Roger Marolt
Columnist
Snowmass Village, CO, Colorado

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October 30, 2012
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Roger Marolt: A trip down Memory Lane, littered with junk

Do you know what the silliest byproduct of the failed Base Village project is? I'll give you a hint. It's not the false front they plastered on the parking garage, replete with painted on windows and shutters through which you can almost imagine seeing naked people walking around in their thousand-dollar per night bus stop-view hotel room.

You might also think the silliest remnant is the large asphalted pull-out along Brush Creek Road on the northeast side of the roundabout. You know, the parking lot with the little shacks spaced evenly across the middle provoking the first salient question: are the shacks outhouses or guard houses?

The second question is why you would need either in the middle of a parking lot on the edge of a small town anywhere in the free world.

I'm sorry that I don't have an answer for that, but after talking to half the people in this town, none of whom had the faintest idea what that pull-out/parking lot is for much less what those shacks were designed to be, I gave up.

Maybe we should actually turn those shacks into outhouses and convert the space into a rest stop. We don't need either and nobody will probably use either, but at least we will rest easy knowing that, after they have been converted to sheltered toilet pits, we will never have to worry about guards being stationed in them.

Another thing leftover from the good 'ol days when we fancied ourselves as Beaver Creek Southwest is the shorter, fatter Sam's Knob. Remember all the work that was put into scraping the tons and tons of earth off the top of The Knob? There were weekly updates in the paper. Chairlifts had to be reconfigured. People would hike up there at night and be as amazed at the scale of the hilltop scalping as if the space aliens who built the great pyramids of Egypt were doing the general contracting on the job.

Then it was finished and we got, what, a new barbeque joint on the ski area? $18 pulled pork sandwiches? The food is good and all, but that can't be the reason millions of dollars were spent to lop 20 vertical feet off a mountain top, is it? I just don't remember what the real reason was. A private club up there? That members would have to ride an outdoor chairlift to get to? No, nobody was stupid enough to think that was a good idea, not even back when timeshares sounded like a good idea.

Don't forget the roundabout, either. It's really nice, but hardly necessary. To make any sense out of the traffic circle's existence, you have to take yourself back to a time long before we desperately spent money on studies to see how the discovery of old mammoth bones might salvage our economy, when it was easy to envision thousands of cars and buses streaming up Brush Creek Road, their passengers trying to decide whether or not begin the ski experience at Two Creeks or Fanny Hill and needing the tired and truly silly Vail way to keep traffic flowing the faux European way.

However ridiculous these things seem, the thing I really had my mind on when I set out on this trip down Memory Lane, all cluttered with junk in the ditches along the sides, was the passing lane about two-thirds of the way up Brush Creek Road.

It's as ridiculous to each and every motorist driving into our town for the first time as it is embarrassing to those of us who remember accepting this as a community benefit from the Base Village developers.

Yes, this two-hundred yard long patch of freeway inserted into the middle of a shoulder-less county road was wrapped up and presented to us as a traffic mitigation gift from the good folks who brought us the Mess at the Mass. And, we actually thought we were sticking it to them!

It's really not that any of this stuff bothers me. It just arouses in me an anthropological kind of curiosity, as in, "What the heck were the people of that lost era thinking about when they did this stuff?"

It's too bad that none of the people who were behind it are around anymore to talk to about it (except for Mel, but he claims not to remember). Think about it: as time passes it is not out of the realm of possibility that future generations of Village people will know more about ice age mammoths than what was to be the renaissance of their own town.

Roger Marolt remembers when the shacks at the entrance to town were in the middle of the road. Even then you couldn' t be sure what kind of business the people in them were taking care of. Contact him at roger@maroltllp.com.


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The Aspen Times Updated Oct 30, 2012 05:35PM Published Oct 30, 2012 03:52PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.