Aspen life: Never a dull moment in this beautiful mountain town
January 30, 2018
I never thought about living in Aspen: never thought about skiing on powder, never dreamed of apres ski in some celebrity's jacuzzi, never wanted to wear a funny costume to Schneetag. But there I was, sitting across the table in a Sedona coffee shop from the editor of "that other Aspen newspaper," interviewing for her open copy editor job.
Of course, like any good journalist, she had prepared the ultimate unanswerable question for me. She looked out the window at the gorgeous red-rock landscape and said: "Why would you ever want to leave a beautiful place like this?"
The truth was, when I emailed my resume to her, I'd figured it was the longest of long shots that I'd even get a call. I mean, copy editor for that other Aspen newspaper? Come on! Surely some nephew of Hunter S. Thompson or brother of Maria Semple (sorry, Lo) would have that gig sewn up. But the emailing of my resume was rapidly followed by a phone interview, then a Skype interview, then her actually coming to me, in Sedona, for the fateful interview.
I paused to gather my wits after her question (I'm sure she sensed my fear), then I stammered something about growing up in Colorado, feeling homesick and, oh yeah, my adult children still lived in the Denver area and I wanted to be closer to them.
Apparently the ruse worked, because she hired me, and in January 2014 my girlfriend and I skidded into Aspen in two early-model sedans loaded to the gills with everything we owned. A freshly painted (that day) studio apartment awaited us, one floor up from that other Aspen newspaper's frat house that doubled as an office.
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The next week, 3 feet of snow fell over two days in Aspen — a weather event that some were calling "Snowmageddon." Hopkins Avenue, where our car was parked, was lined with big, white bumps that had previously looked like cars. I couldn't remember exactly where we had parked, so I had to make a deep hole in the snow on a few different cars to see the paint color before I located ours.
We didn't have our ski passes yet, or else we would have been on Ajax in chest-deep powder with all the other locals that day. But as I was digging our car out, digging and digging, I thought about my new editor's question: "Why would you ever want to leave a beautiful place like this?" I looked around at the snow glistening as it fell from the trees, the majestic mountains jutting up in every direction, the smiles of skiers coming off the mountain, and I couldn't think of a single reason.
Now that editor, Carolyn Sackariason, and I both work for The Aspen Times, and I couldn't be happier to be where I am.
Life, like Aspen, can be as unexpected as it is beautiful.
Jeff Bear is a copy editor and page designer for The Times.