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Aspen delights

Stewart Oksenhorn
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” Riding the gondola recently with a group of hip Catalonians on their first visit to Aspen, I wanted to impress on them what a cool spot they had chosen. I directed them to Walsh’s, pointed out Highland Bowl with strict instructions to hike it, and raved about the insane snow we’ve been having.

But what I really wanted them to experience was the water stand just below the gondola. Not the stand itself; they have those everywhere. But the shot of local, fresh-baked flavor that has been handed out, one morning a week for nearly two years, at the water stand. On this particular morning, there was, in fact, a choice of treats: blondies or oat-fruit bars (packed with eight dried fruits). The rotation also has included fudge brownies, rum balls and, the apparent favorite, lemon squares.

Just as much of a treat is the woman behind the treats. Kim Wille ” an El Jebel resident, Aspen Skico ambassador, and former concession stand owner, caterer and mediator ” walks around with her trays of goodies, a huge smile on her face, making sure everyone gets a taste. Following proper kindergarten etiquette, Wille brings enough for everyone: 600-800 servings. If the recipe includes nuts, she’ll even bring a nut-free version for the allergy-burdened.



The tradition began after the Christmas ’06 storm. Fretting about the stranded skiers, Wille baked up an idea to welcome weary travelers when they finally made it to the top of Aspen Mountain.

“I thought, we’ve got to bring some Christmas to them. That’s what ambassadors are for,” she said.




The good deed has inspired others. The blondies on that recent day were a contribution from Barclay Dodge, former chef-owner of Aspen’s Mogador restaurant.

Let’s see, I’ve provided the who, what, where and how. That leaves out only the “when.” But if I told you which day Wille hands out her treats, then I’d have to kill you.

Or at least ask that you limit yourself to one helping. OK, two.

Snowmass has received 6 inches of new snow over the past 24 hours, according to the Aspen Skiing Co.’s Wednesday morning snow report. Aspen Mountain picked up 4 inches; Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk each got 3 inches.

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center report for Wednesday, March 5:

Avalanche danger around the Aspen zone today is rated at considerable on slopes facing NE-E-SE near and above treeline. West winds have transported snow onto these aspects creating some tender new wind slabs. On all other slopes, avalanche danger is rated moderate. Human-triggered avalanches are still possible.

Go to http://avalanche.state.co.us/ for the full report and information on conditions statewide.

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