Platts: Setting up and taking down
Once again, the town has deflated. After a weekend of indulgences ranging from electronic dance music sets to edible and/or ethanol binges, X Games weekend, and all of the riff-raff it brings, have left the premises.
I heard someone say early last week, while hoards of athletes and their followers entered town, that Aspen is like a pop-up tent. We inflate when “duty” (aka ESPN, International Ski Federation, Food & Wine Magazine, Wanderlust, etc.) calls and we take down the facade when “duty” leaves, saying our goodbyes to the various crowds just as quickly as we said our hellos.
This is the nature of any resort town. Sometimes the community is busy and other times it’s incredibly quiet. But Aspen’s name attracts more than fanatic skiers and snowboarders. Snow conditions were less than impressive last weekend and it was still the biggest attended X Games recorded yet, with more than 115,000 people showing up to the base of Buttermilk. And probably more than that in town, because us seasoned X Games goers know the view is better from TV.
Then, the party heads out. Each time they leave, us locals remain, tallying up the number of arrests from the weekend, the hotel rooms filled and the profits made by local businesses. We remain in Aspen, preparing for the next big weekend, but also enjoying a calm that can only come after a spurt filled with intense amounts of happenings.
Our lives are far from mundane in this town. In fact, they are intensely sporadic. Often people blame the drastic change in seasons on our hectic lifestyles, but it’s much more than that. Each weekend during the season, a different crowd and a different celebration rolls in. One minute we’re watching Walter Isaacson interview Hilary Clinton about her autobiography and the next, we are baring witness to a young girl legitimately arguing that Buttermilk should be renamed “Breast Milk” (I was probably only one of 20 people on a bus to hear this argument…but I still had to mention it). She blamed the drugs for her rampant creativity. (And also offered her seat to a random guy followed by, “Sit here, I’ll just sit on your face.”)
Although we are well-versed on complaining about these crowds — the way my friends were talking over X Games weekend you would’ve thought a new species had arrived on Earth and quickly made it’s way to Aspen — it’s also a source of pride for us. We are on the inside looking out and we highly regard that position. After all, they’re just here for a weekend vacation. This paradise is our day-to-day life.
Despite the bro bras, the crowds and the hangovers that most of us will probably be nursing for the next couple of weeks, we are fortunate to be here and to have so many others that want to be here as well…even if they are silly tourists.
Barbara Platts is a recovering Aspen tourist. She’s now been a local for two and a half years. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @BarbaraPlatts.
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