“Outside in Aspen” perfects a summer adventure weekend

Aspen’s summer may lack snow, but adventure enthusiasts flock to this celebration of the outdoors. Photo: Jill K. Robinson

ASPEN, Colorado, June 13, 2012 — If you’re an outdoors-minded person, it’s hard not to like Aspen. Even in the off-season, when skiing and boarding options on the four mountains are only memories, summer brings a wealth of outdoor adventures to the mountain town.

To kick off the season, Outside Magazine held its annual Outside in Aspen festival last weekend, luring more than 1,000 people to events from a triathlon to a guided hike. Interested families checked out local reptiles and birds of prey, courtesy of Aspen Center for Environmental Studies. At least 250 adventurers signed up for a variety of outdoor activities with superstar athletes.

From Mountain Peaks to Roaring Rivers

SUP adventure on the Roaring Fork River. (Photo: Jill K. Robinson)

SUP adventure on the Roaring Fork River. (Photo: Jill K. Robinson)

The warm, early summer weather made it the perfect weekend to be outdoors, trying a new sport, or honing skills on a tried-and true one. Activities ranged from kayaking to road biking to rock climbing to hiking and fly fishing.

I climbed 14,256-foot Castle Peak, with guides Chris Davenport and Ron Rash, and three other brave people who shunned sleeping in for a 5:30 a.m. meeting at Outside Base Camp and a seven-hour adventure. We climbed through loose rocks and snowfields to arrive at the summit with wind gusts nearing 40 miles per hour, but everyone did it with a smile.

The next day, I picked up an inflatable stand-up paddleboard (SUP) for a trip down the Roaring Fork River with Charlie MacArthur and a group of women, some who had never tried paddling before. After some initial timidity, everyone finally found her balance. At the end of the day, it was hard to get us all out of the river.

Adventure Saves the World symposium at 2012 Outside in Aspen (Photo: Jill K. Robinson)

Adventure Saves the World symposium at 2012 Outside in Aspen (Photo: Jill K. Robinson)

More than $4,000 was raised to support the official non-profit of the weekend event, Colorado-based First Descents. The organization provides outdoor adventures to young adult cancer fighters and survivors.

Where to Stay

There are a variety of hotels in the Aspen/Snowmass area from high-end luxury to lower-budget simplicity. Some favorites:

Limelight Hotel Centrally focused in the heart of Aspen, the Limelight is within walking distance of nearly everywhere you’ll want to go. But with the comfortable rooms and tasty breakfast and happy hour offerings, you may just want to stick around the hotel a little longer before you explore.

Viceroy Snowmass This luxury year-round resort is right in Base Village at Snowmass, just seven miles from downtown Aspen. Enjoy the summer weather on the pool terrace or treat yourself to some quality time in the 7,000 square-foot spa.

Hotel Jerome For a little bit of history mixed in with luxury and great service, check in to this hotel in Aspen. Don’t miss a stop at the J-Bar, where you can order a refreshing (yet strange-sounding) Aspen Crud. When it’s time to go out, the complimentary shuttle service is one of the best ways to get around town.

Sky Hotel If you’re looking for a hip hotel right at the base of Aspen Mountain, this is the spot. The hotel’s 39 Degrees Lounge is one of the handful of hotspots in town. It’s not always rocking 24 hours a day; there’s also plenty of room to relax and chill out.

Jill K. Robinson is an award-winning journalist and adventure seeker. Follow her adventures on dangerjillrobinson.com and Twitter @dangerjr. Jill is an avid kayaker and owner of Half Moon Bay Kayak Company.


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Jill K. Robinson

An award-winning journalist and adventure seeker, Jill K. Robinson has been a columnist with The Washington Times, Communities section since 2011.

Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, American Way, Every Day With Rachael Ray, Robb Report, Westways, Journey, Let's Go with Ryanair, World Hum, Gadling, Lonely Planet and more. She lives in a small California beach town near the big wave surf spot, Mavericks, and divides her time between writing about travel, running a kayak business and trying to wring awe-inspiring adventure out of every day.

Always eager to take a leap into the unknown and experience new things, Jill shares adventure sport and travel highlights—even when the adventure isn’t adrenaline pumping or bone crushing. Adventure is sometimes only a state of mind.

Find Jill on dangerjillrobinson.com and Twitter @dangerjr 

Contact Jill K. Robinson

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