Aspen during prime time can be a double edged sword. The beauty and the mountains remain the same, but the town explodes with a swarming assemblage of extremely entitled tourists. Off-mountain gapers if you will. Don't get me wrong...the glitz and the glamour is what originally attracted me to Aspen, but something seems different now. I know, I know...it's a resort town and tourism is it's lifeblood, but Aspen can be a little nauseating when its at full capacity.
Maybe its all in my imagination...but the guests don't seem as friendly as they used to be. I guess when you fly your own jet ( or pay $1500 for a commercial flight) and own a $10 million second home ( or pay $2k per night for a hotel room) you have certain expectations and everyone in your path is supposed to comply. Our guests are used to getting their way...even on vacation. This past holiday season set all-time records in Aspen for skier visits, revenues, incoming flights and douche bag encounters.
The first week of 2015...was perhaps the quietest portion of the ski season...and I for one liked it. Despite all the publicity, Winterskol has become a bore... we skipped it for the most part. Apologies to the brainiacs at ACRA but free soup and kettle corn isn't that exciting and does not seem to be attracting "Aspen-type" visitors. Aspen's fourth fire works display in 10 days proved that explosions are just not that special anymore. I guess I'm officially a jaded, cranky local now.
For 2015 I've promised myself not to get frustrated by the little stuff. I'm still not oblivious to Aspen's unusual political process, the excessive (and often needless) spending of the local government or those people who insist on repeating the expand, expand, expand mantra. I just don't care anymore. I too still want Aspen to be the best Aspen it can be, at least my vision of it. I miss the "howdy neighbor" aspect of small town life. But I'm resigned to the inevitable. The soul of Aspen has been almost fully depreciated. It's kind of sad, really. The soul of Aspen? What's that? I'm not exactly sure, but it seems to have relocated down-valley.
I recently had an epiphany about Aspen. Call it the Aspen Effect. I didn't come for the lot-line to lot-line buildings, or the designer apparel, or the double deep basements for hoop courts, or the champagne happy hours or the $70 entrees. None of that is under my control. I came for the mountains. Ripping hot laps on the groomers, or pillowing the soft POW POW or challenging my skills and my party body on the bumped-out double diamonds or hiking the Aspen Highland Bowl..... thats why I came here. I don't want to forget that.
So 2015 is a new year and a new strategy for A.Party. When a speeding Range Rover or RFTA bus runs a stop sign and almost takes me and Carmelo out...I stop, yield and say in a friendly tone..."after you". When a super aggro Noooo Yawker cuts in front of me in line at the sundeck I simply smile and say "you first". And when it snows and most of the guests are still sleeping...and the mountain is quiet...I get up there early and claim what's mine. The fresh Colorado Powder. That part is pretty much the same (but don't get me going on climate change).
Call it the Aspen Effect.