Aspen was recently named the drunkest city in Colorado by a website called Roadsnacks. Fat City lived up to that moniker this past weekend during the Apres Ski Cocktail Classic.
I really like the local people who produce the Apres Ski Cocktail Classic (ASCC). They are hard working professional event producers. I've witnessed the impressive growth of ASCC over the past 3 years. Click ASCC for all the info. It's a fun event. I do not mean to disprespect their efforts, but I was astonished by the level of inebreation at their event. It seemed unhealthy.
Click 4 Pix: DRUNK FEST in ASPEN
I get it...people love to drink. They love to party. Aspen is a party town. In fact some would say AspenSpin has glorified that image. Well then...now I feel guilty. I don't drink anymore. It's been about 15 months since any alcohol has passed my lips. I never drank much to begin with...but now I've completely cut out booze. No beer, no wine, nothing.
I've been in Aspen a while. I've seen plenty of fresh-faced young adults, the freshman class, come to Aspen and drink their heads off...and eventualy drink themselves right out of town. Some people can't handle it. I know plenty of guys...my age... who drank themselves out of their career...or their marriage. I know a few people in town who drink heavily almost every night. Some are still ripping skiers...even after a massive bender...but they are rarely on the first gondola. Their faces often as red as beets under their goggles. I lived on the Aspen Mall for 5 years and saw the aftermath of many a "big night". My beloved dog Carmelo used to sniff out piles of vomit in the snow almost every morning. Broken bottles and glasses, cigarettes butts, gloves, pieces of clothing, underwear, i-phones, car keys...you name it we've found it on the Mall after a huge night.
Call me skeptical...but skiing while drunk is not a good situation. From what I recall, alcohol consumption can have a negative effect on your balance, your reflexes and your reaction time. All three are critical when skiing. On Saturday...Hendrick's was passing out free gin drinks at the top of Aspen Mountain. Patron Tequila was passing out free shots at Buckhorn Cabin and the ubiqutious Oasis, a mobile on-mountain champagne bar was open for business (not free). Beer and wine and hard liquor are offered for purchase at the on-mountain restaurants.
It was a sunny bluebird Colorado day. The Ajax Tavern at the base was going off. It was not part of the ASCC. 100's of white people with very little rhythm dancing in ski boots to black music that came out 20 years ago. O.P.P.--- yeah you know me. Spraying bottles of bubbly is now de rigueur in Aspen. Everyone does it. It used to be just for when you won the World Series. The ASCC set up tents on either side of Ajax Tavern with about 30 big-time liquor brands offering samples and some sweet swag. If was a fun scene...no dobut. Super-star bartenders (a.k.a. life-style ambassadors) from across the country were pouring craft cocktails. Craft distilleries were sharing their award winning products via unlimited tastings. I got word that in the private tasting room at the Little Nell, a $5000 bottle of scotch was downed by the always thirsty VIP guests.
Yeah...it was fun. Everybody had fun. There were a lot of extremely drunk people cruising Aspen this weekend. Both on-mountain and off. They were not just buzzed, bro... these folks were wasted. Over served? Maybe so. I can only hope and pray that none of them were driving. Sunday brought out the official ASCC pub crawl. From 2pm to 6pm, 14 stops in the Aspen core. Scotch, Bourbon, Rye, Vodka, Gin, Tequilla, Brandy...all your best friends were invited. After 3 days of boozing...several pub crawlers were literally drooling and stumbling their way through the streets of Aspen to the next cocktail venue.
My conclusion: Everyone loves to have fun. ASCC is fun. It's good for some of the local businesses. The big liquor brands need to spend their marketing dollars some where, it might as well be in Aspen. But there is nothing glorious about over-drinking. The "cocktail life-style" is not that cool, despite it's glorification by Ski Co. and The Aspen Times. Next year I'll be ready with a man-bun and a waxed mustache. How do the ASCC guests feel after 3 days of heavy imbibing? Not good...I assume. Do they make it to work on Monday? Aspen Mountain was like a ghost town on Monday morning despite 5 inches of fresh Pow Pow. Personally I do not enjoy watching people drink so much that they can't function. Especially in a town known to have a wee bit of a substance abuse problem. One local...wet his khakis, right in front of me... because he was too drunk to get to the men's bathroom. His face revealed a devilish grin as he tied his hoodie around his waste to hide the wet spot and he laughed as he sloshed off for another hand-crafted cocktail.
So what's my point? Don't ski drunk. Another suggestion, don't day drink and night drink three days in a row. Also, if your partying takes you to a level where you cannot control your body and it's functions...take a break. Have a water.
Hey...it's Aspen. People are going to party...and in many cases over-party. We're used to it.
Click 4 Pix: DRUNK FEST in ASPEN