Sit among the locals at Jour de Fete for a breakfast burrito and bottomless coffee (jourdefeteaspen.com; $9) then stroll through Aspen's West End to the Wheeler/Stallard Museum and learn about the area's Native American and pioneering histories (aspenhistorysociety.com; $6). Catch a bus to Woody Creek Tavern (rfta.com; $4 return), where the late Hunter S. Thompson used to hang and throw smoke bombs, for a burger and the best lime-squeezed margaritas in the valley (woodycreektavern.com; $20). Back in town, spend the afternoon window shopping at Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton (free) before trawling consignment shops for these brands at rock-bottom prices. Go to Chair 9 for "shot of the day" (thelittlenell.com; $4) then sit at the bar in American diner, Jimmy's, for wild-caught seafood off the cheaper menu (jimmysaspen.com; $20). Share a dorm at St Moritz (stmoritzlodge.com; $38).
EASY DOES IT
Fuel yourself on Poppycock's oatmeal buttermilk pancakes and a cappuccino (poppycockscafe.com; $14) then take the gondola up Aspen Mountain for a two-hour guided snowshoeing excursion with Aspen Centre for Environmental Studies (aspensnowmass.com; $63, includes foot pass). Descend to find a cosy booth in Franco-American bistro, Ajax Tavern, and order the parmesan truffle fries while deciding on the rest of lunch (ajaxtavernaspen.com; $25). Spend the afternoon touring a grand old relic of the silver boom, Hotel Jerome (aspenhistorysociety.com; $16). Calm your nerves afterwards with an Aspen Crud, at the hotel's J Bar (hoteljerome.aubergeresorts.com; $16). At Nobu's Matsuhisa, sample Japanese dishes created using Peruvian and Argentinian ingredients (matsuhisaaspen.com; $91). Sleep tight at the friendly, comfortable Hotel Lenado (hotellenado.com: $209).
Get your fill over a fancy breakfast at Hotel Jerome (hoteljerome.aubergeresorts.com; $32) before taking the gondola up Aspen Mountain on a one-day lift pass (aspensnowmass.com; $125) equipped with premiere rental ski gear from Four Mountain Sports (aspensnowmass.com; $63). If you're a newbie, arrange a half-day private ski lesson (aspensnowmass.com; $515). Or try Farm-to-Massage-Table spa treatment at St Regis and be rubbed with food as well as fed (stregisaspen.com; $536).
When you return to earth some hours later, Viceroy's private limo service will transport you to Snowmass Base Village (viceroyhotelsandresorts.com; $118 return) to wine and dine at Eight K where chef Will Nolan's Louisiana roots are an influence (viceroyhotelsandresorts.com; $130). Fall into bed in your mountainside specialty suite at Aspen's only ski-in/ski-out hotel, the Little Nell ($1248).