Learning Vacations

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A lifelong love of learning is ingrained in the Aspen Idea of enriching your mind, body & spirit. Here are some programs that take the guess work out of adding a learning experience to your vacation.

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES)

This hike has it all: join a Naturalist guide to explore the historic silver mining ghost town of Ashcroft and wander up along Castle Creek encountering spectacular wildflower meadows and mountain vistas. This must-do Aspen activity includes a gourmet lunch at the Pine Creek Cookhouse.
Tours made possible through a partnership between ACES, Ashcroft Ski Touring/Pine Creek Cookhouse, and the White River National Forest (USFS).
* (May – September, dependent on Cookhouse opening and closing dates)*


The evening version of our Green World Day Hike, this Naturalist guided adventure will explore the majesty of the Castle Creek valley at sunset. Experience the bustling activity of early evening followed by dinner at Pine Creek Cookhouse while the alpenglow lights up the valley. A must-do Aspen activity! 

* (May – September, dependent on Cookhouse opening and closing dates)*


Explore and learn about the Aspen area with ACES! Hire a Naturalist guide, available by the hour, to lead you on private adventures that may be customized to your interests such as birding, geology, wildflower hikes, and more. 


Join Rock Bottom Ranch staff to explore the Ranch, animal paddocks, hoop houses, and gardens while learning the science behind our vegetable production and livestock rotational grazing system. Tours are appropriate for all ages and provide opportunities to interact with our livestock and learn where your food comes from! Rain or shine! (4/30/2018 - 10/12/2018)


*photo courtesy of ACES

Aspen Music Festival & School

Event: Opera Scenes Master Class
Date: Saturday, June 30, July 7, 14, 21, 28, August 4, 11, 18, 2018
Time: 10 am
Details: The Aspen Opera Center artist-faculty, representing top teachers and performers from the world's best opera companies and conservatories, teach the promising young singers of the AOC in beloved opera scenes. See the rising stars of the opera world—and enjoy AOC director Ed Berkeley's brilliant and witty coaching.
Location: Wheeler Opera House
Price: $40
Information: www.aspenmusicfestival.com or 970-925-9042
Event: Prelude: Preconcert Talk
Date: Sunday, July 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, August 5, 12, 19, 2018
Time: 3 pm
Details: Prelude: Preconcert Talks present listeners with engaging and topical commentary on the Aspen Music Festival and School’s Sunday afternoon orchestra programs. Lectures are presented by the AMFS’s artistic team and special guests.
Location: Harris Concert Hall 
Price: Free
Information: www.aspenmusicfestival.com or 970-925-9042
Event: Guided Tour of Bucksbaum Campus
Date: Monday, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, August 6, 13, 2018
Time: 10:15 am
Details: Take a guided tour of the spectacular redeveloped Bucksbaum Campus! This new $80-million complex, designed by Harry Teague and blended harmoniously into the 38-acre forested site, comprises state-of-the-art, acoustically designed rehearsal halls, studio teaching spaces, practice rooms, a cafeteria, administrative offices, and more. Tours are free, take one hour, and are an enjoyable way to learn about the Festival and School as well as the colorful history of this historic site. Parking is limited; please take the free RFTA bus to Campus. For bus schedule information, call 970-925-8484.
Location: Bucksbaum Campus, 225 Music School Road
Price: Free
Information: www.aspenmusicfestival.com or 970-925-9042
Event: Guided Backstage Tour of Benedict Music Tent and Harris Concert Hall
Date: Monday, July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, August 6, 13, 2018
Time: 12 pm
Details: Get an inside look at two of the world's finest concert facilities. A guide walks you through the performance, audience, and backstage areas, stopping to share anecdotes and explain the history as well as the architectural and acoustic details of these two incredible venues. Don't miss the underground tunnel between the two buildings!
Location: Benedict Music Tent Plaza
Price: Free
Information: www.aspenmusicfestival.com or 970-925-9042
Event: Listener’s Master Class 
Date: Friday, July 6, 13, 20, 27, August 3, 10, 2018
Time: 12:30 pm
Details: Knowledgeable speakers give listening tips and insight in to upcoming repertoire to enhance audience members' enjoyment of the programs of the season. 
Location: Crossroads Church
Price: Free
Information: www.aspenmusicfestival.com or 970-925-9042
Event: Center for Advanced Quartet Studies Master Class
Date: Friday, June 29, July 6, 13, 27  August 3, 2018
Time: 10 am
Details: AMFS artist-faculty, representing the best teachers and players from the world's top orchestras, opera companies, and conservatories, as well as acclaimed performers, teach exceptional students the nuances of great music-making. See it all up-close at these intensive workshops.
Location: Hurst Hall, Bucksbaum Campus
Price: Free
Information: www.aspenmusicfestival.com or 970-925-9042

Aspen Music Festival & School Offers an extensive Master Class selection in addition to those classes listed here. Please visit www.aspenmusicfestival.com for more information.



Aspen Words - For Readers & Writers

Writing & Literary Festival
Event Name: Aspen Summer Words Writing Conference & Literary Festival
Date: June 17-22, 2018
Event Details:
Recognized as one of the nation’s top literary gatherings, Summer Words is a six-day celebration of words, stories and ideas held annually in Aspen. Summer Words features writing workshops in fiction, memoir, narrative nonfiction, poetry and book editing, along with a readers retreat. This year’s faculty: Tina Chang, Peter Ho Davies, Bruce Handy, Heather Harpham, Beth Nguyen, Tom Perrotta, Helen Schulman, J. Courtney Sullivan, Aran Shetterly, Margot Lee Shetterly. The festival includes public panel discussions for writers and readers alike.
Price: $25 – (individual public events), series passes available. Tickets on sale mid-May at aspenshowtix.com
Contact information: [email protected]; 970-925-3122; www.aspenwords.org 


Writers Speaker Series
Event Name: Writers in Residence Speaker Series
Dates: May- October, 2018
Time: 5:30- 6:30 p.m.
Location: Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar, 301 E Hopkins Ave, Aspen, CO 81611
Event Details:
The Aspen Words Writers in Residence program offers writers an opportunity to spend one month in Woody Creek, CO, to nourish their craft and focus on current writing projects. Each resident author will read and discuss his or her work at free community events held May through October at Hooch Craft Cocktail Bar in Aspen and other locations to be announced.
Price: Free
Contact information: [email protected]; 970-925-3122; www.aspenwords.org


JAS Aspen Snowmass

"Listen Up!"
Pre-concert talks with Jas Café artists dedicated to the history of the performing artist and the origin of the music they will perform. All talks start at 5:30pm prior to the 7pm show on the date listed and are included with tickets to that show. 

June 24, 2018- 9:30 am- 11am: The summer Listen Up! series kicks-off at JAS June Experience Donor Tent with a morning brunch and talk featuring Raul Midón. Tickets and info at jazzaspensnowmass.org 

June 27, 2018 - Christian Sands, Cooking School of Aspen
August 10, 2018 - Nicki ParrottAspen Art Museum 
August 18, 2018 - Christian McBride, Benny Green & Russell Malone, Aspen Art Museum 
August 19, 2018 - Students from the JAS Academy, Aspen Art Museum 

Free for Ticket Buyers, the sessions will allow attendees to hear the artists speak about their music and insight into where it fits in the jazz pantheon. For tickets and more information: jazzaspensnowmass.org or 970-920-4996.


JAS Café

A series of the 9:15pm shows, aimed at a younger audience, will feature a dance area, reinforcing the early history of jazz, when the emergence of radio in the 20's coincided with an explosion of jazz, establishing itself as a widely loved popular "dance music." 



Ski School

Women's Edge Skiing & Snowboarding Group Lessons
A program uniquely designed for intermediate to expert women, providing an amazing laughter filled four days of skiing and riding with friends.


Bumps for Boomers
A ski lesson program designed to quickly teach intermediate-level Baby Boomer and senior skiers how to ski moguls & powder.


The Magic of Skiing with Thomas Crum
Aspen Ski Company's longest-running special program. Magic of Skiing views the art of skiing & snowboarding as an adventure in self-awareness and an opportunity to unify mind and body and achieve inner peace.


Beginner's Magic Adult Group Lessons
First-timers and beginners age 18 and older, includes lesson, rental equipment and beginner area lift ticket.


All ski school learning opportunities.


4th of July Parade Waiver



PARADE STARTING/STAGING: The parade will begin at 11:00am. Parade positioning is “first come, first serve” and line up begins no earlier than 10:00am. There is no entry fee and the parade is open to the public. All 5 lanes of Main Street, from Aspen Street to 2nd Street, will be closed to all traffic & designated for parade staging only. Power is not provided in staging area and remember generators do need gas.

PARADE ROUTE: The parade will start East on Main Street. It will turn South onto Hunter Street, then West onto Cooper Avenue. The parade will continue West on Cooper Avenue to Galena Street. At Galena it heads North for 2 blocks before turning West onto Hopkins Avenue. The parade will continue South on Mill then West on Hyman Avenue. Parade participants will be directed to disperse at Hyman and Monarch Street.  PARADE JUDGING: Parade judging will take place in front of the Hotel Jerome. Participants will be limited to 1 minute or less for any performances in front of the judges. Security will be onsite monitoring all entries to help prevent gaps in the parade route. Recognition will be awarded to the best entries in the following categories: 

Most Patriotic | Most Humorous | Best Animal | Best Music | Most Outrageous | Best Children’s  


  • Consumption of alcohol is prohibited during the parade.
  • Candy, favors, etc. should not be thrown from your float/vehicle during the parade. This is for the safety of the spectators and to prevent children from running out into the street. 
  • Water balloons will not be permitted. According to city ordinances, those caught throwing balloons will be removed from the parade and could face citations and/or arrests. 
  • All parade entries must be in “good taste” and will be allowed in the parade per the director’s discretion. 
  • Maximum height restriction for any float entry is 13’5”.


The undersigned organization has elected to participate in the Fourth of July parade sponsored by the City of Aspen and Aspen Chamber Resort

Association (“ACRA”). In consideration for City of Aspen and ACRA allowing the undersigned to participate in the festivities, the undersigned has read, understood, and willingly agreed to the terms of this INSURANCE LIABILITY AGREEMENT and WAIVER AND INDEMNITY AGREEMENT (collectively referred to herein as “RELEASE”).


                                    Participants are required to carry insurance adequate to cover any liability for damage, injury, economic loss, or other

liability that may be incurred by individuals and/or organizations during the Fourth of July parade. All participants agree to carry such insurance, and also agree not to submit any claim against the insurance of City of Aspen, ACRA and/or any other sponsors of the parade, their officers, directors, agents, shareholders, employees, or anyone else directly or indirectly connected with production of the parade.


                                         The undersigned understands the potential dangers that could be encountered in participating in the Fourth of July

parade. The dangers include, among other things, dangers relating to vehicular and pedestrian traffic; crowds of persons in close proximity to such traffic; animals that may react unpredictably in a parade environment; celebration and recreational activities; loud and unexpected noise; items that may be thrown to and from the crowd in connection with the parade; and other dangers traditionally associated with parades.

      Understanding those risks, the undersigned for itself and for all persons who the undersigned invites or allows to participate in the parade with the undersigned, does hereby agree to indemnify, hold harmless, and release City of Aspen, ACRA and/or any other sponsors of the parade, their

officers, directors, agents, shareholders, employees, and anyone else directly or indirectly connected with production of the parade from any and all

liability, claims, demands, actions, or rights of action (including attorneys’ fees and costs) that are related to or are in any way connected with the

undersigned’s participation in the parade. By signing this RELEASE, the undersigned intends to extinguish any and all liability and to indemnify against any loss on the part of City of Aspen, ACRA and/or any other sponsors of the parade, their officers, directors, agents, shareholders, employees, and anyone else directly or indirectly connected with production of the parade for any injury or damage of any nature (without regard to negligence or fault) to the undersigned and to all persons who the undersigned invites or allows to participate in the parade.

                                      The undersigned warrants and represents that it will not invite or allow any person to participate in the parade unless

such person is bound to the terms of this RELEASE. To that end, the undersigned agrees that it shall take any steps necessary to secure agreement of such persons to the terms of this RELEASE, and that it shall be deemed a responsible person within the meaning of C.R.S. § 13-22-107 and § 19-1103(94) for all children who the undersigned invites or allows to participate in the parade.


   I am the official representative of the undersigned organization. On behalf of the organization, I acknowledge our responsibilities as set forth above. I also accept on behalf of the organization all of the terms and conditions of this


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