Most visitors come to Aspen for the mountains. But Sayé Yabandeh was drawn to this spectacular destination for a very different reason: snow polo. Yabandeh, who plays on the Aspen St. Regis Resort team, says seeing the horses prance in fresh powder is enchanting. But the Iranian-born humanitarian and actress finds a lot more to love about Aspen, from her home at the foot of Smuggler Mountain to the world-class shopping.
“Aspen made me start loving winter,” says Yabandeh, who was recently appointed global ambassador to the Global Citizen Foundation, an organization with a mission to end extreme world poverty by 2030. “The energy of the town, the quality of life, and available healthy options make life here lovely.”
—by Jeanne O’Brien Coffey
Yabandeh, who is a certified yoga instructor, says she chooses yoga studios depending on her mood. “I like Aspen Shakti (535 E. Hyman Ave., 970.925.1655) if I need to feel more grounded. It’s downstairs in the basement, and it’s cozy and warm, with low lighting and lots of little candles everywhere. But if I feel very high energy, I go to O2 Aspen (408 S. Mill St., 970.925.4002), which is upstairs, with big open windows and lots of energy. They offer Iyengar classes— my favorite type of yoga.”
“I love Element 47 (675 E. Durant Ave., 970.920.6330 ) inside The Little Nell. The firepits outside make it unique, the service is superb, and their wine cellar downstairs is quite hidden” and a big draw for celebrities, Yabandeh says. “The Caribou Club (411 E. Hopkins Ave., 970.925.2929) is a very old private club. My fiancé managed to take me there for a two-person, seven-course meal inside a wine cellar, which was incredible. Lots of private dining events are held there during the snow polo tournament,” held each December.
“Jus (501 E. Hyman Ave., 970.710.7063) sells healthy juices in glass bottles and smoothies. One of my favorites is the Smurf, which is blue.The coloring is so beautiful, yet it’s all natural. Jour De Fête (710 E. Durant Ave., 970.925.5055) has the best croissant sandwiches.”
As a former Los Angeles resident, shopping matters to Yabandeh, who says the offerings in Aspen rival those on the West Coast. “If you walk through Gorsuch (419 E. Cooper Ave., 970.925.7576 ), you definitely will find many things you need,”from high-quality face serums to furs, as well as top-of-the-line ski suits from her favorite brand, Cordova. “The Little Bird (525 E. Cooper Ave., 970.920.3830 ) is my favorite consignment shop in the world, because most of the stuff has never been used. You even find awesome like-new, vintage pieces. When you go to Kemo Sabe (217 S. Galena St., 970.925.7878 ), it’s about the experience. You sit down, get a drink from a refrigerator, then roam around trying on hats.”