Beckwith: The summer of all parts
May 31, 2017
An old adage for Aspen is you come for the winter and stay for the summer. Did I say adage? I meant cliche. The difference between the two is minimal. I'm not going to give you the definition of the two because you have the internet — that and chucking Webster into a piece is cliche. The early bird gets the worm, though wise in certain situations, isn't always true. Day-old doughnuts aren't as good as fresh ones, but they're cheaper. You can't make an entrance if you show up early. So how true is the saying "Come for the winter, stay for the summer," really?
Just from a logistical standpoint, coming for the summer and getting housing after the winter purge is a better idea. Even if finding housing around Aspen is like trying to find a unicorn, it's easier when every Jerry who's watched "The Art of Flight" and wanted to embrace ski-bum life is moving out rather than in.
Also, why do you think I called it a purge? Work is a slog in the winter. Powder days help, but there are plenty of days when you don't get a run and only a glancing glimpse of sun. After a long day on the grind, would you rather go to the gym and listen to that weird guy grunt in the corner or get lost on a quiet hiking trail? Your friends can still drag you off cliffs but with softer landings. Soft, pillowy pow days beat almost anything you put up against them, but summer is half as stressful as ski season.
If you are only trying to visit, I'd argue coming for the summer is better, as well. Lodging is cheaper. Traveling to town isn't dependent on weather conditions. Driving from the Front Range over Independence Pass is prettier and less intense. Whether it's quicker than taking Interstate 70 is an argument I'm not sure will ever be resolved. I'm of the opinion that it is faster, but people assert it's not because they "timed it." All I know is I like to avoid Vin Diesel and The Rock swerving around semis at high speeds on crowded mountain passes.
Speaking of clusters of dumb people, moving through town isn't like trying to navigate a packed house party. You don't need a fat bike or those ridiculous removable spikes for shoes to go to town. If you have a super dope, flossed-out golf cart, you can use that without having to pay for parking (if it's electric). Maybe acting like a rich person on a European vacation is your thing, then take the Vespa for a spin.
Beer gardens and patios are open. Reservations still need to be made but they're easier to get. To this day, I've never been able to land a seven-top at Matsuhisa the same day as requested, no matter how many times the wealthy wife hovering over the front desk insists I ask. However, if you're trying to take your lady out for an impromptu date, you can sneak up to the sushi bar with a bit of luck.
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The free outdoor concert series in Snowmass is better than braving freezing nights for shows standing on an icy street in Aspen or snow at the X Games. Walking to work is surreal at times during the summer; kids are playing in the fountain, dogs are frolicking in the park, people are lunching in fancy hats, and there are music students playing freaking Mozart on every other street corner. Seriously, home dude with a hat on the ground playing his five-string guitar has to compete against an international array of music prodigies for a meal. Also note to music students: You are the spring breakers of the summer. Despite what Mr. Pink says, you need to tip.
And before you bring skiing up once more, let me rattle off a few things: camping, floating, fishing, barbecues, sun dresses, flip flops, swimming pools, paddle boards and skateboards.
In conclusion, come for the summer, stay for the winter should be the actual adage. It's just new, much like the late riser gets the day old.
Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at email@example.com.
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