Founded as a mining camp in the Colorado Silver Boom and named because of the abundance of aspen trees in the area, the city is now a ski resort and cultural center. The city emerged as a skiing mecca following World War II and the foundation of the Aspen Skiing Company by Walter Paepcke, a Chicago industrialist who sought to create a utopian community of the mind and body.
Paepcke's legacy of the Aspen/Snowmass resorts, along with such institutions as the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Music Festival and School, have made the city a year-round international destination for recreation, arts, business, and intellectual discourse.
In the late 20th century, the city developed as an off-beat haven for misfits, attracting such free spirits as John Denver (who wrote several folk songs about the town, including "Aspenglow", and "Starwood in Aspen") and Hunter S. Thompson, who was glorified by many locals for his embodiment of the "freak power" ethic of the community.
The city is the site of the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival.
Aspen is the gateway to "Maroon Bells" by Maroon Creek and Maroon Lake; that is very beautiful.
There are few places remaining that can be called a true Colorado ski town. Crested Butte is considered a holdout, retaining its small town charm and the adventurous soul that it has always h…