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Aspen Times Weekly: 2020 in Photos

Photographer Kelsey Brunner reflects on documenting a historic year in Aspen

We’ve all seen people on social media wishing 2020 away and hoping for a better year in 2021. However, I think there have been many bright spots. As a whole, we have learned that we are more resilient than we knew, more generous with our time and attention, and way luckier to be alive than we sometimes realized.

I continued working even after the world shut down, photographing a different kind of daily life. I had the unique opportunity to watch firsthand what our little community looked like when it was a bit slower and quieter. Neighbors came together to wish a child happy birthday in a drive-by celebration, teachers tried to make their students feel like important rights of passage were still honored, and restaurants did their best to stay open and keep their employees at work. Things are different, of course, but while we miss large gatherings and seeing each other’s faces without masks, I have found that I am more grateful than ever that I get to live in the Roaring Fork Valley.

This year started as any other in Aspen. We were skiing, watching fireworks and celebrating holidays in large gatherings. I was freezing my hands off photographing après parties and high school sports. We were attending concerts at Belly Up and having birthday celebrations at Ryno’s. High school students were picking out their prom dresses and making college plans, while locals were buying plane tickets for their extended vacations in the upcoming offseason.



In an area that already struggles with mental health issues, the end of March brought new challenges. Instead of gathering for festivities, we gathered at food distributions and through computer screens on Zoom with our coworkers and family members. We all tried to keep business as usual, even though business may never be usual again.

Through it all, I was honored to witness and document the resiliency of those in this community. 2020 is hard to summarize. But I hope this visual recap of our year shows how truly wonderful our little valley is and how amazing the people are who call it home.



 

JANUARY

People watch the Fireworks Extravaganza after reaching the base of Aspen Mountain from participating in the Torchlight Descent during the 69th annual Winterskol on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
The crowd sings along to the first song of Rae Sremmurd’s act at the X Games on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
X Games snowboarder Red Gerard competes in the Men’s Snowboard Slopestyle qualifying event on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Noemi Kosmowski poses for a portrait in face painting tent during the third day of Winterskol on the walking mall on Saturday, January 11, 2020. Kosmowski’s favorite hobby is doing her makeup and she says she spends approximately half an hour every day putting it on. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

FEBRUARY

Griffin Anderson, 8, left, holds a gulp of hot chocolate in his cheeks as Van Metcalf, 7, shakes out goldfish into his mouth after the AVSC Bill Koch Youth Ski League nordic practice at AVSC on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Aspen boys varsity basketball team react after Jack Seamans scored on Cedaredge during a playoff game on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Twins Colette Abrahams, 6, left, and Emilie Abrahams, 6, hold on to each other while waiting for instructions from coach Drew Barr during an Aspen Gymnastics practice at the Red Brick Gym on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

MARCH

People enjoy aprés-ski and the view of Aspen Mountain on the rooftop of the W Aspen on Thursday, March 5, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Shining Stars’ Alex Brown, 15, left, and Serenity Gibney, 16, talk before taking a group picture during the Aspen Winter Games at Buttermilk on Thursday, March 5, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Social distancing was put into effect during an Aspen City Council meeting to discuss the coronavirus pandemic at City Hall on Thursday, March 12, 2020. The council passed a resolution declaring an emergency due to COVID-19. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
RFTA employee Patricia Rosales Trigo, left, and lead mechanic Will Fabela disinfect a bus at the Aspen Maintenance Facility on Thursday, March 12, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
After skinning up Aspen Mountain, Sian Jones, left, Anne Goldberg, center, and Susan Saghatoleslami have a glass of champagne while abiding the social distancing requirements on Saturday, March 21, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
A line of cars leave Aspen heading down valley on Tuesday, March 24, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Five people begin to file inside Aspen’s City Market after waiting in line at the door on Thursday, March 26, 2020. City Market limited the number of people allowed in the store at one time, as well as allowing senior citizens preferential treatment to enter the store first. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
An ermine carries a pika across Roberto’s run off of High Alpine lift in Snowmass on Sunday, March 8, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

APRIL

After a heavy snowfall the day before, people travel up Aspen Mountain on Thursday, April 2, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Aspen Ambulance District paramidic Lisa Hicks wears a powered air purifying respirator and a Tyvek suit next to an ambulance in the ambulance bay on Friday, April 3, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Registered Nurse Trudi Olson-Feast, left, draws blood from Chloe Lazard, center, as she holds the hand of her boyfriend Tristan Andlinger to be tested for COVID-19 antibodies in Aspen on Friday, April 10, 2020. Lazard is getting tested because she had been in New York City before coming to Aspen. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Nikki Ward, 7, center left, and her mom August Ward stand outside of their home in Aspen Village as friends sing happy birthday during an organized birthday drive by in Aspen on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. “This is a birthday we’ll never forget,” said August. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

MAY

The Aspen Skiing Co.’s food pick-up on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Tanner Spung looks out the window while playing behind the couch in her home in Aspen on Thursday, April 30, 2020. Before the quarantine, Tanner was going to Aspen Mountain Tots three days a week. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Aspen High School senior Kat Goralka, 18, left, receives a rose from her lacrosse head coach Amanda Trendell during a surprise senior day rose ceremony at her home in Snowmass Village on Tuesday, May 5, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Veteran Dan Glidden places flags next to known veterans graves in the Red Butte Cemetery in Aspen on Friday, May 22, 2020. Glidden has been putting flags on graves in the city of Aspen for over fifteen years. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Graduates ride the Summit Express lift to the top of Buttermilk after the official Aspen High School graduation ceremony at Buttermilk on Saturday, May 31, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Pixie Witt, left, reacts with excitement as the list of scholarships that her daughter Morgan Witt was awarded are announced at the scholarship drive-through event on the Aspen School District campus on Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Chad Bones gives Larry Mills a haircut at the Basalt Barber Shop a week after they reopened on Tuesday, May 12, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Flowers bloom near Cliffhouse as the sun lights up the valley with a view of Pyramid Peak in Aspen on Saturday, May 31, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

JUNE

Erica Joos, left, and Jenelle Figgins comfort each other as they lay on the ground for nine minutes to honor George Floyd during a peaceful protest in Aspen. “Nine minutes is a long time,” whispered Figgins. “I can’t breathe,” the protesters continued to chant. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Eric Phillips, 14, rides with his head out of the sunroof of his family’s car as his eighth grade teachers cheer him on during the Aspen Middle School continuation celebration for eighth graders on Thursday, June 4, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
AVSC FIS alpine athletes line up at the top of the course during the first week of Buttermilk Glacier on Friday, June 5, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

JULY

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers collect evidence from a bear that was euthanized in an abandoned mine on Aspen Mountain, Friday, July 10, 2020. The euthanized bear was suspected of attacking an Aspen man early on Friday morning. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
People watch “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” from the lawn of Ajax Tavern at the base of Aspen Mountain on Friday, July 10, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
The sun begins to set over downtown Aspen as people enjoy the summer weather on Monday, July 6, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
The Milky Way lights up over Aspen Mountain with Jupiter and Saturn bright in the sky on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

AUGUST

Scorched earth runs along I-70 from the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Springs Canyon on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
A “Texas” sticker covers the Aspen city limit sign outside of town early Friday morning, Aug. 7, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
People are taking advantage of the cool running water and rope swing at the Northstar Nature Preserve in Aspen during a heatwave on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
A slurry line wraps around billowing smoke from the Grizzly Creek Fire on Monday, August 24, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

SEPTEMBER

John Cibulsky competes in the final Aspen Cycling Club race up Airline Trail in Sky Mountain Park on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. There were 48 racers signed up to compete. The club organized the race to have 4 racers released every minute to help space out the competitors. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Leah Parker, left, Sara Fioretti, and Tara Toy make pancakes on Independence Pass during a snowstorm in Aspen on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Aspen kindergartner Emma Hansen, 5, colors on the first day of school in Ms. Tana Rinaldi’s class in Aspen on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

OCTOBER

Pitkin County volunteer election official John Ortega, left, guides a voter as he drops his ballot after voting in person on the first day of early voting at the Aspen Jewish Community Center on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Karen Carner leans up to kiss her husband of seven years, Mark Lee, at a Trump campaign rally on Highway 82 next to the Intercept Lot in Aspen on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

NOVEMBER

Aspen restaurant employees hold signs outside of Bear Den Aspen imploring community members to help keep restaurants open through the next COVID-19 restrictions on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Colleen Delia self-administers a free COVID-19 swab test behind City Hall in Aspen on Monday, Nov. 23, 2020. Delia took the test before flying home to see her father for the Thanksgiving holiday. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Skiers utilize both the Silver Queen Gondola and Bell Mountain Lift on opening day at Aspen Mountain on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
A skier climbs a ridge to Fourth of July Bowl from the summit of Independence Pass on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. The pass closed to motor vehicles at 7 p.m. that evening. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

DECEMBER

Rabbi Mendel Mintz lights the menorah outside of the Aspen Jewish Community Center on the first night of Hanukkah on Thursday, Dec. 10, 2020.This year’s celebration included a menorah car parade through town. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Roaring Fork Fire Rescue training chief Terry Cox receives the first round of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from Richard Cornelius, right, at the station in El Jebel on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Immunization Coordinator Laurie Cohen holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine in the Community Health Services building in Aspen on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Sgt. Terry Leitch gives a space heater to an Aspen resident outside of the Aspen Police Department on Monday, Dec. 28, 2020. Heaters were made available to residents without heat due to the gas outage in the Aspen area, the result of a sabotage of local gas lines. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)

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