Getting to Cloud Nine for dinner involves piling into a snowcat for a bone-shaking ride up and down the mountain. Lunch, which is ski-in only, is also an option. You can plant your skis and poles in the snowbank along the deck, knock the snow from our boots, and push through the door. Yes, it’s awkward to tuck ski boot–clad feet under the white tablecloths, and consult a well-curated wine list while sporting performance fleece and helmet-matted hair. But that’s dissolved by Cloud Nine’s out-of-time, out-of-place charm.
If it’s sunny, there isn’t anything much better than lounging on the deck with a glass of wine and the view of Maroon Bells mountains at the end of a ski day. But if you’re not up for skiing in for your meal, just cook the restaurant’s decadent raclette or soul-warming Stroganoff, and you’ll get a sense of the Cloud Nine magic.
Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro, open daily in season (Dec–Apr) for ski-in lunch and snowcat dinners ($$$$; dinner Thu only; dinner reservation required); aspensnowmass.com/cloudnine.