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Fine-art photographer Gray Malin is renowned for images that capture the glamour and decadence of the jet-set lifestyle. A browse through his portfolio is like a virtual trip to some of the world’s most iconic destinations, from the beaches of the Amalfi Coast to the forests of Bhutan. It also reveals the artist’s affinity for Aspen, whose snowy slopes have inspired some of his most iconic images (and one of our favorite wallpapers).
In 2020, Malin chose a variety of locations in and around town to transform into modern snow-globe scenes with a vintage twist, from the Little Nell hotel’s porte cochere—where he stacked Louis Vuitton and Goyard trunks around a 1950s Porsche—to the top of Aspen Mountain, where models dressed in colorful Fair Isle sweaters posed atop 1980s sun loungers in the snow. The latter locale seems to have inspired Malin’s latest Aspen endeavor, an après-ski experience called Snow Beach, which is a collaboration with AspenX—the new retail and experiential company created by Aspen Skiing Company and Aspen-based artist and entrepreneur Paula Crown—and the Little Nell.
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Debuting Friday, February 18, and ending on Sunday, March 27, Snow Beach is a one-of-a-kind, pop-up “club” atop Aspen Mountain that promises a new kind of après experience. Here, guests will feel as if they’ve just stepped into a vintage Gray Malin photograph as they lounge in custom, red-and-white-striped snow-beach cabanas—complete with chaise lounges and chairs—play snow games, and enjoy bottle service and multi-course food pairings, all while taking in views of the Elk Mountains and Highland Bowl and the sounds of live DJ performances.
“Last fall, I walked the entire stretch of South Beach, Miami, studying the various beach clubs to begin sketching the layout, furnishings, and even the construction [of Snow Beach],” Malin says. “Referencing my own aerial photography archive, I was inspired to incorporate a vintage aesthetic into playful details such as the striped design of the ‘beach’ cabanas and the lifeguard stands. My goal was to create an immersive experience inspired by my work and pay homage to the chic après-ski culture that Aspen has perfected.”
Adds Crown: “Aspen has always inspired world-class artists, and Gray Malin is no exception; the way his exceptional eye can encapsulate the beauty, glamour, and playfulness that is winter on the mountain is both fun and inspiring, and serves as the perfect backdrop for Snow Beach. We are continually pushing ourselves to innovate and think differently at AspenX, and this unique seaside-meets-slopeside-inspired design is a great way to elevate the après-ski experience and have our visitors benefit from something Aspen has always been known for—our mountainside hospitality.”
That service isn’t hampered a bit by Aspen Mountain’s 11,212-foot elevation. At Snow Beach, champagne or rosé accompanies paired courses served every 30 minutes during the reservation period; bites include caviar, sliced jamón Ibérico, individual black truffle pizza slices, and house-made kettle corn. Reservation options include single lounge chairs with the purchase of half a bottle of champagne or rosé, a cabana for two with a bottle of champagne or rosé, or a cabana for six with three bottles of champagne or rosé. Package and reservation prices range from $300 to $4,800 depending on bottle selection and group size.
Also included in that price are the personal “Gray Malin moments” that Malin hopes guests will capture on their own cameras (and post on social media with the hashtag #SNOWBEACH). “I want guests of Snow Beach to step into a whimsical Gray Malin photograph, where they can take their own pictures and create their own unique memories of Aspen,” he says. Tickets for Snow Beach can be purchased online at aspenx.com.
(Read More: The Best Snow Beaches at Colorado Ski Resorts)