Tucked away in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado sits the popular vacation spot of Aspen. Over the years, Aspen has gained popularity due to the numerous celebrities who choose to vacation and ski in Aspen. The origin of Aspen goes back much further than that, all the way to when it was a settlement for miners looking for silver. The name came from all of the aspen trees surrounding the area. From higher-end real estate to affordable housing divisions, Aspen has something to offer for everyone.
Calling A Tourist Town Home
Even though the main industry driving Aspen is the tourism, there are still over 6,000 people who call Aspen their home all year round. The people who are permanent residents of Aspen are dedicated to continuing the small-town charm that has been one of the main appeals of the town since the days of the mining rushes.
Temperate climate all year allows Aspen to draw in tourism in every season. In the winter, the main attractions are the snow-covered mountain tops that make home to ski resorts and luxurious chateaus. In the summer there are hiking and biking trails that allow for recreational activities along the Roaring Fork River. There are trails to accommodate the beginners as well as the advanced mountain and trail hiker.
Downtown Aspen offers numerous shops to meet your tastes. High-end boutiques and name-brand stores are popular along the strips of shops lining the streets. Stores like Gucci and Prada are popular; however, there are still stores that can entertain the budget of your average working individual. Mixed into all the higher end boutiques are plenty of second hand and consignment shops where it is possible to find a good deal or two, especially after spring cleaning.
Art has a huge influence in Aspen as well. While you are doing your shopping, you can also visit galleries that offer all different kinds of art mediums. See glass arts and sculpture along with paintings that are unique and offer the authentic Aspen experience.
Aspen has its fair share of restaurants for anyone to enjoy. Whether you are visiting for vacation or live up the road, there is a restaurant that not only meets your tastes but accommodates your wallet as well. There are several fine dining restaurants, bistros, and even sandwich shops that can give you whatever it is that you are looking for. If you want a quick dessert, visit some of the local bakery and ice cream shops to get your sweet tooth satisfied after a hearty meal.
If Aspen is where you decide that you want to call home, finding someplace to live on a more permanent basis is going to be important. Aspen has a reputation for higher costs of living, and housing only proves that. The median house value in Aspen is estimated to value $563,900, which is almost 3 times the national average of $184,700. Since housing is valued higher in Aspen, so are rentals. The average rent in Aspen can run $1247 a month, which isn’t too much higher than the national average that sits at $949.
The West End
The West End of Aspen is home to Victorian-style homes with perfectly maintained yards. This used to be a thriving family neighborhood; however, over the years, it has become the neighborhood for those neighbors who only stay in the homes a few weeks out of the year.
The West End is home to the Yellow Brick School House, which was renovated into a daycare center, the Red Brick Center for the Arts, Aspen Public Radio, Aspen Writers’ Foundation, Aspen Institute, and Aspen Music Festival and Institute. The institutes are vital to the summer economy in Aspen.
It is just a walk away from downtown, or you can take the bus.
Neighbors of the West End include longtime locals who purchased their real estate in the 1960s and 1970s.
The East End
The East End is full of new homes, local housing projects, and older style condominiums. There are excellent views of Aspen Mountain from the neighborhood, and the heart of the community is Snyder Park. There are waterfalls and a jungle gym. The park is great for kids, families, and picnics.
The East End is a bicycle ride from downtown Aspen.
Neighbors of the East End include bank executives, artists, and second-home owners.
Cemetery Lane is a remnant of “old Aspen.” It runs alongside the Aspen Golf Course and is home to the longtime residents of Aspen who didn’t sell out. The others who live here are newer residents who are all about putting down roots and making a home in Aspen. There is a mixture of newer and older homes here. The area is completely residential.
If you are looking for a good healthy walk to downtown, this is the area for you. It is also along the bus route, or you could bike there.
Neighbors of Cemetery Lane consist of longtime locals, second-home owners, and young professionals.
Centennial is a 4 block radius of Aspen that consists of numerous housing developments.
- Hunter Longhouse
- Williams Ranch
- Smuggler Trailer Park
- Lone Pine
- Hunter Creek
Locals are the ones who live here, and it is located just below Smuggler Mountain, which is a hiking and biking spot that is popularly known as Aspen’s Playground.
All the developments are located along the free bus route and within walking distance to downtown Aspen.
Neighbors of Centennial include families, senior citizens, young couples, small business owners, firefighters, teachers, and massage therapists.
Red Mountain is the home of the pricey mansions that overlook downtown Aspen from high above on Red Mountain. Red Mountain Road winds up the mountain and has several roads that lead off to gated communities. These are the homes of the wealthy in Aspen. Homes that are considered low-end on Red Mountain can sell for $7 to $8 million. The higher-end mansions can go for more than $20 million.
Neighbors of Red Mountain include Fortune 500 CEOs, professional athletes, and celebrities.
Finding a Job in Aspen, CO
If you decide that Aspen is where you want to plant your roots, finding a means of income is going to be an important step in securing your future there. The median income in Aspen households is currently sitting around $64,594 a year. There are a lot of different types of job opportunities available in Aspen, though. If you are looking to reinvent yourself, getting a new profession in a new place can be rewarding.
The current minimum wage pay rate in the state of Colorado is $11.10 per hour. Most jobs in the area start above the minimum wage rate.
Most jobs require that you be at least 18 years of age and have a valid high school diploma or equivalent. If you want to further your education and are looking to receive a degree, look into hospitality, especially if you are considering planting your roots in Aspen.
Aspen has an amazing economy that is almost self-sustaining. There is something available in every season in Aspen, and tourism is booming in sun and snow.
Green Dragon– Green Dragon is a recreational marijuana dispensary that is located on Hyman Avenue directly under New York Pizza in Aspen. They offer premium marijuana, edibles, and CBD. A cannabis sales associate starts out at $16.00 per hour. After 90 days of employment, their employees get to enjoy full benefits, holiday and overtime pay, and opportunities for quick advancement.
Spa Aspen- Spa Aspen receptionists have the opportunity of earning $160 to $200 a day. The business was established in 1989 and has been of service to over 9000 clients. Additional commission compensation is available, vacation time, free services, free products, and other benefits are negotiable. This job is a year-round position.
Vectra Bank- Vectra bank offers full-time positions at $20.00 an hour for their tellers. They also provide training and room for advancement.
Snow Queen Lodge- The Snow Queen Lodge is located in downtown Aspen. They offer jobs starting at part-time hours at $20.00 an hour, and if an employee excels, they pay up to $25.00 an hour. This is a bed and breakfast setting, so the employee would be responsible for several job roles within the lodge. This is a great way to build up skills in the hospitality profession.
The White House Tavern- The White House Tavern is an upscale restaurant in Aspen. They pay their greeters anywhere from $15.00 to $30.00 an hour depending on their experience and how well they do the job. After an introductory work period, they offer benefits to their employees. These benefits include medical and dental.
The Aspen Chamber of Commerce offers many resources when finding employment opportunities. Some of these opportunities even offer the option of housing. Make sure that you look at all the resources available, especially if you are unsure how long you plan on staying in Aspen.
The best way to find jobs in Aspen is to check with the local newspapers or on websites that specialize in job postings for Aspen. Most jobs start out well above minimum wage. There are also a lot of recreational marijuana sales associate jobs in the area, thanks to the legalization of recreational use in Colorado.
A few local resources to find jobs include:
- www.aspentimes.com – Aspen’s local newspaper
- www.aspendailynews.com – local classifieds
- www.mountainjobs.com/aspen-jobs/ – job openings in town and resort
- rockies.craigslist.org – Craigslist ads
Aspen Resort Jobs
You can apply for a job at the Aspen ski resort either directly on their website, or by attending one of the job fairs.
To apply directly, see the job positions advertised at www.aspensnowmass.com/we-are-different/employment and then click on the Employment section.
Aspen is a large resort with plenty of jobs available each season. Job advertisement for winter usually begins in July or August.
As opposed to smaller resorts, there are often jobs available all the way into November and into December. There are always plenty of hospitality jobs available, as well as jobs at some of the Aspen operated hotels such as Limelight and The Little Nell.
Aspen runs several job fairs leading into the season. These are usually company-wide job fairs, offering jobs in all departments (Hospitality, Food & Beverage and Mountain Operations are the usual ones). Aspen usually runs one fair per month in August, September, October and November at Buttermilk.
You register for the fair at www.aspensnowmass.com/we-are-different/employment under ‘job openings’, then turn up on the day and undertake interviews with your desired department.
Finding Housing in Aspen for the Winter Season
Aspen has employee housing available at ASC Housing. There are 600 places available. In winter, priority is given to full-time employees. The manager of your department is the person to talk to about securing employee housing.
The housing available includes:
- Aspen: Annex, Holiday House, & Snow Eagle
- Aspen Highlands: Heatherbed
- Buttermilk: ABC Residences
- Snowmass Village: Club Commons I & II, & Divide
The Snowmass Village apartments at Club Commons have the most space and are the liveliest of the staff acccommodations. These have mostly four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Each of these has a living room as well as a kitchen with stove, refrigerator and microwave. You’ll need to supply your own linen and kitchen utensils. The accommodation is pretty standard for a ski resort and nothing special, but is adequate.
While you may be assigned a spot near your work, there is also a good chance you won’t be. For example, you might have a job in Aspen town, but be assigned housing in Snowmass and so have to take the bus to work each day. It just comes down to luck.
Annex is the best property and is located in Aspen; Holiday House and Snow Eagle are both very basic but right in the center of town. Heatherbed is very quiet and a few miles out of town. ABC Residences are near the airport and also fairly quiet.
Minimum leases are 5 months, so you need to pay for 5 months even if you quit early.
To apply, contact the Housing Office at 970-922-9001, email the Housing Office at [email protected]. You could also visit the Aspen employment website and click on “Wait-List/Apply Now” Tab or the “contact” tab
To apply, contact the “Down-Valley” Housing Office at 970-927-0202 or email: [email protected]. You could also visit the Aspen employment website and click on “Wait-List/Apply Now” Tab or the “contact” tab.
Marolt Housing offers seasonal accommodation at a cheaper rate for people working in Aspen. These are three bedroom places and if you get in early you could find a place for $900 a month.
Rent and Best Time to Arrive
The rumors are true, Aspen is super expensive. For a one bedroom apartment, $1500 – $1800 per month is typical. For a two bedroom place, you’re looking at around $3,000 a month.
You should plan to arrive in town by early November otherwise you will only be left with the extremely expensive properties.
The cheapest hotel in Aspen is definitely the St Moritz hotel with rooms for around $75 per night. This goes down to around $50 a night if you stay for more than 30 days. This is about as cheap as it gets in Aspen.
It’s always possible to find a more affordable place to stay on Airbnb. The inventory is constantly changing, so you just have to check it out.
Aspen is not as crowded as the resort towns closer to Denver, mainly because it’s not as easy to get to. But plenty of people still visit Aspen year round. The beauty of the mountains in this area is simply too great for it to remain a secret.
The average annual snowfall in Aspen is 300 inches. If you move to Aspen, you can expect 5 – 10 genuine powder days each winter. The runs can get icy during dry periods. Powder on the popular areas gets tracked out fairly quickly.
Getting Around Aspen
If you are living in Aspen, using your car to get around might end up being a headache. There is limited parking available for vehicles and most of the population gets around via the bus lines or by walking and biking.
There are park-and-go lots that are available that allow you to park your vehicle and ride the bus through the town and anywhere you need to go. During the months when it is nice out, however, most people like to get acquainted with the town of Aspen by walking or biking around the community.
Bicycles Rule in Aspen
Just because you aren’t driving your vehicle on the streets of Aspen doesn’t mean that there are no rules that govern other modes of transportation. Because a lot of people choose to walk or ride bikes in Aspen, the government has had to come up with ways to enforce regulations to keep safety a top priority.