Editor’s Note: New York society fixture Helen Schifter is traveling with her family out West — first Aspen, then L.A.

Spring break! We’re in Aspen — land of nonstop skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and that other Olympic sport, shopping. Where else are the trapper hats white mink (J.Mendel) and the snow boots sable (Dennis Basso)?

Friends are plentiful as pine trees: Day one on Ajax, Tim cruised in knee-deep powder right into uber-art director Doug Lloyd and photographer Kelly Klein; William Lauder waving howdy overhead from the Silver Queen gondola; Valesca Guerrand-Hermès après-ski outdoors at The Little Nell — our home base. Yup, whole clans from New York are here — de Guardiolas, Gwathmeys, Hovnanians — and this group recognizes each other even disguised in Bolle goggles and Cloudveil parkas.

Eating is also a test of endurance. Toasted our wedding anniversary “on top of the world” with a cozy lunch at the Aspen Mountain Club hosted by Dana Hammond, who’s building a home nearby. The club’s buffet staggers — delicious king crab legs, bison, an insane cheese plate and home-baked cookies and pies. This led us right into dinner at a little blue farmhouse, i.e. the local Matsuhisa. Last night we began at the Hotel Jerome’s funky, Victorian J-Bar with burgers and pitchers of Fat Tire beer and continued en masse to a club called Belly Up for Grateful Dead tunes via the Dark Star Orchestra.

Mornings are bright and early. Storey, 10, already a wicked skier, won a bronze and a silver medal on the kids’ NASTAR slalom course. Her instructor throws “pooper trooper” parachute dolls from the lift and they ski-race down to find them. Capture someone else’s trooper? Bite off an arm or leg, then leave it in the snow.

Today a temple of dark wood and river rocks beckons — the Remède Spa at the St. Regis. Post-massage, I’ll curl up fireside on a leather chaise lounge and peacefully inhale a 30-minute oxygen treatment. And if that doesn’t prepare me for L.A., our next stop, then nothing will!


Helen Schifter

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