As everyone knows, we love skiing Aspen Snowmass. We have a lot of reasons why. The mountains are convenient to our home. The ski company offers a reasonable season pass to kids in our school district.
And the skiing (at least in our opinion) is super fantastic, ranging from some of Colorado’s steepest terrain at Aspen Highlands, to unsung powder bliss at Buttermilk, to big mountain terrain for everyone at Snowmass, to the “best square mile in skiing” at Aspen Mountain.
We think everyone should ski Aspen Snowmass. Despite the resort’s reputation as a haven for celebrities and the super-rich, it’s a refreshingly down-to-earth outdoorsy place that no one who loves alpine adventure should miss.
So today, I’m happy to introduce a new, more affordable, but still luxurious, lodging option in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Element by Westin Basalt-Aspen
For years, we’ve been recommending staying “down valley” when Aspen Snowmass lodging gets full and expensive.
For example, we’ve stayed in Carbondale (42 minutes away) and Glenwood Springs (60 minutes away) during X Games. While these two towns are relatively convenient, Basalt is the town closest to Aspen. But until recently, lodging has been limited.
That changed when Element by Westin opened in late 2015. Not only is the property beautiful, but the price is outstanding, starting at $169 per night per room.
And, Basalt is only 20 minutes to Snowmass and 30 minutes to Aspen, whether you drive your own car, or catch a RFTA bus across from the hotel entrance.
In addition to price and convenience, there are many other reasons to consider Element.
Let’s start with food. Every room has either a kitchenette (think sink, refrigerator and microwave, along with a well-stocked assortment of dishes and cooking necessities) or a full kitchen (just like it sounds, including a dishwasher).
There is a Whole Foods nearby and if you don’t feel like walking 2 minutes to get your groceries, they’ll deliver.
Breakfast, including hot and healthy options, is complimentary and served in the spacious, light-filled lobby each morning. There’s also an on-site Bonfire Coffee and a complimentary reception every Monday through Thursday evening.
Additionally, the property has a large fitness room with plenty of brand-new equipment, an outdoor pool and a lovely outdoor hot tub in the back courtyard.
In the evening, you can gather around the outdoor fire pit and make s’mores, or borrow one of several board games to play together.
Come summer, kick a soccer ball on the hotel lawn and grill on the back patio.
Best for families, however, are the room configurations.
We stayed in a one-bedroom suite and a standard king room. The one-bedroom suite was fantastic with an actual door (!) closing off the bedroom, a large kitchen area (with a “tiny-house” inspired folding dining table that stowed away when not in use) and a pullout queen size couch.
This large room connected to a standard room with a king bed, small seating area and kitchenette.
Together these two rooms perfectly suited a family of four.
Skis and poles and snowboards are not allowed in the rooms, so there is complimentary ski storage (along with boot dryers!) on-site at Basalt Bike and Ski. They also offer 24-hour tuning and waxing and gear safety checks.
Renting gear? That’s easy too. Reserve on line with Basalt Bike and Ski. Go to their main shop (just a few blocks away) for fitting and then they’ll deliver the goods to the hotel. When you check out, they’ll return everything, ensuring a schlep-free vacation.
During summer, repeat the drill to rent bikes or borrow from the Element’s fleet of cruisers and explore Basalt and nearby Rio Grande Trail.
In addition to being a great base for skiing, Basalt is a fun, charming, perfectly situated community in it’s own right. It’s worth a visit.
During winter, you’ll find cross-country ski, snowshoe and fat bike trails.
Basalt is a year-round trout-fishing destination, with a Gold Medal fishery on the Frying Pan River, and more fishing on the Roaring Fork River.
Come summer, there’s SUP, wake boarding, boating and yet more fishing at nearby Reudi Reservoir, as well as endless mountain biking and hiking.
Highway 82 unites Basalt, with shopping, bakeries, bars and restaurants in the historic old town (a few miles east on Highway 82) and newer retail and dining development surrounding the Element hotel.
A Sustainable Ethic
Element by Westin is a new division of Starwood Property Group with 22 international properties and another 34 hotels under development.
Currently, the Basalt Aspen and the Bozeman, Montana (Bridger Bowl and Big Sky are both nearby) hotels are the best options for skiing.
All Element by Westin properties are designed for energy efficiency and sustainability. They are LEED certified, and I was told that the Basalt property is actually one of, if not, the most energy-efficient building in the world.
Guests may not notice the tight construction, but they will notice water saving measures (no bathtubs, only showers; faucets for filtered water in each kitchen – eliminating plastic bottles), waste-reducing measures (large wall-mounted shampoo, soap and conditioner, no little plastic bottles) and the comfortable touches in each room, including Westin Heavenly beds.
Comfort. Convenience. Cost. And sustainability, too.
An Aspen Snowmass ski vacation just got that much better.
Thank you to Element by Westin for hosting us in early January. We will be back, many times, I’m sure. As always, all opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.
More Aspen Snowmass:
- Three Days of Family Skiing Fun at Aspen Snowmass, February 29, 2016.
- Aspen Snowmass Freebies: X Games and Beyond, January 25, 2016.
- First Track Skiing at Aspen and Snowmass, December 21, 2015.
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