By Ted Christodulidis
Lost in the peaks of the Rocky Mountains at 8,000 feet above sea level, Aspen, Colorado rarely fails to capture the hearts of all who visit. With its small town charm, and big city amenities, the reasons for Aspen’s prestige are as abundant as its picturesque slopes and scenic trails. The town itself, forever viewed as a destination renowned for its skiing, shopping, dining, and mingling, is a highly-frequented scene by the who’s who of the world; and for good reason. Between its prestigious art galleries, the array of haute boutiques, and the countless food and music festivals, it’s easy to see why out-of-state visitors and their families instantly feel so at home in the 3.5-square-mile city. With days filled with an influx of activity and sightseeing to evenings permeating with the aroma of good food and a wood-burning fire, fewer properties in the heart of the small town manage to capture Aspen’s magical allure quite like Dancing Bear Aspen.
Dancing Bear is the latest boutique private residence club development in downtown Aspen, and nestled just a few paces from the gondola of Aspen Mountain. The new Mountainside abode features 10 three-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom residences (in addition to the existing nine-residence Parkside building) averaging roughly 1,800 square feet and sold in fractional interests starting at $825,000. The building also boasts a striking 3,200-square-foot penthouse with 3,500 square feet of deck space. Featuring fireplaces, barbecues, and weekend breakfast services as well as events and parties throughout the season, the Parkside building also boasts an 8,000-square-foot indoor/outdoor space, offering one of the largest residential rooftop decks in downtown Aspen. Unlike other fractional ownership programs, Dancing Bear allows owners to spread their weeks throughout the year, meaning time could be split between the seasons if desired. Although ownership comes in one eighth fractions, the property, and accompanying services like the in-house concierge, bellhop, valet, and transfer service all come at no extra charge, meaning nothing is off-limits during the stay.
While being steps from virgin powder would be more than enough to make any ski bum sign the dotted line, Dancing Bear goes above and beyond to transform the typical ski-in ski-out experience with an abundance of amenities. From a 24-hour modernistic spa inspired by the four elements, a saline flotation tank, self-serving hydrotherapy massage stations, or steam chambers complete with stone chaises, a specialized kids room, private theater, or the owner’s wine room and cellar, it’s enough to entice even the most enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders to hang it in early for a quick relaxation session before a night out on the infamous town.
Upon touchdown, a car and driver will be waiting at the airport. When reaching the residence, most then make a beeline straight to the Monarch Steakhouse and bar, located at the base of the building, where the bartender is already at work preparing your drink of choice and the prime rib filet is already on the grill. The next morning, make a quick stop at the private ski lockers to gear up and head for the lifts. If a peak other than Aspen Mountain should strike one’s fancy, a driver will be waiting at their leisure with all the gear already loaded (who could say no to heated ski boots?). More so, when not on the slopes, you’re bound to find families relaxing on their own time, with parents enjoying everything the spa has to offer while the kids amuse themselves in the game rooms filled with all the latest technology for hours to come.
Should one decide to venture from the property for dinner or drinks, nowhere comes more highly-recommended than an institute of casual fine dining amongst Aspenites: Element 47. Being hailed as “Aspen’s finest spot to wine, dine and unwind,” the name pays homage to the fine metal (silver) that initially put Aspen on the map. Led by Executive Chef Matt Zubrod, the cordial crew is the unmistakeable reason the establishment has fancied the only Forbes Five-Star ranking in Aspen and a rare five-diamond rating for so long. While focusing on “seasonal fare” cuisine, Chef Zubrod sources his whole menu locally, claiming his main objective as: “continuously establishing The Little Nell (the restaurant’s proprietor) as the culinary capital of Colorado.” Boasting one of the only Legacy Wine Programs in the United States, with over 20,000 bottles in the cellar, guests have options ranging from a $42 2013 Heidi Schrock Rosé Biscaya from Austria to a $52,000 (very rare six-liter) bottle of 1994 DRC Echezeaux produced in France.
The true draw to a place such as Dancing Bear comes from its inviting atmosphere and ambiance, which is what ultimately entices potential residents to call Aspen their second home. People don’t consider Dancing Bear because it’s what they can afford, they consider it because it’s what they need. From the hassle-free experience to the absolute world-class service, the whole stay evokes an air of familiarity and togetherness rivaled only by close-knit neighborhoods.