After my run to Snowmass Lake the prior day, on Monday 9/30 I took a "day off" and slept in late at the hotel, only leaving about 9:30 AM to drive down to Aspen and get some coffee and sweet rolls at Main Street Bakery before deciding how to spend the day. I had this vague idea of a run on Aspen Mountain in mind, but nothing more.
For once I truly relaxed for a bit, sitting in the sun at Paepke Park, downing the coffee and food. What a beautiful day. Eventually, I walked over to the ticket office at the base of the mountain, and an employee recommended Ute Trail, which he said was a favorite. After a couple of false starts trying to find the trailhead, I found Ute Street but the parking was full, so I drove back to town and parked in the garage, and walked to the trailhead. It's about a mile.
So, this trail makes the First Flatiron trail in Boulder look like a sidewalk. STUPID-STEEP. I did almost no running on the lower part of this trail.
Eventually I topped out at the rock outcropping, and had great views of the hills and of Aspen. The aspens in Aspen are pretty good.
At the rock, a local caught up to me. I had overheard him earlier talking on his phone about "the buyer", so maybe a real estate agent on a hiking break? I asked him about the trail ahead, and he said it was about an hour to the top from where we stood. I thanked him for the info and forged upwards.
Along the way, I got a great preview of the ski trails over there, mainly the Bingo Glades, which I had not skied last time. Maybe this year.
The trail eventually heads up Gentleman's Ridge, which I had skied last winter. Hyrup's, Kristi's... good times. As always it was fun seeing a ski area in the off-season. Looking at the gondola, I thought of my rides up in the winter, and the discussion of the argon-insulated vest. Hey, I'm not being critical, the Noble Gases may be where it's at when it comes to insulating layers.
I got to the top of the mountain after a liberal amount of hiking and a small amount of running. But the views from the top are great, and make it all worthwhile.
I had trouble finding the West Ridge trail, so I just headed down the service road. Not bad for a road.
I stopped at the top of S1 (a ski trail) and looked down in amazement that I had attempted to ski it. I remember sticking to the slopes by the edge of my skis, and not being able to figure out how to even make a turn. Maybe this season.
Distance was 11.23 miles, time 4:01 (moving 2:37), elevation gain/loss 3,440 feet, avg. pace 21:32 (moving 14:02), and best pace ~8:00.
And that was my day off.