Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snowmass/Aspen, Colorado in the Winter ~ Part Three

We were fortunate to spend almost a week in the Snowmass/Aspen area.  The meeting was coming to a close and it was almost time to say good-by.  But, we had scheduled one more thing to do in Aspen.
We had just enough time to squeeze in a gondola trip up Snowmass mountain, and then head into town for a driving tour telling about the "Rich and Famous of Aspen."

Look at this tiny little skier in the below photo ... How cute!

Looking at this map makes me wonder how more skiers don't get lost up there.  There must be signs directing skiers which way to go as they ski down the mountain.

You have to be on the ball when you enter the gondola ... It never stops moving, but it is going slow, so you hold on, hop in, the door closes automatically,  and then away you go.

It is very unusual to see "Christmas Trees" growing.  That is something we never see in Florida.  We see lots of pine trees, but not this kind of tree as in the below photo.

Another amazing view from the gondola.

We arrived at the top of the mountain.  And of course there was another restaurant, actually a very nice restaurant and it was completely filled with skiers.

We got off our gondola,  and right behind us getting out of the next gondola,  were these adorable little skiers.  They looked to be about five or six years old.  They looked like they were following a ski instructor.

Two more "Christmas Trees."

Lots of colorful skiers out in front of the restaurant at the top of Snowmass Mountain.

We were in a time crunch to get to downtown Aspen so we did not spend much time on top of Snowmass mountain.  Before too long we were back on the gondola headed back down.

Looking down from the gondola we spotted the below snowboarding group.

Arriving in Aspen at the bus station it was not long before our driver for the "Rich and Famous Tour" arrived at our designated meeting spot across from the bus station.  He began the tour driving to the west of town where there were lots of adorable houses.  All of the below houses range in the four million dollar value range.

I took photos of these charming homes we passed, 
but most of the time we did not know who lived there.

The city has become a popular retreat for celebrities.  John Denver, a popular singer in the 70s wrote two songs about Aspen after he moved there.  Today the musicians and movie stars have been joined by corporate executives.  As a result of this influx of wealth,  Aspen is known for the most expensive real estate in the United States.

Our guide drove a short distance out into the countryside.  In the below photo is the Ranch of Kevin Costner.  We can't see much of his 164 acre ranch, but that is his baseball field off in the distance behind the barn. He was married here on his ranch in 2004.

We are back on the west side of town driving through the streets where the charming little 4 million dollar value homes are located.  We were told Jack Nicholson lived close by as well as Robert Wagner and Jill St. John.

Other well known actors living in the area are:  Linda Carter (Wonder Woman), Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell and family, Sally Field and Charlie Sheen.

St. Mary's Catholic Church

Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have a 6,500 acre ranch in Aspen.  Our guide told us they were married at the ranch.

Most of these homes are what they call "second homes."

We were told  that at least 50 billionaires on the Forbes' most recent wealth lists own property or have strong ties to property in the Aspen area.  You would recognize some of the names on the list such as Michael Dell of Dell computers.

And, Leonard Lauder, son of cosmetic company founder Estee Lauder.  Another person you may have heard of, Ann Walton Kroenke, Wal-Mart heiress.

The Aspen Historical Society

The relatives of the cosmetic founder Mary Kay have a home in Aspen

The Methodist Church

How cute and colorful!

We have now driven over to the "Red Mountain" area which we were told by the guide, is the most exclusive section of Aspen and is called the Beverly Hills of Aspen.  Some of the homes in this area are valued between 50 and 70 million dollars and have 20,000 to 30,000 square feet.  Most of these homes are "second homes" and are sometimes rented out.  Keep in mind if you would like to rent one for the week, the cost will be approximately $15,000 for the whole week.

In the below photo is the home of Fred Smith who started Federal Express.  You can just get a glimpse of the roof-top of his home overlooking the city.    The guide told us the story about when Mr. Smith was in college ... He wrote a paper about his idea to create an overnight-delivery-business and he received a C- on his paper.  But, it looks like he followed his heart and his dream anyway.

Not too far from the home of the Fed-Ex founder is a huge ranch belonging to Leslie Wexner,  founder of Victoria Secret.  According to the tour guide, they planted trees in order to build a wall for privacy, so we were unable to see any of the property.   Curiosity sent me back to the internet and this is a beautiful photo I saw of the Wexner family Two Shoes Ranch, which is hidden behind the trees. There is a total of  4,800 acres overlooking Mount Sopris.

Photo from the Internet.

The tour guide told us that Leonardo DiCaprio does not own a home in Aspen, but he loves to visit and always rents the pretty brick home in the below photo.

Well! the meeting ended and it was time to think about getting back home again.  As they say, it is nice to get away, but it is wonderful to be going home again.  When we arrived at the Aspen airport, Mother Nature decided she was not ready for us to leave just yet.  The day started out with heavy snows not only in Aspen, but also in Denver where we would make our connection to head back East.  After a several hour delay we finally were on our way back home.

Isn't it astounding all of the amazing beauty the good Lord has given us to enjoy! ... Really incredible when you think about it,  whether it be out there in Colorado or here at home, with all the azaleas still blooming.  Or wherever you are,  I am sure it is very beautiful as well.  How blessed we all are!

That ends the Colorado trip.  Thank you for coming along with us and please do visit again.

Blessings to you wherever you may be.

Snow at the Aspen airport on the morning of departure.

Aspen has seven sister cities.

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