AOL PICK from our Editors
Aspen offers the opportunity to buy goods ranging from tacky T-shirts to designer handbags. If you are a fashion conscious shopper with a gold card or trust fund, Aspen offers designer wear shops from names such as Ralph Lauren, Prada, Gucci, Burberry, Fendi and more. If Gore-Tex and polypro is more your thing, you can find the latest at Helly Hansen, the North Face and Marmot. Even if you lack the means, these stores provide inspiring window-shopping venues. For more practical needs, here are five top Aspen shopping destinations.
For outdoor equipment, summer or winter, the Ute Mountaineer seems to have it all. They offer a full array of clothing, hiking, climbing, telemarking, and snowshoeing gear for sale, and if you want to just borrow instead of buy, they offer a well stocked rental department. Let's say you want to backpack into the wilderness. Instead of dragging your fully loaded pack from home, you can just rent a tent, pack, sleeping bag, pad, stove, trekking poles and even gaiters from the Ute. It saves a lot of hassle. In October 2010, the Ute Mountaineer will be moving to a new location at 210 South Galena Street.
More Details on Ute Mountaineer
Aspen offers no shortage of places to rent ski gear, but Four-Mountain Sports offers one big advantage over its competitors—it operates at all four Aspen ski areas, and it will move gear for you from one area to another. Drop your skis at Aspen Mountain, tell them you're tackling Highlands the next day, and your skis or board will be waiting for you there the following morning. That eliminates the need to lug equipment to and from your hotel. At trip's end, you can also return rentals to any of their shops. To speed things up, we recommend you reserve your gear in advance. Should you need to buy something, their retail operation, D&E Ski and Snowboard, sells equipment and accessories at prices comparable to the town's other ski shops. Keep in mind, however, that Aspen prices are probably higher than what you would pay back home.
More Details on Four-Mountain Sports
The Little Bird
Want to pick up a little something from Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Yves St. Laurent or other high-end designers at a fraction of the sticker price? The Little Bird carries an array of women's clothing and accessories on consignment. New items go for around 60% of retail, and softly used goods can be found at even more extreme discounts. Items range from $20 blouses to $60,000 furs (yes, that is at a discount—it cost $160,000 new). While many of these treasures may have once been owned by a celebrity, don't even think about asking the clerks who brought in what. Client confidentiality is absolutely paramount here. Still, it's fun to rummage through the racks, speculating.
It seems that every decent upscale Colorado ski town has a fantastic, independently owned book store. Aspen is no exception. Explore Book Sellers occupies an old Victorian house on Main Street. Downstairs sits a coffee bar and rooms stuffed with bookshelves. Upstairs is Aspen's only "veggie-centric" lunch restaurant whose dishes predominantly feature organically grown local ingredients. Ask nicely and they may even allow you to skim a potential purchase while you're devouring a veggie burger.
More Details on Explore Booksellers
Neighborhood: Aspen Mountain
Located off Mill Street between Hotel Jerome and the Aspen Brewing Company, this spacious supermarket can be a savior to those on a budget. It has a full-service deli, bakery, natural foods counter with a juice bar and organic food section. Add to that the usual array of frozen pizzas, Pop-Tarts, chips, microwave popcorn and more. Next door is Aspen Wine & Spirits, a very well stocked liquor store with beer and wine at a fraction the price you would pay at a bar in town. It's perfect for those content to make their own party.
More Details on Clark's Market