• Roses and thorns to Aspen Skiing Co. for its latest developments with the Ikon Pass. First, roses for extending the Ikon Base Pass to Aspen Skiing Co. customers who shell out big bucks to purchase a Premier Pass. That’s a nice added value.
However, we’re also giving Skico thorns for not acting quick enough to resolve an obvious problem with longer lift lines. Yes, we realize Skico says a big portion of the lines is due to more locals using their season passes more often, but it is obvious that big numbers of Ikoneers are hitting the Aspen-Snowmass slopes as well on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. Skico should have acted quicker to apply blackout days that apply to the Ikon Base Pass to the Ikon Pass as well — at least during Christmas-New Year’s, Martin Luther King Weekend and Presidents Day weekend.
• Roses to the people who help make the National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic a success. It’s such an uplifting and inspiring week here in the Roaring Fork Valley and makes a positive impact not only on those who attend but also on everyone who gets to meet the veterans and volunteers and see them in action. From the crew at the Aspen Elks Lodge to all those around Snowmass and the valley, the event continues to grow each year and the volunteers make the vets feel comfortable and welcomed.
• A rare thorn to Pitkin County Trails and Open Space for plans to further reroute the Skyline Ridge Trail. For some reason, the open space program is determined to remove all the steep, short (and fun) hills from Skyline Ridge. This summer it has enlisted help on volunteer nights to reroute the trail off the hill right below the Deadline-Viewline intersection. We understand that some of the earlier rerouting might have been necessary to eliminate a rutted double track. The rerouting last summer and this summer appear less about sustainability and more about creating a consistent trail system. We fear it will only invite more use to a system already overtaxed at times.
• Roses to Aspen Skiing Co. for boosting the first weekend of April with bands Umphree’s McGee and The String Cheese Incident. It the perfect response to the Winter X Games hip-hop/EDM scene, and this weekend’s lineup will provide a healthy dose of talented musicians hard at work. Hope to see you out there — the more folks who show up will give Skico plenty of reasons to bring The Apres back next year.
• Thorn to the bus driver on a recent full bus that was about to leave Rubey Park. As people were filling the Monday night bus, he first asked for people to give up their seats for kids. OK, that’s great. But then a few seconds later added: “And all you locals give up your seats to the visitors who pay our bills.”
Now, there are a few ways you can go with that. Many of us appreciate and talk to visitors while on the bus. But remember, Mr. Bus Driver, there are a lot of us locals who approved a new property tax to help the transportation system. Where’s our love?
• Roses to Torre for finally winning the mayor’s seat after multiple times falling short. Whatever one thinks about Torre — clearly the majority of Aspen voters approve of him — one has to tip their hat to him for his tenacity, resilience and refusal to not give up.