As Donald Trump is sworn in, gay pride flags wave in Aspen

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times
In honor of the 40th Gay Ski Week in Aspen, the tradition of skiing an enormous rainbow flag down the Little Nell run on Aspen Mountain happened on Friday after the LOGO'S Downhill Costume Competition and Party.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times |

From tuning in to Washington, D.C., on television, to skiing fresh powder, to waving gay pride flags while sporting rainbow Speedos, Aspen residents and visitors spent Inauguration Day in their own ways.

A handful of Aspenites said they watched some or all of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration at home or in their office, while others treated the occasion like any other powder day in a ski town.

“I didn’t even think about watching TV today,” said Aspen resident Raphael Derly, who instead spent his morning on Ajax. “That’s where the real thing happens, on the mountain. Not on television.”

At the base of Aspen Mountain, where Aspen Gay Ski Week held its signature downhill costume contest, the presidential inauguration seemed worlds away, as participants pointed out.

Balinda Huang of Los Angeles, visiting Aspen for Gay Ski Week, said, “It’s such a juxtaposition between the celebration here and the horror (in Washington, D.C.).”

The colorful scene at the center of Aspen, complete with unicorn onesies, rainbow flags, music, champagne toasts and Speedo-clad men dancing on the bar at Shlomo’s Deli & Grill, was a stark contrast to the day’s events elsewhere in the nation.

“For us who are privileged enough to spend Inauguration Day in a place as beautiful as Aspen, we gather together to acknowledge and see those in our society who will suffer the most in this administration,” said New York resident Billy Wheelan, in town for Gay Ski Week. “And we gather together in unity to protect and to defend the right of those who feel unheard and unseen in the administration of Donald Trump.”

Dylan Ashley, also from New York and in town for Gay Ski Week, said, “As a gay Republican who voted for Hilary, I wish our new president the best success.

“I want Trump to be successful. Because if he’s not successful, we’re not successful,” Ashley said. “I just hope he likes my black, Latino and trans friends.”

Other Aspenites expressed a similar sense of optimism amid an otherwise “undesirable” situation, as Ashley said.

“Hopefully we’ll work together as a country instead of apart,” Aspen resident Aidan Wynn said. “It’s the only way to make things better. We have to always try to be positive.”

Gordon Bronson, an Aspen native who served as a President Obama appointee during the first term of his administration, said he is particularly hopeful for the state of Colorado’s future.

“We have an incredible governor (and) great state legislature,” Bronson said. “And I think our responsibility as a state is to continue showing the rest of the country and the rest of the world that good governance is possible.”


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