No. No. No. No. No.
People who want to stop the beetles from destroying the forests of Aspen first have to fight a pest even bigger and more obnoxious. More determined. Maybe even smarter: Environmentalists.
So let’s start with a reality check:
1) Enviros are crazy.
2) Enviros in and out of Aspen are controlling what happens to the beetles.
Despite a fairytale image, Aspen has not been impervious to the tsunami of distressing economic news. In a certain sign of the times, headlines in the Aspen Daily News or the Aspen Times hint at gloomy economic conditions: the turtle-like crawl of vacation real estate sales, raising unemployment rates, and lower-than-average hotel occupancy are common themes littering the local headlines. Even in fantasyland woebegone national news of corporate bankruptcies, gloomy markets, bailout quagmires, foreclosures, and bank buyouts contribute to a crestfallen public consciousness.
As off-season transitions into summer high season, there are signs of a silver lining to the doom and gloom. Warm weather means Jimmy Buffett melodies, backyard grilling, rafting trips, shorts and flip-flops, and the opening of the narrow, 12,000 foot switchback over Independence Pass, making Aspen immediately accessible to historic Leadville. Although everything isn’t peaches and blue bonnets in this alpine resort town, a gang of intrepid Aspen-based entrepreneurs, business-owners, and organizations are still swinging for the fences by opening up shop or preparing for a superlative line-up of festivals and events occurring over the summer. Here’s a list of new and noteworthy shops, restaurants, and events debuting with giggly excitement for the summer 2009 season, economic torpedoes be damned.
ASPEN, CO - Billionaires are a part of the Aspen experience, in one way or the other. Love it or hate it, this simple yet controversial reality is a flattering testament to Aspen’s international magnetism and gravitational pull.
What makes dining in Aspen so special? According to chef Mario Batali, it’s because of a “kind of hippy, laid back approach to local and serious food.” Known for colorful television appearances, best-selling books, signature Orange Crocs, and a sophisticated coterie of Italian eateries in New York, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, I caught up with Batali via e-mail before touching down in Aspen to attend the 27th Annual Food & Wine Classic.