Aspen Silver Lining

Michael Patrick Britt

Michael Patrick Britt

Location: I live in Aspen.

Connection to Aspen: My parents moved here in 1973 from Redondo Beach when I was 5 months old.

Age: 46

Relationship status: In a long-term relationship. Children.

Occupation: Ski patroller on Aspen Mountain.

How you are coping during corona?

I’m trying to stay active by getting out to skin up Buttermilk when I can. This is a very emotional time for all of us. Our very way of life has come to a screeching halt. I miss my patrol family and being up on the best mountain in the world and all of the people I’ve become friends with up on the hill.

I’ve been making a music video each day on my Instagram page (dad.britt25) that I call Cooped Up Karaoke under #quarantunes. I love to sing but I’ve never really done it for an audience before. I thought, “This is the perfect time to get out of your comfort zone! Show the world your hidden talent.” I’m sure everyone reading this has something they’ve always wanted to try but life has always gotten in the way. Some people probably don’t even know they are good at something else. Now’s the time to find out what it is! A lot of times you can find me standing in my doorway looking up at the mountains we all love and yearning for our way of life back. But then I look to the future and try to imagine coming out the other side with a new appreciation for who we are as human beings and hopefully we are more compassionate toward one another. Hopefully we’ve learned something new about one another that we didn’t know before.

What good can come out of this period?

I think we’ll all come out of this thing better people. We’ll be a more compassionate, loving society. We have the greatest community in the world. I can’t imagine how much better it’s going to be after all of this. We’re going to be more resourceful than ever before. At least that is my hope. I love you, Aspen!

Flip Byrnes

Location: Sydney, Australia; currently in Deidesheim, Germany.

Connection to Aspen: 23 years now! From arriving in 1997 with no job and knowing no one, I’ve loved the welcoming, special Aspen community ever since. If I lived anywhere in the world other than Australia, this would be it.

Age: 45

Relationship Status: Partner, two kids (3 and 4 years).

Occupation: Travel writer, Australian PR for Aspen-Snowmass and mum.

What are you doing to cope during corona?

We were on our way back to Australia from Aspen (via relatives in Germany) when all of this happened and borders closed, so we’ve had to be flexible until we can go home. We are so lucky to live by a UNESCO biosphere, a forest loaded with critters and Celtic ruins, so after starting each day with a run for a head-blast of fresh air, I head back in to walk the puppies (aka the kids) and we spend hours in there hunting dinosaurs — last time we found dragon bones (for real). I check in with friends, especially those who live alone as that involves extra challenges. As I’m still working I try to get a few quality hours in — that’s good for keeping me mentally connected. Lastly I’m not making a gazillion lists of things I “need” to do (although I wouldn’t mind conquering cooking quesadillas), there’s no pressure for anyone to come out of this having learned five languages and Olympic gymnastic skills. The day unfolds as it’s meant to and if everyone is breathing and smiling at the end of it, then it’s always a good one.

How are you helping others?

I know Easter was hard for some people, so Sunday my mini sidekicks and I rode around the neighborhood and dropped mysterious Easter egg hunts for people we know. Little surprises for people go a long way — my parents are a little bewildered by the random things I keep sending them (e.g. a dwarf lemon tree. Mum said she needed lemons.) This is a great time to surprise your mates in some small, unexpected way.

What good can come out of this period?

Honestly? So much. Wonderful, positive projects like this one! Especially in our industry (media), there’s an orchestra of noise especially on socials; trombones blaring “look at me!” the piccolos trilling, cymbals clashing … now it’s quieter I can hear the beat of my own drum again. I’m loving that. I think huge positives are people rediscovering slow and simple pleasures, whether that’s having headspace to be creative, being immersed in the changing of the seasons that’s happening right now or a warm cuppa over a Zoom chat. An appreciation for things we’ve taken for granted, from medical workers to supermarket stockers. I love that we are all looking out for the elderly more.

What’s the first thing you do when things go back to normal?

Book a flight and hug my mum and dad.


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