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Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley are a year-round destination. If it's skiing you're after, February and March historically have the best snow (deepest base and most terrain open) plus the warmest winter weather (and prices are lower than the peak Christmas-to-New-Year’s season). Aspen summers are legendary for their food, art, and music festivals. Although only 6,000 locals call Aspen home, the area population quadruples to nearly 24,000 in summer and winter high seasons. June and early July are best for rafting (snowmelt makes for high-octane rapids); most high-country biking and hiking trails are cleared of snowdrift by mid-June, when brilliant wildflowers emerge and remain in bloom through early August. Mid-September brings hotel-room deals, cooler days, photogenic snow dustings on the Maroon Bells, and flame-orange aspen groves.