- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) - We’re snobs and drunks, but our mountains provide some of the best skiing in the country. We also have some of the top luxury hotels in the world, our fall colors are spectacular and we boast one of the most expensive zip codes in the country.

Welcome to Aspen, Colorado, a town that’s found itself on a spate of top-10 lists in the past year, from the unenviable to the auspicious.

The website RoadSnacks.net hasn’t exactly treated Aspen with much reverence. It ranked Aspen No. 3 on its list of Colorado’s snobbiest towns, with top-ranked Greenwood Village and Vail only rated higher. Among the criteria used to judge a city’s snobbery was its median home price and household income; private schools, theaters and art galleries per capita, along with the percentage of residents with a college degree.

“This list probably was a shocker for most Coloradans because Aspen didn’t win,” RoadSnacks.net reported. “In fact, the snobs up there are probably crying into their furs because they are not used to being second in anything.”

But Aspenites weren’t crying in their beers when RoadSnacks.net released its list of drunkest cities in Colorado. Using its criteria based on the number of bars, wineries and liquor stores per capita, along with the divorce rate and drunk-related tweets in each city, Aspen took top honors in the debauchery department.

“First off, the divorce rate is through the roof. And when you mix in booze, things tend to get fuzzy, relationship-wise,” RoadSnacks.net said. “But this isn’t a post about people divorcing. It’s a post about how much people drink, and based on the data, Aspen drinks a lot. It wasn’t even close. It was Aspen by a landslide, and then everyone else below.”

Whether Aspen’s accolade for being the state’s drunkest town is a black eye or a feather in its cap is debatable, but local marketers have no plans to promote that recognition or the snobbery honor.

“I don’t even drink, so that one was very interesting,” said Debbie Braun, president of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.

Braun said most lists aren’t taken very seriously, but they can “be super fun and they create a little rivalry among ski towns, but I’m not sure they convert to more visitors.”

The lists typically cement Aspen’s standing as one of the top ski towns on the globe, and the rankings are diverse. TripAdvisor recently placed Aspen at No. 11 for its Best Skiing Vacations - Anywhere list; the same website had Aspen rated the No. 4 among U.S. Ski Destinations Most Popular Among International Travelers. U.S. News & World Report ranked Aspen No. 5 in the globe in its Best Ski Destinations. Aspen and Snowmass were packaged together as the eighth Best Ski Resort in North America by Forbes, basing its list on data used by Zrankings.com. The Little Nell Hotel, owned by Aspen Skiing Co., picked up a No. 8 rating by American.Profile.com on its Top 10 Mountain Retreats in America list. The Little Nell also was one of three American hotels ranked in the top 10 by the so-called super rich in a survey administered by New World Wealth, MillionaireCorner.com reported.

Ski.net ranked Aspen Highlands No. 18, Aspen Mountain No. 13 and Snowmass No. 6 in its Top Ranked Western Resorts for 2016.

Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said the company makes its pitches to website and magazine editors, but “we’re certainly not going to live and die by these lists.”

“There are so many lists now, and every list is compiled differently,” he said. “We’re certainly happy when we appear on those lists, and we often feel we should be ranked higher.”

Aspen also pulled down a top ranking for America’s Best Town for the Holidays, according to Travel+Leisure.

“A combination of luxe living and quaint charm helped this Rocky Mountain town capture the spot as the merriest of them all,” the magazine gushed.

Aspen has gotten a lot of love for other aspects, as well. TripAdvisor ranked it No. 3 in the U.S. for taking in fall colors. With a median home listing price of just over $5 million, Aspen secured a No. 9 spot on Forbes’ list of 500 Most Expensive ZIP Codes in the United States.

And the Baby Center had the name “Aspen” in its top 30 names for boys in 2016, joining other such geographical destinations as Boston and Cairo. We’ll drink to that.


Information from: The Aspen Times, https://www.aspentimes.com/

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