TRAVEL
The California Bucket List: Your daily guide to the best adventures and experiences in the Golden State

Aspen glow

GETTING THERE:

From LAX, United flies nonstop to Aspen, Colo. United, Delta and America West offer connecting flights (change of planes). Restricted round-trip fares begin at $388.

LIFT TICKETS:

The best deals at Aspen are early and late in the season; late season is usually the better gamble because there's a better chance snow will have accumulated (although, so far this year, Colorado is having a monster snow year).

Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, Snowmass lift-ticket prices: adults, $82; ages 13-17 and seniors 65-69, $74; 7-12, $52; 6 and younger ski free. Tip: You'll probably save money by shopping around for a lift-and-lodging deal. Info: (800) 525-6200, www.aspensnowmass.com.

WHERE TO STAY:

Hotel Jerome, 330 E. Main St., Aspen; (800) 331-7213, www.hoteljerome.com. The historic downtown hotel offers luxury and a short walk or shuttle ride to the slopes of Aspen Mountain. Doubles from $660.

Aspen Meadows Resort, 845 Aspen Meadows Road, Aspen; (800) 452-4240, www.aspenmeadowsresort.dolce.com. The hotel is in a campus-like setting high above the Roaring Fork River, a five-minute drive to town or a nice walk. Doubles from $250.

Hotel Aspen, Aspen; 110 W. Main St.; (800) 527-7369, www.hotelaspen.com. This hotel is just a couple of blocks from downtown and has small but comfortable rooms. Doubles from $199.

WHERE TO EAT:

Little Annie's Eating House, 517 E. Hyman Ave.; (970) 925-1098. Very popular for its big burgers and servings of ribs and chicken at moderate prices. Excellent prime rib and horseradish sauce. Main dishes from $16.

Blue Maize, 308 S. Hunter St.; (970) 925-6698. A casual Southwestern-fare spot with a popular bar. Good shrimp fajitas. Main dishes from about $13.

The J-Bar, 330 E. Main St. (inside the Hotel Jerome); (970) 429-7674. The bar is casual and often smoky — there is a nonsmoking room — and the burgers are good. Main dishes from $12.

Gusto Ristorante, 415 E. Main St.; (970) 925-8222. Good pasta, pizzas in a hip setting. Applause-worthy rigatoni with mushrooms. Main dishes from $14.

TO LEARN MORE:

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Suite 1700, Denver, CO 80202; (800) 265-6723 vwww.colorado.com

— Steve Hymon

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