The Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson launched a campaign to run for sheriff of Aspen, Colorado in 1969, when the small town filled with ski bums and hippies faced a cultural turning point. At that time, Thompson had taken an immense liking to the area: the liberal and even radical political views of its inhabitants, the 360-degree views of snow-capped mountains that surrounded the Roaring Fork Valley, an area of Colorado that belonged to the Ute Indians. In the few years before he initiated his candidacy, a new wave of wealthy inhabitants began moving into Aspen, causing a shift in the residential demographic. New businesses started popping up and, over the next four decades, Aspen became the hub for the rich and famous that it’s known as today. In this section of the Rocky Mountains, you’ll find luxe skiing, shopping destinations including Dior, Balenciaga, and Prada boutiques, and plenty of sumptuous eats at top-notch (and top-price) restaurants like Casa Tua and French Alpine Bistro.
But if you’re really in the know, you’re aware that Aspen is the perfect place for bacchanalian late-night partying with a Real Housewife or a Kardashian (or two). Leading the pack of who’s-who parties and events in Aspen is The Snow Lodge, the sister location to Montauk’s famed restaurant-slash-bar-slash-music-venue The Surf Lodge. Much like its Hamptons counterpart, The Snow Lodge—which is located inside The St. Regis Aspen Resort—lavishes in its multihyphenate designation, and is a go-to for celebrities and everyday revelers alike. At Snow Lodge, you’ll find fashion, art, music, and food coming together to support an overall experience for any guest who’s lucky enough to get on the list.
Most recently, that experience took place during Presidents’ Day Weekend—one of the most pivotal four days of partying in Aspen during the year. The musician Paris Jackson performed songs from her latest EP, The Lost, while seated beneath an art piece made by Code and Theory founder Brandon Ralph, whose works were on display in the dining room, which also doubles as a stage. Grammy-nominated electronic duo Bob Moses collaborated with fashion brand Rebecca Minkoff to pull off a show inside a yurt next to The Snow Lodge, whose velvety interior gave off a distinct Red Room from Twin Peaks vibe. All the while, guests oscillated between hitting the dance floor, checking out the art adorning every wall of the venue, and sitting down to nosh on tuna tartare or caviar and sip vodka sodas with their friends.
Bob Moses performing in the St. Regis courtyard.
The party did not cease in the daytime. Snow Lodge has also launched a pop-up experience called Snow Beach at the top of Aspen Mountain, (formerly known as Ajax), which re-creates the club experience in an après ski context. It’s a real mix of activities: taking in breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains while sipping Champagne and rubbing elbows with Ramona Singer and Timo Weiland—both of whom were in town over the long weekend—along with oil magnates from Texas and skiers in head-to-toe Moncler outfits.
“If I asked people to describe the weekend, I get a range of different stories,” owner of The Snow Lodge, Jayma Cardoso, told me. “If we were just any one thing, it would limit us. We’re not a restaurant, or a bar, or a cool red room, or a courtyard, or even a luxury hotel—it’s a brand that somehow melds all of these things together to create moments and memories for people.” Thompson, a known partier himself, wanted to be sheriff of a town that honored this wondrous mix. His campaign slogan? “Freak Power.” Maybe he’d scoff at the moneyed place Aspen has become today—but something tells us he’d have no problem joining in on the good times at Snow Lodge if given the chance.