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Entries in wagner park (3)


Save Wagner Park  

FULL DISCLAIMER:   I live near Wagner Park in the center of Aspen.  I love Wagner Park.  My dog and I have played ball in Wagner Park almost every day for 11 years.  I believe that open spaces should be cherished and protected.   I want to save Wagner Park.

I have lost complete confidence in our elected officials and the City of Aspen to make well informed and reasonable decisions, especially concerning Wagner Park. They always seem to sell out to the highest bidder.  My Mom & Dad taught me to stick-up for myself, but warned me not to be a complainer.  Every once in a while those two traits come to loggerheads.   I don't want to sound like a complainer....but here's my take.

Polo Models...heeyyyy.SNOW POLO.  What the f*#k is Snow Polo?   It's a made up sport. In Aspen, it's a bunch of marketers trying to draw the seemingly upscale polo crowd to town in December (not exactly off season) .  I've attended  the snow polo matches several times... in Wagner Park, Rio Grande Park and Marolt Open Space.  Does Aspen really benefit from Snow Polo in the center of town?  What does Snow Polo bring to Aspen?  The crowd that attends breaks down as follows, A few rich older guys who are passionate about their expensive hobby.  Two Ralph Lauren male models...you know the guys...Nacho and Nick.  A few super hot chicks.   The rest is a  pack of freeloaders and hangers on who can drink almost anybody under the table...especially at a posh sponsored bar. A couple of years ago you may recall the White House wedding crashers were in town for Snow Polo and left a trail of unpaid bills behind them.

Wagner Park has never recovered from the last Snow Polo event held there in 2009. The turf was decimated...and no one disputes that.  When there was a lot of snow around here, before climate change, my dog and I found frozen horse turds in Rio Grande Park for months.   Hey...I'm not putting down Snow Polo...it works great at Marolt Open Space...except for one problem.   Everyone was too drunk to drive home...oh yeah,  and one of the horses had to be put down.  

PARKING STRUCTURE.  There has been a lot of talk  on & off about digging a parking structure under Wagner Park.   I will lay down in front of the bulldozers before that happens.  We already have a parking sturcture that nobody uses.  It's "off the beaten track"...fully...wait for it... 2 blocks from the center of town.  You want a parking structure?   Go to Vail.  And if you're a tea partier...go to Vail too.

Riots; Hopefully not in Aspen.X GAMES CONCERTS.  Have you been to X Games?  I have.  It's not exactly a tame crowd.  The town is packed, in fact its over packed.  One motel room easily sleeps 8 to 10 extreme sports fans.  A condo secured on VRBO can sleep 40-50 party mongers.  Lots of kids sleep in their vans...or just pass out face down in a pool of their own vomit. Yeah, I've been to X Games.   I love music.  I especially love outdoor concerts.  But a plan that calls for 6 foot chain link fences, 8 days of road closures,  huge spot lights and 50 extra security guards seems a bit extreme.

 Sure Disney...throw a show.  Bring in the Beatles.

Remember the last Winter concerts we had in Wagner Park in 2006 ?  it was a near riot.  The band was pelted off the stage with ice balls thrown in a drunken fury by many of our "guests".  So many people got wasted, that it looked like a battle field.  Oh yeah... the weather cooperated by giving us a sleet storm the night of the show.

We did get one concession from ESPN  this time around...a 10 x 10 detox tent.  The line for that will be staggering. I've heard it's sold out.

FOOD & WINE:  Wagner Park closes down for 3+  months in preparation for this bacchanal.  The streets are closed for 2 weeks.  Sure, its a good time...I know.   Many Aspenites feel F & W is a "great event" for the town.  Maybe it is?  I won't argue against that.  Is it good for the park??   Do we really need to "sell out" the park for more than 3 plus months for 2 days of F & W.  You would think there could be some sort of a compromise reached and F & W could be facilitated on the cement...where it belongs.  Watching 70 year olds stumble home in a drunken stupor is not new for me.  It's just not a pretty sight in the light of day.

USA PRO CHALLENGE:  Hey, I like the bike race.  It's a good time. I'm even OK with subsidizing it within reason.  Do I think the entire town should be shut down for 2 days?  No I don't!!!  You sure wouldn't want to get sick...or have a baby...or plan to fly or drive in or out of Aspen on those days.  Sorry.... the road is closed.

I keep hearing about how USA Pro puts Aspen on the "international stage" and of the millions of dollars in p.r. value we get from the USA Pro Challenge.  This past Summer I missed the USA Pro Challenge. Ironically, on day 1, the HUGE first stage..."live" from Aspen, I happened to walk into the Trek Superstore in Solana Beach, California. It's the #1 Trek bicycle dealer in the USA.  They had a TV playing in the store...but it was not tuned into NBC Sports and the USA Pro Challenge.   I asked the clerk " hey, who won the first stage of the USA Pro?". He looked at me blank faced...he didn't even know the race was happening.   I think the bike race is very cool...but does the entire town need to be closed down...I think not.

Do I sound cynical?  Do I sound angry? F#*k it...those are two of my best qualities. 

Let's audit the T & E. ACRA.  I laughed out loud at the recent article in the Aspen Daily News about ACRA's marketing budget.  ACRA gets an extra $1.9 million over and above their operating budget each year. The "extra" money is earmarked for marketing and originates from the lodging tax that was increased to 1.5% in 2010.  According to the ADN, ACRA spent $350K on advertising and $210K on p.r. last year.  That leaves $1.34 million for travel and entertainment.

 Niiiiiiice!!!   Boondoggles for journalists? Trips to NYC and California and Australia and South America for staff?  Awesome!!!   What is ACRA's marketing campaign?  Do we even have a slogan or a tag line for Aspen??   Like... Virginia is for Lover's...that kind of thing.  ACRA describes their success in nebulous terms and with projected and formulaic calculations about the actual reach.  Conclusions like " lots of eyeballs", "targeted story angles" and we had a "very strong summer" would not cut it in the real world.  

Lower occupancy rates...albeit higher average room rates does not translate into success as far as I'm concerned.   Placement in USA Today...wow??? I know a lot of people in the Forbes 400...not one of them reads USA today.  You can get a free USA today at any Hampton Inn.  ACRA's website set a new record in August with 75 ,000 visits??? Are those unique visits or page views? Either way, is that even impressive???  Not in my world it isn't.  Do they even know who their customers are?  Has ACRA targeted legitimate potential customers?  They seem to be going for "broad" coverage.  Thats one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of, especially with today's targeted ads.  Do they even look at the data and analyse it?

As a former member of ACRA, it appears to me that ACRA is most interested in ACRA. They are desk protectors who often put their own selfish goals ahead of their members.  Every year they pat themselves on the back for a "successful"  marketing program that yields very few tangible results.   Yet Aspen City Council continues to nod  their heads and rubber stamp ACRA's marketing contract.   If they put that thing out for competitive bids...I'd be willing to bet that Aspen could get twice the marketing coverage for half the price.  Who wants to bet?

So that's it.  That's my take.  Soon, Aspen Mountain will be open and I can re-focus on skiing and other recreational activities instead of all the transparent political bullsh*t that has been part of everyday life here in Aspen for more than 50 years.   

Why do I care so much??  I'd be better off if I didn't.


Food & Wine: Pre-Game. a.k.a. Tent City

The Food & Wine Classic has taken over Aspen.  This will be AspenSpin's first F&W Classic...assuming we can successfully sneak in.   In the old days, blowing $1500 to drink our face off for the weekend wouldn't have required a second thought.  Now after 10 years of skiing every day and partying every night...and receiving media access to almost every event in Aspen...it's crash the party or die.

A-Spin did receive VIP invites to several off-site parties hosted indirectly from the F & W hoopla.  We're especially looking forward to the Grand Cochon at the Hotel Jerome on Sunday June 16...Father's Day.  Everybody loves pig...right?  The Grand Cochon will crown the King and Queen of Porc. 10 chefs in 10 cities will compete for the crown.  Click: PIG for tickets and info.

Food & Wine is BIG Business.  Most people don't realize that event host Food & Wine Magazine is owned by American Express.  5000 guests, thousands of volunteers and staff and an estimated 15,000 man hours of set-up time go into the Food and Wine Classic.  Wagner Park was closed for 3 months in preparation for F & W and its been fenced off for the past week paroled by security guards protecting the tents.  F & W classic is a big deal...but when do the benefits outweigh the good?  I've asked local politicians about the "true economic impact" F & W brings to Aspen. Their eyes roll back in their heads...and they act like they dont understand the question.  Unless I'm mistaken American Express is the big winner from F & W.  Another blip on their income statement, while the town and Wagner Park are held hostage.  No matter if the turf gets trashed every year for a 2 day event.  I'm sure some of Aspen's businesses thrive during the weekend.  F & W puts heads on beds, so thats good...but can't they find a more suitable location to monopolize other than the best green space in town?  Wagner Park is the centerpiece of Aspen...and we rent it out to the highest bidder. Another personal pet peeve, my street is closed and 50% of the parking spots in the A & B sectors of town are reserved for two weeks. The town is over-run with 18 wheelers and heavy equipment bringing in food and gear.  That's in addition to the 15 unrelated major construction projects clogging up the Aspen core right now.

What ev's...hopefully F & W will be HUGE fun. All the alcoholics love it. I'm not really a drinker...but I'll document the scene.  A photo essay about the substance abuse may not win me any awards.  I'm told that  F & W is the hardest drinking weekend of the year, and Aspen is a hard partying town.  Just have one question for ACRA and The City...how does AXP's a$$ taste.

In honor of AspenSpin's first F & W Classic we have penned a little diddy. 

Sung to the tune of Mickey Avalon's, My D*@k:


my tent look like a city  / your tent so itty bitty

my tent all HUGE & white /your tent, a Coor's Lite

my tent all over town / your sh*t look like a clown

my tent, security guards / your tent, right,filled with tards

my tent got a designer /  your tent takes selfies like Anthony D. Weiner

my tent pose like George Clooney  / your tent look like Tim Mooney

my tent a full on metropolis / your tent... Zach Galifianakis

my tent filled with booze & ho's /  your tent got nuttin' to show

Time to let the world know/    Dude, ya gotta let the park grow.    Aspen,  the best in the business / P.S. we got tents like Jesus.

Time to let the world know/    Dude, ya gotta let the park grow.    A-Spin is the best in the business / P.S. we got tents like Jesus.

my tent sized like a dinosauer / your tent, a reoccuring cold sore

my tent dunk like Shaq  / your tent go quack quack quack

my tent got a BIG giant Afro /  your tent cant get a pube to grow

my tent flies private on a G / your tent drives a gremlin from AMC

my tent has cash like Goldman / your tent folds like Lehman

my tent do pilaties /  your tent be sandy like Saudis

my tent squats 550 /  yout tent shops at thrifty

my tent party at da club / your tent nuttin' but a scrub a scrub

my tent, doin shots with shorties / your tent paper bags & forties

Time to let the world know/    Dude, ya gotta let the park grow.    Aspen is the best in the business / P.S. we got tents like Jesus.

Time to let the world know/    Dude, ya gotta let the park grow.    A-Spin is the best in the business / P.S. we got tents like Jesus....tents like Jesus.







Back 2 Back Parties

AspenWeather.net. Plan your POW Day. Click 4 pix.It was a nice little Tuesday during the off season (almost). 2 parties in one night at the same place, Sky Bar.

The first soiree was in honor of Phil Le Roux, a 10 year Aspen vet and one of the top ski instructors at Aspen / Snowmass.  He's pulling the plug.  Guernsey's heading to Verbier to start his own ski and guiding company.  We wish him the best of luck on his new entrepreneurial adventure.   Click the pix to see yourself on FaceBook;  BACK 2 BACK Parties.

Thew second bash was the unofficial kick-off for AspenWeather.net.   Ryan Boudreau and Cory Gates are blowing it up BIG time on the internet.  Their weather site is stroming Aspen.  good luck to those guys as they try to predict the weather and help "plan your POW Day". 

Some of you may have seen my comment on FB about Wagner Park being closed for 3 months as an accommodation for The Food and Wine Classic (a 3 day event).  I'm calling bullsh*t on that.  I remember when people came to Aspen for the NATURAL BEAUTY, the RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES and the LAID BACK VIBE.   Now we need to offer Veuve Cliquot and Fireworks to attract the crowds.  I've opined before about the economic impact of some of our special events.  I keep hearing how "great" they are for the community. Tell me,  how great are they?  Let's put a number on it.  How many room nights, how many growlers of beer, how many fly fishing trips.   What's the true economic value?   No one loves events more than AspenSpin...but at what cost?  And for whose benefit. Follow the dollars.  Do the numbers, City of Aspen, before you tell us how "great" the events are and use our resources...you should measure the impact.

I give Aspen / Snowmass credit for tweeting honestly about today's high winds, lightening and the Gondy being on hold. When I saw the Limelight tweeting about the snow...I had to laugh. 

Tiny Klout Flag37The Limelight Hotel @LimelightAspen

"A little birdie just told us that it's snowing on top of Mtn right now. There's a bit more winter out there yet!

Maybe it will snow this weekend?  We're counting on it.

Phil "Guernsey" Le Roux and his boys. Good luck in Verbier, mate.Amanda showing her Aussie Mates...how its done Aspen Style. Click 4 pix.