From above, the mountains look like Tiramisu. The trees, dressed in their brown winter colours, look like dustings of cocoa powder and the snow heaps like mascarpone and whipped cream. Unable to help myself, I start humming “A Marshmallow World.” On the descent in to Aspen, the details come into view. Each component of the sierra becomes more distinct until suddenly they give way to a quintessential winter scene.
Nowhere does winter like Aspen. There is a wreath on every lamppost and each shop window is decked out in garlands with accents of silver, gold, and red.
Snowbirds flock to Aspen Mountain (once known as Ajax) for the incomparable powder. From the gondola you can see the skiers and snowboarders cut through the snow; it falls perfectly back into place behind them.
For aprés ski, follow the impeccably dressed fur-clad people on the street and they will lead you to the St. Regis and the snow polo at the heart of the winterscape. The romance of polo is only heightened when played on the snow (as are the stakes). The sport attracts spectators both deliberately (counting Rebel Wilson among its fans) and accidentally, as people coming off the mountain are drawn in by the spectacle. The sun’s reflection on the snow creates blinding conditions and the slick snow-packed field requires expert precision and control over the horses. The speed at which the riders play the game is fearsome and exhilarating to watch.
Back at the hotel after the St. Regis World Snow Polo Championship this past December, the dimly lit Mountain Social with the dulcet tones of an acoustic guitar provided the perfect ambience post match.
Snow sports aside, a big draw for winter in Aspen is the people watching. The luxury mountain town is living proof that winter fashion being inevitably ugly is a myth. High fashion snow suits, fur hats and coats, stoles and muffs—the main drag of town is the ultimate winter catwalk. So much so that the St. Regis established their own cashmere line with a store in the lobby of the hotel. They’ll hand you a glass of champagne when you walk in and you’ll feel like an impeccable snow stylist right away.
The St. Regis is a hotel of rituals—champagne sabring, midnight suppers, bloody marys—and each property offers its own unique interpretation. Snow polo originated in Switzerland but Aspen is the only city in the United States where the sport is played. The two have such legacies that when they combine in a town that can only be described as “charming,” it truly makes for a winter match made in heaven.
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