Aspen’s Best: Inside |

Aspen’s Best: Inside

Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times
ALL | The Aspen Times

Having hosted the Raconteurs, ZZ Top, Method Man, UB40, Blues Traveler, David Crosby, Ani DiFranco, Jonny Lang and Xavier Rudd just in the last six months Belly Up is competing with not just Aspens other venues, but with the best clubs in the nation. Yes, Belly Up won in a cakewalk, and fans were likely lavishing the praise not only for the lineup of acts (coming up: Michael Franti, Govt Mule, Los Lobos, the Pretenders), but the sound, the space, the lack of attitude. Belly Ups romp shouldnt erase the fact that there are other quality venues in our midst, like the Wheeler Opera House and Carbondales tiny Steves Guitars, both of which took several votes.

Theres always healthy competition in this category, but this year Of Grape & Grain moved back into top position with 29 votes. No argument there great selection and knowledgeable staff.The Grog Shop, 2007s winner, was next in line with 15 votes, but of course both Local Spirits and Carls had their share of fans as well.Here at the Times, happily sandwiched between a bar (J-Bar) and a liquor store (Carls), we tend to think with our feet. And we know other shoppers do the same, especially when it comes to booze. With that in mind, a few Snowmass Villagers weighed in with votes for the Daly Bottle Shop, and several midvalley readers cast their lot with the Catherine Store.

Aspen TV viewers apparently prefer glitz and glam over gadflies and government.Aspen Plum took top honors in this category, registering 28 votes to GrassRoots TVs 23.Owned by the founder of Nantucket Nectars, Plums programming includes a plethora of infomercials, morning snow reports, and on-mountain color provided by such Aspen trendsetters as Vince Lahey and David Cook, as well as local one-named celebs Torre and Othello. It can be found on channel 16.The nonprofit GrassRoots TV, the nations oldest community-access station, focuses on government meetings and has talk shows featuring the likes of pint-sized political pundit Andrew Kole and enduro-man Erik Skarvan. Channel 12 is the home of GrassRoots. Aspens other local TV station, TV 19, limped into third place with just three votes.

We know Aspens best is a completely unscientific, totally biased and subjective gauge of what is best about Aspen, but we take it seriously. So seriously that were going to have to disqualify the top vote-getter in this category: Lather.While we believe Lather is indeed a top-notch hair salon, the rules clearly forbid ballot-box stuffing, and since a large, rolled stack of ballots was turned in together albeit from different individuals with one underlying theme (27 votes for best place to get a haircut: Lather), we must send Lather to the penalty box.Sorry, but this years award goes to Salon Tullio, with eight votes, followed by Hair Branz, with six. Good job, Tullio and Hair Branz, and better luck in getting through our crack staff of poll-watchers next year, Lather.

Aspen is home to hundreds of nonprofits, so choosing the No. 1 nonprofit is no easy task. They are all important, and they all have their supporters some 29 different organizations received at least one vote each. But this is Aspens best, and according to the readers of The Aspen Times, two local organizations deserve top honors: The Buddy Program, which provides adult mentors to valley kids, and Aspen Youth Experience, which brings inner-city kids to Aspen for once-in-a-lifetime experiences. And while we find it a strange coincidence that the folks who voted for Lather in the best place to get a hair cut category also chose AYE, we cannot in good conscience disqualify this valuable nonprofit for stuffing the ballot box (see page XX for details on our first-ever Aspens best DQ). Other nonprofits our readers love: Aspen Animal Shelter, Challenge Aspen and the Aspen Valley Medical Foundation, which all earned a half-dozen votes.

Before we tell you who won best ski shop honors, we have to tell you which response we liked the best: any locally owned shop. And, fortunately, the nod for best ski shop is a tie between two locally owned businesses: Stapleton Sports and Pomeroy Sports. In fact, almost every ski shop to garner a vote and there were 15 with at least one vote each is locally owned. We like that, and like our readers, we like the guys at Stapleton and Pomeroy. Congratulations!

When it comes to listening pleasure, our readers prefer public radio more than the commercial version but by the slimmest of margins.Aspen Public Radio and Carbondale-based KDNK reeled in nine votes apiece en route to a deadlock for Best Radio Station honors. Eight votes earned rock-and-pop stations KSPN and KSNO second-place honors.Aspen Public Radio hangs it hat on such popular NPR programming as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Car Talk, and Wait, Wait Dont Tell Me. Its also armed with a three-member local news team that covers the Roaring Fork Valley at-large, and it simulcasts such Aspen blue-chip events as the Aspen Ideas Festival and the Aspen Music Festival & School. Its in-house air personalities include Pastor Mustard and his Sunday morning bluegrass show, Stu Huck with Jazz on a Thursday Night and Stan Bialek pulling double duty with Jazz from Aspen on Monday nights and the oldies show Aspen Hot Wax on Saturday nights.Considered by many to be the soul of Carbondale, the 25-year-old KDNK continues to hum along with such national programming as Democracy Now and All Things Considered, along with area newscasts, Valley Voices and Friday Night Live, among other favorites.KSPN and KSNO, meanwhile, continue to duke it out on the commercial airwaves. David Bach and Jamie Lynn Miller have been mainstays at KSPN, while Don Cheney has seized control at KSNOs mic and continues to focus on more local programming.

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