And the Silver Pen Award goes to … |

And the Silver Pen Award goes to …

John Gates, the manager of Performance Ski in Aspen, is the recipient of The Aspen Times Silver Pen Award for writing the best letter to the editor during the month of March. Gates letter, which originally was published March 13, comments on the “cougar” phenomenon he’s seen around town and in the ski shop, and was prompted by a series of stories we ran earlier that month about some mountain lion activity on the Rio Grande Trail.

Members of our editorial board who chose Gates’ letter as the winner had these sorts of comments: “[This letter] took a news item about a real mountain lion hunting in Aspen and turned it on its head, into a comment about gold-digging women. Just a funny, only-in-Aspen letter,” and this: “Priceless! I have watched some acquaintances snarl, lick their lips spotting prey, and call themselves hunting cougars!” The letter is reprinted here.

If you’d like to compete for the Silver Pen award, simply write a letter to the editor, and send it to or bring it by our office, the purple building on Main Street next to the Hotel Jerome. If you win, we’ll send you an Aspen Times silver pen.

Dear Editor:

I can confirm the sighting of cougars in Aspen! I have spotted several cougars shopping at the sale at Performance Ski. I must warn you to approach with caution as the spring weather has made them aggressive. I would expect the increase of cougars to last until the end of the season and pick up again in the heat of summer.

It would appear the cougars are attracted to younger males and occasionally older men with large wallets.

John Gates

Performance Ski manager


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