Aspen skiers stop to watch history in the making |

Aspen skiers stop to watch history in the making

ASPEN ” With the sun glistening off the Elk Mountain Range outside the Sundeck on Aspen Mountain, about three dozen skiers on Tuesday clicked out of their bindings long enough to watch history in the making with the swearing in of President Barack Obama.

And their apparent excitement was not just because Obama is the first black president but also that the eight-year reign of George W. Bush is over.

“It’s been a painful eight years,” Aspen resident John Frey said. “I just get shivers thinking about [Obama].

“With this messed-up economy, it’s nice to be excited about something, and also, ding dong the wicked witch is gone.”

As people gathered around the bar and tables, locals, workers and tourists listened intently to Obama’s speech. There were rounds of applause and tears shed over the emotional ceremony.

Sundeck bartender Ashley Mcgee cried a few of those tears during Obama’s speech, saying afterward that she is excited about the country’s future.

“I hope he can accomplish what he wants and politicians don’t stop him,” she said.

Ailsa and Patrick Grammond, who are in Aspen for a two-week vacation from Sydney, Australia, brought her children, Alice, Charlie and Will ” ages 11, 9, and 13, respectively ” to the Sundeck to watch the inauguration.

“They would have slept in otherwise,” Ailsa said, adding such a historic moment was not to be missed and neither was the election, which most Australians watched from afar.

“It’s very exciting, and it’s a big deal,” she said. “Hopefully, America will be viewed in a different way around the world.

“We know a lot of you are excited for the change.”

Her husband, Patrick, added, “The last eight years have been an embarrassment.”

Aspenite Butch Peterson was glued to the TV hanging above the Sundeck bar throughout the morning.

“It’s an inspirational day,” he said after the ceremony.

Before buckling her ski boots and heading back to the slopes, Aspenite Mary K. McIntire said she was impressed with Obama’s speech, and it made her confident about the future.

“I just thought that was fabulous,” she said. “Let’s move on, go forward. It’s such a relief.

“And what a treat to watch this at the Sundeck.”

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