-soothing soak in the outdoor hot tub, a cocktail on one of the two rooftop terraces, or a hot-out-of-the-oven pizza in the lounge. And for the little ones? A round of Pac-Man in the tricked out kids-only hangout space.

Viewline Resort Snowmass
The early morning wake-up call will be worth it for first tracks outside your door at this new ski-in/ski-out property located mid-mountain on Snowmass. The expansive hotel took over the former Westin with a multi-million-dollar renovation to the 254 guest rooms including 18 suites and two penthouses with full kitchens, a reimagined lobby lounge and bar with mountain views, expanded outdoor decks, and a ski valet to assist with rentals and keep gear warm overnight. The Ayurvedic-focused Lupine Spa will soothe skiers' sore muscles, as will the several hydrating oxygen treatments for altitude acclimation. Guests at the Viewline's retro little sister property — the 114-room Wildwood Snowmass, which was also recently renovated with its own restaurant and bar and heated outdoor pool and hot tub — will also have access to the spa, ski valet, and bike concierge in the summer.

Future Developments
The Mountain Chalet Aspen, one of the oldest and most charming lodges in town, has been sold to McGuire Moorman Hospitality (of Clark's Oyster Bar and Hotel Saint Vincent) who plan to renovate and reopen it as Aspen Mountain Chalet with two new restaurants and completely renovated interiors, while still retaining its European chalet-style charm. There's no set date, but rumors say it'll open in late 2023. Restoration Hardware has also invested millions to open a 20-room boutique hotel in the former Crystal Palace space. There's little news to report now, however the plans hint at a bathhouse, spa, restaurant, and retail store.

Photo courtesy of Miron Crosby.

Shops

Miron Crosby
Chances are if you spot some stylish cowboy boots trudging through the snow around town, they were made by the Dallas-based brand founded by two sisters who blended their upbringing on a West Texas cattle ranch with their working years in New York City. The ranch to runway styles include modern takes on the classic cowboy boot with metallic leather, floral stitching, and personalized embroidery. The 2,000-square-foot store is just as chic with plenty of hangout space to slip off your ski boots and design custom creations.

ASPENX
Aspen Skiing Company — owners of Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort and The Little Nell — recently debuted a new lifestyle brand and retail store in the Gondola Plaza with custom-designed, on-and-off mountain winter wear including ski outfits, cashmere sweaters, and designer collaborations with Prada and other high-fashion brands. ASPENX is also rolling out a series of experiential events, including a Snow Beach in partnership with photographer Gray Malin for a six-week pop-up beach club atop Aspen Mountain with striped cabanas and chaise lounge chairs to soak up the high-altitude sunshine with a bottle of bubbly nearby.

Humanity Aspen
The Los Angeles-based sustainable denim brand set its sights on Aspen as the destination for its first brick-and-mortar space, creating a modern general store selling its signature worn-in jeans along with leather puffer jackets, curated activewear, home goods, pottery, and skincare from other eco-focused brands.

Naked Cashmere
Another first for a popular LA-based brand, Naked Cashmere set up its flagship store steps from the mountain as a convenient one-stop shop for incredibly soft cashmere sweaters, beanies, scarves, and lounge sets, including an Aspen-exclusive Ski Naked line.

Works from "Andy Warhol: Lifetimes." Photos by California Chaney.

Art Happenings

Andy Warhol at Aspen Art Museum
Aspen is the only venue in the United States to showcase Andy Warhol: Lifetimes, a massive retrospective of artwork, including lesser-known pieces from the artist's career in the spotlight of American pop culture. More than 200 piece of work address his exploration and interpretation of his sexuality, fame, commentary on American capitalism, and religion. Warhol's history with Aspen runs deep, as he frequently retreated to the mountains to ski and find clarity to work and to tap into the free spirit of the then ski-bum-run town in the 1960s. The exhibit is on display until March 27th, 2022, with free admission.

Keep Exploring Aspen

Re-Losing My Virginity on the Slopes
High Class Meets High Altitude at The Little Nell in Aspen
Aspen's Off-Season is Just as Good