Mountain Mayhem: September
Perhaps my favorite month of the year anywhere, September is especially meaningful in Aspen with the changing of the foliage, typically warm weather and more relaxed pace following a busy summer.
Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) invites members to relish in fall events up Castle Creek Road at the Catto Center at Toklat. A favorite fall event is the Fall Colors Membership Potluck, which this year has been repackaged as a series of mini-membership picnics offered from Sept. 18 to 24. With RSVPs limited to 25 per evening and advance registration required, ACES was able to continue a tradition, just flexing the structure of it in the pandemic. The Catto Center at Toklat was once the family home of one of ACES’ most influential founders, Stuart Mace, and holds great meaning for the Aspen community. Toklat, an Inuit word meaning “headwaters,” referencing its setting located near the headwaters of Castle Creek, was built by Stuart and his wife Isabel in 1948 as a wilderness lodge and family home. In 2004, with the help of longtime ACES supporters Jessica Hobby Catto and her husband, Henry, ACES bought Toklat to preserve Stuart’s legacy and this community touchstone. Artist-in-residence Trevor Washko lives on site there where he runs his gallery, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. “until the leaves drop” and sells handstitched bison leather goods. “I’ve put a lot of people to work to help me make everything you see here,” he added, such as journals, flasks, bags and more.
The Aspen Fringe Festival presented a sneak peek live dance performance on Friday, Sept. 18, outside at the Rink in Snowmass Base Village. Sammy Altenau and Giacomo Bavutti, both NYC-based dancers who were furloughed this summer and “stuck in Snowmass Village,” said Fringe Festival artistic director David Ledingham, performed a free, 10-minute pop-up performance. It served as a culture dose for the socially distanced audience and a teaser for the festival’s fall program this Friday, Sept. 25, and Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Aspen District Theatre.