As a person who hates being cold and is a terrible skiier, Aspen has never been high on my list of must see destinations. When I was invited to Fortune’s BrainStorm Tech event the appeal was all in the event rather than the location, but these last few days have seen me completely change my tune.
I’d done no research before arriving – the kids were more than a little incredulous when they heard this – but I’d been far more focused on the Africa and UK legs of the trip and thought I’d spend the weekend catching up on work before the conference started on Monday.
I did a quick Google search on what to do in Aspen in summer, and thanks to the power of algorithms the first thing that popped up was stand up paddleboarding, which immediately sparked my interest.
My first stop on Saturday morning was at the hotel concierge as the local providers didn’t seem to have adopted online booking systems, but that turned out to be a bonus as on hearing it was my first time in Aspen she quickly layed out a weekend itinerary of all the must do’s.
With paddleboarding locked in for Sunday, that left Saturday free to take the gondola ride up Aspen Mountain, and then head out to Maroon Bells for the afternoon, with plenty of time for a wander around the shops.
The 15 minute gondola ride up Aspen mountain was great, and the views at the top absolutely spectacular. It was a reasonably quick visit though, the 11 000ft altitude wasn’t particularly compatible with the asthma that was still lingering post London.
The trip back down the mountain deposited me into the Saturday farmers market, and after a wander around there and the great array of shops I dropped my purchases back at the hotel – four weeks is a long time to go limited to a single suitcase of options!
I woke up super excited on Sunday morning, there’s nothing I love more than getting out on a paddleboard to explore a new location and after the lovely scenery of the day before I was sure it was going to be a great experience.
It didn’t get off to the greatest start when just as the guide cautioned that the water was pretty shallow and to look out for submerged rocks and logs I found the first of those and toppled straight off the front of the board. With the creeks and rivers fed with snow runoff, it definitely cooled me down, and certainly motivated me to watch where I was going!
To round out my scenery experiences I’d signed up to do a trail ride on the morning before the conference started, which was both a great way to get to know some fellow delegates and to see another different part of the area.