Skiing is one of the best things to do in Aspen in winter

Aspen in December: Your Complete Guide (2023)

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Aspen in December is a winter wonderland where you can enjoy fun sports like skiing and snowboarding and the festive holiday atmosphere.

Located in the heart of Colorado Rocky Mountains, Aspen looks like a true fairytale when it gets dusted by snow. The winter landscape adds to the town’s charm and creates a cozy and festive atmosphere.

Aspen embraces the holiday season with enthusiasm. You can expect holiday decorations, festive lights, and events like tree-lighting ceremonies, holiday markets, and appearances by Santa Claus. The town has a warm and welcoming holiday ambiance in December.

➡️ November in Aspen is a perfect time as it’s less expensive and crowded

For many travelers, a trip to Aspen in December is a coveted adventure, especially around Christmas when the town puts on festive decorations and hosts activities where you can participate in games, visit Santa, and enjoy holiday treats.

Travel resources for your trip to Aspen

  • Accommodations in Aspen – I use Booking
  • Flights to Aspen – I use CheapAir
  • Travel insurance in Aspen and Colorado – I use SafetyWing
  • Guided tours in Aspen and Colorado – I use Viator
  • Car rentals in Aspen – I use DiscoverCars
Aspen in December is a fairytale-like town with cool winter activities and fun things

Aspen in December weather: What is it like?

December is one of the snowiest months in Aspen with chilly temperatures and a substantial amount of snowfall, which is ideal for winter sports enthusiasts. Snow depths in the mountains can range from a few inches to several feet, making it a prime time for skiing and snowboarding.

What is the temperature like in Aspen in December?

The average high temperature in December ranges from 28°F to 38°F (-2°C to 3°C) during the day, while the average low temperature at night can be anywhere from 5°F to 16°F (-15°C to -9°C).

Best things to do in Aspen in winter is skiing and snowboarding.


  • Prepare for short days – December has shorter daylight hours in Aspen, with around 9 to 10 hours of daylight on average. Days are shorter, and nights are longer, so plan your activities accordingly.
  • Wear sunscreen and sunglasses – The high-altitude mountain environment can result in strong UV rays, even in winter. Wear sunscreen and sunglasses to protect your skin and eyes when you’re outdoors even if it’s not sunny.
  • Dress warm – Layering is key when dressing for Aspen in winter. Pack warm clothing, including thermal layers, insulated jackets, waterproof boots, gloves, scarves, and hats. It’s important to stay warm, especially if you plan to spend most of your time outdoors.
  • Check the calendar – Look for winter festivals and events happening in Aspen during December, which might include music concerts, film festivals, and meet and greet with Santa.
  • Book your hotels ahead of time – December is a popular time to visit Aspen, so book accommodations and activities in advance to secure the best prices. Hotels in Aspen are very expensive during the winter season, and even the basic rooms cost hundreds of dollars.
  • Be prepared for winter driving – Be prepared for winter driving conditions if you plan to be on the road. Snow chains or snow tires may be necessary, and it’s important to drive cautiously in snowy and icy conditions.
  • Check ski conditions – December is the start of the ski season, and the ski resorts in Aspen typically have excellent conditions with fresh powder. However, you should always check the specific ski resort’s website or snow reports for up-to-date information on trail conditions and open runs.


Best things to do in Aspen in December is skiing and snowboarding

Best things to do in Aspen in December:

December marks the beginning of the ski season in Aspen, and the town is a renowned destination for winter sports enthusiasts. You can enjoy skiing and snowboarding on the four local mountains: Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands. The fresh powder and well-groomed slopes make it a paradise for snow sports lovers.

✅ Check: Best cheap things to do in Denver

  • Enjoy skiing – December through February is the best time to visit Aspen for great skiing and a fun winter atmosphere. You can enjoy the four area ski resorts, and explore downtown Aspen that’s full of fun activities.
  • Or snowboarding – Snowboarding is another popular activity in Aspen in winter. You can enjoy skiing and snowboarding on Aspen Mountain, Snowmass, Buttermilk, and Aspen Highlands. The fresh powder and well-groomed slopes make it a paradise for winter sports enthusiasts.
  • Enjoy the snow-covered scenery – Aspen and surrounding mountains are covered in snow, creating a picturesque winter landscape.
  • Try other winter sports – Besides skiing and snowboarding, you can also try other winter sports like ice skating, and cross-country skiing.
  • Take a dip in Glenwood Hot Springs – Soak in the natural hot springs near Aspen, such as Glenwood Hot Springs or Iron Mountain Hot Springs. These warm mineral-rich waters provide a soothing and rejuvenating experience.

The best way to get from Aspen to Glenwood Springs is by renting a car, as it will help you save time.


When does it snow in Colorado

Things to do in Aspen in winter besides ski:

December in Colorado is for winter activities, and most people look forward to spending time outdoors during their Colorado winter vacation. However, not everybody wants to (or can) ski, so if you are wondering about what is there to do in Aspen besides skiing, here are some alternatives:

  • Participate in holiday events – Aspen hosts various holiday events and festivities throughout December, including tree lighting ceremonies, holiday markets, and Santa’s appearances. It’s a festive time to soak in the holiday spirit.
  • Enjoy Apres-ski scene – Aspen is known for its vibrant apres-ski scene. After a day on the slopes, you can relax and socialize at the many bars, restaurants, and lounges.
  • Try winter hiking – If you prefer a more relaxed outdoor experience, you can go winter hiking or snowshoeing on the numerous trails in the area. Maroon Bells is particularly stunning in the winter.
  • Stay in a cozy lodge – Aspen has many cozy lodges, cabins, and luxury resorts where you can stay nice and warm during your visit and enjoy the one-of-a-kind magical winter scenery that Aspen has to offer.

Where to stay in Aspen:

  • The Inn at Aspen – A 3-star hotels with a fitness center, a restaurant and a bar. It also has an outdoor swimming pool, air-conditioned rooms with free Wi-Fi, and free airport shuttle. 
  • St. Regis Aspen Resort – One of the most popular resorts in Aspen, St. Regis is located at the base of Aspen mountain, and has an outdoor pool and ski storage space. On-site restaurants and spa services are also available. Free airport shuttle and private parking.
  • Limelight Hotel Aspen – A popular Aspen hotel with an outdoor pool, hot tub and rooftop terrace. Breakfast is served daily.

Best restaurants in Aspen:

Whether you spend your day on the slopes or choose some other activity, you will get hungry! You can relax and unwind at the many après-ski bars, restaurants, and lounges in Aspen that offer a variety of cuisines. It’s a great time to socialize, enjoy live music, and savor hearty meals and hot drinks.

Here are some of the best places to eat in Aspen:

  • The Bangkok Happy Bowl – A popular Thai restaurant with an outdoor patio that has a separate vegan menu.
  • Spring Cafe – has sample menu items like vegan spinach and mushroom enchilada, almond flour blueberry pancakes, chickpea carrot veggie burger.
  • Aspen Pie Shop – a pizza place that has vegan pizza with vegan parmesan, and a selection of pizzas and salads that can be made vegan upon request. 
  • Little Ollie’s – a popular Asian restaurant in Aspen that has available vegan options.

How to get around Aspen?

You can get around Aspen by public bus, or, if you say in downtown, by walking. Uber in Aspen is not always available, but if you need a quick ride, you can always catch a taxi, which will be more expensive, but will get you to your destination very quickly. 

If you want to enjoy the area and visit surrounding mountain towns, it’s a good idea to rent a car for your trip to Aspen. You can rent a car in Aspen and surrounding areas, but remember to rent your car early, because December is a very busy time. 

Uber in Aspen is a great way to get around the area and visit popular destinations like Snowmass Village, Buttermilk resorts, as well as surrounding Carbondale and Glenwood Springs.

Do you need a car in Aspen?

You don’t need a car to enjoy Aspen in winter, as the city has good public transportation with buses taking you to all ski resorts in the area.

If you want to rent a car, be prepared for the possibility of snowstorms and treacherous driving conditions in the Colorado mountains. Tire chains might be required if the forecast calls for snow and ice, so it’s important to check with your car rental company ahead of your trip.


Where to rent a car in Aspen?

You can find dozens of rental cars on DiscoverCars, a car rental website that offers budget-friendly rates and flexible cancellation policies. Since driving conditions can be unpredictable, you can also book your car rental insurance with them.

What airport do you fly into to go to Aspen Colorado?

To fly directly to Aspen, book tickets for Aspen Airport (ASE), which has daily flights from Denver and other destinations from the United States. You can also fly into Denver International Airport (DEN) and take a private transfer, rent a car or use public transportation or ride shares to get to Aspen from there. 


December in Aspen: FAQ’s

Best things to do in Aspen in December is enjoying winter landscapes.

Is December a good time to go to Aspen?

December is a good time to visit Aspen if you like winter sports and want to experience the festive atmosphere leading up to Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 

Can you ski in Aspen in early December?

Early December sees the first ski resorts open their slops for visitors, however, the exact opening dates can fluctuate as they depend on the amount of snowfall and individual resort’s policies and rules.

Is Aspen fun in the winter?

Aspen is a lot of fun in winter, as it boasts many winter-themed events, fun winter sports and charming atmosphere of a real winter wonderland. 

Does it snow in Aspen in December?

The average snowfall during December in Aspen is around 8.8 inches and can be up to 18 inches.

Is Aspen a good place to go for Christmas?

Aspen is one of the best places to visit during Christmas 🎄 thanks to its one-of-a-kind holiday spirit, snow-covered mountains and exhilarating winter sports. If you are looking for white Christmas, there’s no better destination than Aspen. 

Is Aspen crowded on Christmas?

Aspen gets busy on Christmas as people from all over Colorado and other places come to experience the holiday cheer, partake in events and enjoy amazing winter wonderland. Expect more crowds during Christmas and New Year’s Eve. 

What should I pack for Aspen in December?

Since Aspen often sees single digits, it’s essential to pack warm clothing and plenty of layers. Make sure to bring essentials like waterproof ski jacket, base layers and sweaters as well as warm socks, gloves and mittens. And don’t forget to take sunscreen, as sun can be very strong on the ski slopes, even on a cold winter day. 

December is Aspen is a special time

What you should pack for your trip to Aspen:

  • Waterproof jacket – Make sure that your outer layers are waterproof 
  • Warm hats and gloves – It’s essential to have a good waterproof pair of gloves and a warm hat
  • Warm socks – Pack a few pairs of socks that can keep your feet warm while you are spending time outside
  • Base Layers – Pack good top and bottom layers or thermal underwear
  • Sweaters – a few sweaters are essential for spending time outside 
  • Fleece – a breathable fleece top is perfect to keep your warm while you are spending time outside 
  • A scarf or neck gaiter – To keep your neck warm

Aspen in December: Final Word 

There’s no other month in Aspen like December. The town gets covered by a blanket of snow and puts on a festive cheer with bright Christmas lights and ornaments, Santa meet-and-greets, festivals and concerts. Regardless of whether you get to see the actual white Christmas or not, while visiting this place, there’s no other month in Aspen like December.