DENVER — A trip to Aspen during peak ski season is going to set you back some cash. But even those who can afford the posh Colorado mountain town will enjoy checking out what’s free, from high-altitude adventures to creature comforts.
● Aspen Art Museum
The Aspen Art Museum hosts a steady rotation of exhibits of contemporary art from around the world, and it doesn’t cost a thing to see them. The museum’s new building is under construction downtown and is scheduled to open in 2014. Until then, visit its location along the Roaring Fork River at 590 N. Mill St. Closed Mondays and major holidays. www.aspenartmuseum.org.
● The bus
The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority provides free bus service in Aspen, and rides from Aspen to nearby Snowmass Village also are free. www.rfta.com.
● Warm drink
Aspen Skiing Co. offers free coffee for skiers, snowboarders, and even passers-by at the base of its four mountains: Aspen, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk, and Snowmass. Anyone can grab a cup of joe, not just those with lift tickets.
● Snow and ice
There are more than 60 miles of groomed cross-country and snowshoe trails around Aspen and Snowmass, open to all comers: www.aspenpitkin.com/Departments/Cross-Country-Skiing.
Sun Dog Athletics owner and guide Erik Skarvan likes to take his customers to higher-altitude locations that aren’t as accessible to find more powder, but he says snowshoeing at Difficult Campground 5 miles southeast of Aspen on Highway 82 can be good if the snow is deep enough.
Ice skating on the outdoor rink at the Aspen Recreation Center is free if you have your own skates. The Whoa Nelly sledding hill is here too.
● Concert series
The Bud Light Hi-Fi Concert Series brings nationally known musicians to town for free outdoor concerts that are open to the public. There’s roughly one every month. This season’s concerts are scheduled for Jan. 24, Feb. 15, March 14, March 21, and March 29. Details: www.stayaspensnowmass.com/events/bud-light-hi-fi-free-aspen-snowmass-concerts.