Aspen Untucked: Measuring life in seasons
This past Sunday, two of Aspen Skiing Co.’s four mountains were alive in celebration for the end of the season.
At Snowmass, daring skiers and snowboarders dressed in strange attire and tried their luck at a pond skim in the 10th annual Schneetag, while others watched with genuine amusement. There also were the park riders who competed in Smith Optics Grudge Match for a cash prize.
At Aspen Mountain, others tried out their latest and greatest trick on the legendary Boyd’s Bump, and hundreds participated in the Bell Mountain Buck-Off. In its 47th year, this group descent is held every closing day, attracting locals and visitors alike.
No matter which mountain, everyone on the slopes headed to the bases at the end of the ski day and toasted the conclusion of the 2017-18 season. As the sun started to set, most headed home, nursing their already forming hangovers in preparation for the beginning of the week.
In a lot of ways, this was the ski season that never was. It had a lot of challenges; well, actually just one mainly: lack of snow. However, things picked up toward the end, and this past weekend, we saw some great skiing conditions paired with two beautiful bluebird days, as if Mother Nature felt the need to give this season a proper send off with us.
In Aspen, we tend to gauge time in seasons rather than years. At the end of a busy winter or summer, we often see big changes. Stores or restaurants may decide to close, either for the offseason or permanently, and new places finish up construction and get ready to open. It’s also a time when friends come and go, possibly making a move away from the valley or deciding to return after a hiatus.
I typically always write some kind of column when the winter or summer season comes to an end, because it changes daily life in Aspen so drastically. Suddenly, we switch up the outdoor sports we’re doing, our favorite restaurants and hangouts close their doors, the number of events and happenings decrease drastically and, for the first time in months, it’s easy to find parking in the downtown core.
But, besides the physical changes that come with the seasons, I do find this time important because it gives us all a moment to mentally reset. We’ve skied hard all season (yes, even this year), perhaps putting off other important tasks or projects, like taking that class at CMC, building something new in our house, reading that book that’s been sitting on our bedside table, calling our mothers, washing our cars or perhaps even showering regularly. The list goes on and on. Whatever tasks they are, big or small, we now have some time to address them, since we won’t be spending all of our free minutes skiing and aprèsing.
For me, I have a lot of personal writing projects I’d like to complete, a few books I’m hoping to read, and some long weekend trips I’m planning in order to unwind. Whatever chore, project or plan you’ve been pushing to the back of your mind, maybe now is the time to take it on. After all, when the summer gets here, we all know that any spare time will be spent in the outdoors … as it should be.
Barbara Platts has a long to do list that it’s time to address. Hopefully some of it gets done before summer begins. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @BarbaraPlatts.
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