Aspen, Snowmass community show true colors on Thanksgiving

Erica Robbie

While Thanksgiving falls on one of the least desirable times of the year to show off our beautiful resort — second only to the month of May — it may be the perfect occasion to experience our local community at its best.

I discovered this last week, being my first Thanksgiving holiday spent in Aspen.

Every year I visit my family for most of the week leading up to Thanksgiving because fleeing the valley twice in a three-week period is not in the cards, and I know better than to miss an Aspen Christmas.

This year, however, my family celebrated the holiday the week before Thanksgiving. Suffice it to say, five memorable days with my mom, aunt, brother, sister-in-law and grandparents in southern California flew by.

Leaving family and loved ones is never easy, but coming home to this community and the families we create make the transition as seamless as possible.

In Snowmass, few events better represent “community” than its John Bemis Thanksgiving potluck and food drive, which takes place the Sunday before the holiday. While I was traveling Sunday and could not partake, my Snowmass sources tell me it was as lovely as ever.

As Joan Bemis wrote of her late husband, who revived the event and remains its namesake, in a letter in this week’s Snowmass Sun: “It was a special mission for John. His vision was that locals, second homeowners, visitors and young people who were just arriving to work on the mountain would all sit down together and celebrate as a community.”

In Aspen, Farm Collaborative (formerly known as Aspen TREE) carries out a similar vision via its free Farm to Table community dinner the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The nonprofit also supports the local farming community by purchasing the meal’s ingredients from valley farmers.

Having never been in town at that time previously, I decided to check it out this year with my friend Emily.

In sum, everything about the event was wonderful, from catching up with people I hadn’t seen in months to appreciating real food without wondering where it came from.

That palpable sense of community continued Thursday on Thanksgiving proper. I volunteered to work the holiday because my hobbies include getting paid to ski, and Thanksgiving doubled as opening day at Snowmass, which is my beat.

The day consisted of skiing, interviewing people and creating videos with my co-workers, followed by a work-turned-impromptu imbibing session at our editor’s home in Snowmass. Dave and his wife, Amy, ensured there was no shortage of snacks or cold beverages, and we were even joined by other staffers who were off the clock.

That evening, I was lucky enough to be invited into the home of another amazing Snowmass family. The Moriarty family embodies what it truly means to live in a community, and for that, I am thankful.

The familial feelings maintained the following night with dinner around the dining room table, and capped Sunday as locals congregated to observe another equally important event: The first powder day of the season.

Cheers to the local community for showing off your Thanksgiving best and serving as a reminder for what the holidays are about.

I now know better than to miss an Aspen Thanksgiving.


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