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A small favor

Nate Peterson

So there I was last Friday, alone in Silverton in the middle of a snowstorm, drinking green beer with the locals at the Miner’s Tavern. Silverton has a population of 531. I couldn’t really go to any bar in town, much less the most popular bar, and not expect to get some ribbing from the locals. The first person I met was Johnny Gillin, a 24-year-old lifelong Silverton local. After graduating with a class of 10 from Silverton High, Johnny attended CSU in Fort Collins. But he couldn’t stand life on the crowded Front Range, so he came home.After a few beers, he warmed up to me.”So you’re from Aspen, huh?” Johnny said. “Just do me one favor. Don’t turn any rich Aspen [bleeps] onto my town. You know, Aspen used to be a mining town, too.”A short while later, I ran into Bernie, the manager of the nearby Prospector Inn. Bernie sold me a room for the night for $34 after it became apparent I wasn’t going to make it over the pass to Durango.I asked Bernie – a 21-year local – if Silverton was in danger of being overpopulated. Nearby Silverton Mountain continues to attract more skiers each year and is set to offer unguided skiing for the first time this season, starting after this weekend.Bernie just shrugged his shoulders at the question. He told me Silverton was the last town in the U.S. to get 911 service.He also said it’s not rare for the town to get so much snow that the passes in both directions close.”A couple of times, they’ve had to bring in food on helicopters,” Bernie said. “That’s when the yuppies start to freak out.”I tried to see if any of that was true, but I couldn’t find anything on the Internet. Doesn’t mean it’s not true. Bernie, to me, seemed to be a man of his word. As for visiting, don’t go to Silverton. Don’t even think about it. The place doesn’t need any more rich Aspen (bleeps).


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