It's that time of year again in our fabled mountain town. As the summer sun begins to wane and cast autumn's long, golden mountain shadows, the local high country black bruins are in a calorie-cramming feeding frenzy.
In addition to the Aspen Times, the Aspen Daily News, and a variety of Denver television stations, the bears have received considerable press in the Wall Street Journal and the Pique Newsmagazine of Whistler, Canada. Even the BBC has a great series of pictures showing a bear climbing out of the skateboard park in Snowmass.
Learning to ski or snowboard is easy.
First, be under 21.Then slip, slide, tumble and bruise your way down the most difficult trail on the highest mountain you can find. Repeat eight hours a day, seven days a week until mommy and daddy’s money runs out or Christmas break is over.
Snowmass Village – The Snowmass Village Water and Sanitation (and Paleontology?) District has usurped the community spotlight, even as elections loom. It may not have been in the original job description, but recently the Water and Sanitation District employees have taken on the roles of paleontologists and museum curators. While working to enlarge Ziegler Reservoir above Snowmass Village on October 14th, a machine operator noticed something odd emerging from the ground. Upon further examination, he realized that they were very large bones.
ASPEN, CO On May 16, 2010, long-time Aspen local Christy Mahon became the first woman and the seventh person ever, to ski all 54 of Colorado’s 14,000 foot mountains, affectionately known as the Colorado 14’ers. It was a charmed last ascent, that final lap on Capitol, the mountain she’d been dreading the most. “Some tremendous skiers, like Chris Davenport, have skied Capitol and said it was one of the scariest things they’ve done,” says Mahon. “I remember thinking, am I good enough? Am I putting my partners at risk?”
She hiked the local Sunnyside trail last spring and gazed out at Capitol, with awe. “I had a little chat with the mountain. I said, ‘Hi Capitol, I’m Christy and I’m going to try and ski you this winter – if we could just get along for while, that’d be great.’”
My friend Pete is a smart-ass. He’s the first to tell you, if for some reason you don’t identify it on your own. He lived here for 20 years on and off, according to the final tally.
Josh Griggs, co-owner of Ute City Medicinals, Aspen’s third and latest medical marijuana dispensary, runs up the stairs and shakes my hand. “Sorry we’re a little late,” he says, with a chuckle: “It’s just the nature of our business!”
The ballots for Aspen’s election have been cast, the weather is fair with daytime highs in the mid-60s, and a sizable portion of downtown looks like either a ghost town or an ominous industrial construction site. Nonetheless, there are still a myriad of reasons to make the trip to Aspen during the month of May, or at least what is left of it.
Aspen would be a pretty cool place if everybody (else) would just leave. That’s the message loud and clear that an increasing number of public and private personalities are delivering all over Pitkin county.
Aspen, CO - This April has proven to be a monumental month for the Environment Foundation, receiving donations of more than $100,000. The Foundation plans to spread the funding across 18 well-deserving projects that aid in sustaining the quality of the Roaring Fork Valley and its surrounding areas.
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.