Country houses for sale

Aspen v Whistler: Where’s the best place to buy a ski property in North America?

Carla Passino explores two of the best winter destinations across the world and picks great properties for sale to enjoy life on skis.

Aspen, US

Perks and quirks
Although it no longer holds the world record for the longest single-stage gondola (which, for a time, belonged to the Silver Queen linking Aspen to Aspen mountain), the Colorado resort can claim the crown for snow-side culture: it has its own art museum, many galleries, a literary centre (Aspen Words), the Aspen Music Festival, the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet and the Aspen Institute, which seeks to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues, from climate change to the supply-chain crisis.

Known for
The most spectacular renaissance any town could hope for. Once a thriving silver-mining town, it slid into a decline that lasted four decades after the Panic of 1893, a period of economic depression in which the value of silver plummeted. In 1936, however, a group of entrepreneurs saw fresh opportunity in the snow and created a new ski area to meet America’s burgeoning passion for winter sports—and the rest is history.

Slope encounters
Hollywood, Silicon Valley and Wall Street come together on the Aspen slopes—notably on Red Mountain, also known as Billionaire Mountain—with present and past skiers including Jeff Bezos, beauty entrepreneur Aerin Lauder Zinterhofer and actors such as Jack Nicholson, Kevin Costner, Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell.

For sale
Property for sale in Aspen
Sheltered by aspen and evergreen trees, this 5,272sq ft property makes the most of the leafy views towards Aspen mountain. The open-plan living and dining area has floor-to-ceiling windows and sliding glass doors that lead to a flagstone terrace. The house also has four spacious bedrooms and landscaped grounds with a water feature. $12.9 million (about £9.77 million), Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate.

Whistler, Canada

Whistler, Canada
Perks and quirks
Whistler has its very own ghost town. A former logging outpost dating from the 1920s, Parkhurst, on the edge of Green Lake, saw its fortunes plummet in the following decades and was eventually abandoned in 1966. A walk around it takes in fallen houses, old machinery and the spring that watered the settlement.

Known for
The Peak 2 Peak gondola linking Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, which broke not one but two Guinness World Records: it’s the highest cable car above the ground (at 1,430ft) and has the longest unsupported span between two aerial cable-car stations (at 1.879 miles). Although there’s no world record for this, it also has magnificent views.

Slope encounters
Actors filming in Vancouver often make an escape to Whistler (including Aquaman star Jason Momoa). Bill Gates is also thought to be a regular visitor.

For sale
Property for sale in Whistler
Situated in a cul de sac in Whistler main village, this 1,425sq ft, three-bedroom property is full of striking details, from the living room’s 15ft vaulted ceiling and fine fireplace to the granite worktops and bar in the kitchen and the solid wood doors throughout. Outside, the terrace comes with a hot tub. CAD$2.795 million (about £1.67m), Sotheby’s International Realty.