Liquid Assets

Messing Around in Boats


By Catherine Lutz June 14, 2022 Published in the Summer/Fall 2022 issue of Aspen Sojourner

Sailing at Ruedi Reservoir


With nearly 1,000 acres of surface water, Ruedi Reservoir offers plenty of room to play for all types of watercraft, and that includes motor-powered and wind-powered.

High-performance powerboats (rent them, and waterbikes, from outfitter Invertsports, 888-205-7119, launch from the marina boat ramp on the lake’s west side, mostly traveling its length in the same direction, towing water-skiers, wakeboarders, tubers, and—most popular these days—surfers. With boats and boards increasingly designed for this purpose, surfers ride the wake, playing the consistent wave as they would in the ocean and even dropping the rope, relying on the hydraulics to enjoy the ride.

The private Aspen Yacht Club ( offers a clubhouse, a boat ramp, and slips for members and guests in a bay on the north side. During the Ruedi Regatta (July 16–17, or informally on any windy day), it’s a treat to watch these sleek, specialized boats tacking and jibbing against a backdrop of steep forests and snowcapped peaks, gliding silently over water that’s a mile and a half above the level of the sea.

Fleets of smaller sailing craft used to launch from what locals still call “windsurf beach” (now Freeman Mesa day-use era)—but they’re rare now.

With 86 sites across five campgrounds around the Ruedi Reservoir—and plenty more further up the Fryingpan—water enthusiasts can call Ruedi home overnight or longer, making it a true getaway. Just make sure to reserve a campsite well in advance (, as demand is high, especially on weekends.

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