Even in Aspen, Colorado, it's no crime to admit that you are just not that into skiing or snowboarding. Maybe you never were. Or maybe that last run knocked all the snow out of you.
Either way, while your friends frolic down the slopes, you need something to do besides going to the movies over and over and over.
Do not despair. Aspen has lots to do.
It is not difficult to find La Cantina: look for the only adobe building on Main Street. Located in Downtown Aspen across from the Hotel Jerome, La Cantina is a muy caliente hang out for margaritas, nachos, and enchiladas, even when it’s blustery and cold in the middle of the winter.
In 1982, Russian film director Slava Tsukerman directed and released a colorful and erratic sci-fi film about space aliens migrating to New York City to prey on human endorphins. The film, titled Liquid Sky, became a midnight movie phenomenon, as well as a cult classic to many left-of-cool cinephiles.
It doesn’t take much to picture the scene in office buildings around the country: talk of the latest basketball gossip over the water cooler while eager middle management overlords distribute Xeroxed brackets. The intern or mailroom clerks organizing company-wide betting pools.
Well, stole the show for those who enjoy pull-ups more than extreme snow-sports, at least. Ever since I saw the iconic leg-lamp from the timeless movie classic A Christmas Story, and the exaltation that it brought its proud owner, I had longed for my own major award (Scene in question). This year, I'd get my chance. But it would take more than knowing the name of the Lone Ranger's nephew's horse; this was going to require a feat of strength.
The task: complete more pull-ups than all competitors of the day.
The stakes: one limited-edition Navy / X Games snowboard.
I found out about the the Navy Seal's Winter X Games pull up event five days prior to showtime. I got strategic, and planned two workouts to cram into my limited prep time. First, I had to hop on the bar and see where I stood: twenty three, and a little sloppy. I expected the contest to require strict dead-hang form (which it did), so I knew there was work to be done.
Bluegrass at Base Village: Sam Bush discusses Aspen, Bluegrass, The Summer of Love, and being a Kentucky Colonel.
Bill Monroe, the late mandolin-pickin’ granddaddy of modern bluegrass, once described his beloved genre as “Scotch bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin'. It's Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound. It's plain music that tells a good story. It's played from my heart to your heart, and it will touch you. Bluegrass is music that matters."
Bluegrass matters because – much like jazz – it is deeply rooted in the nitty-gritty of the American experience. It’s a genre of colloquial homespun lyrics, plucky melodies, and tight, breakneck acoustic riff. Bluegrass has a certain rustic nostalgia and rural romanticism, serving as an apropos soundtrack for a sequestered high alpine town like Aspen. Dust back the pages of Aspen’s history a century or so and it is easy to envision the scene: motley and haggard silver miners sitting around a fire, drinking whiskey, and strumming at a weathered banjo while crooning a Stephan Foster song after a long day in the craggy underbelly of Smuggler Mountain.
Aspen, CO - Truthfully, I wasn’t really waiting; I was more anticipating. It was a quiet, overcast winter afternoon, dark sky, bright snow, and I was already settled down for the day. Any staring at the phone was my own choice, afraid I’d miss the call because the ringer was on vibrate and not train whistle, or that I’d miscalculated the time change in Aspen, Colorado and shouldn’t have gone in search of coffee without my cell phone. Past experience has taught me that a watched phone never rings but lo and behold, at 3:47 p.m., Eastern Time, the train whistle started blowing. It was Rufus on the line with a friendly, drawn out “Hiiiiiii!”
The Aspen scene operates on a relatively simple daily timeline. Wake up, eat breakfast, ski until 4:00 pm, grab a slope side après ski libation, relax and socialize in the hotel hot tub before dressing to impress and heading out on the town for dinner and a little late night partying.
He grew up in the land of chocolates and sailed to the new world, to spread his magic; International composer and filmmaker Emanuele “Manny” Tozzi’s story has touches of fairy dust, and his magical gifts have come to Aspen.