Bacon makes Buttermilk better on closing day

Andre Salvail
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – Skiing conditions weren’t great during Buttermilk’s closing day Sunday, but the free bacon that was cooked and served at various spots on the mountain brought joy to those who braved the elements.

The third annual Bacon Appreciation Day featured bacon waffles, samples of bacon with different flavorings and even sundaes with bacon sprinkles. At the ski patrol’s headquarters near the top of the Tiehack Express lift, skiers and snowboarders waited in a 20-person-deep line to get a free sample of bacon-wrapped scallops with a choice of four different seasonings as Cajun music played in the background.

There, temperatures were in the upper 30s. Around noon, high winds and wet snow blew in from the west, hampering visibility, but it didn’t seem to bother anyone as long as bacon was still on the grill.

Kris Whitley, of Denver, said she drove over to Buttermilk early Sunday morning to meet up with friends who told her about “bacon day.” A buddy loaned her a pass so that she wouldn’t have to pay the walk-up lift-ticket price. She skipped the food but enjoyed her time on the hill.

“I’m a vegetarian, and I don’t eat that stuff,” Whitley said. “I’m having fun on the mountain, though. The surface is kind of slushy, but at least it’s not bitter cold. Typical spring skiing, I guess. Buttermilk is my favorite of the four ski mountains in this area.”

Her only complaint was the price of a bottled Powerade drink at the Cliffhouse restaurant: $5 for an item that costs about $1.50 at either of Aspen’s two grocery stores.

Near the bottom of the Summit Express lift, where temperatures were slightly higher at about 45 degrees, three Aspen natives in their 20s celebrated Bacon Appreciation Day with a bottle of Fireball cinnamon whiskey.

They skipped the skiing and were thinking about going to hit balls at Aspen Golf Club, which was mostly devoid of snow Sunday.

“We’re just having bacon and Fireballs,” Adam Gawrys said.

“I’m loving life. This is beautiful,” Steve Johnson said as he looked up at the overcast skies and skiers making their way down the hill.

Josh Bow said he wasn’t lamenting the fact that it was closing day and the end of ski season was at hand.

“Summer is better,” he said.

A few yards past the lift area, Aspen Skiing Co. technicians Don Mushet and Bill Eha were grilling up simple strips of bacon. The lack of seasoning didn’t stop dozens of skiers and snowboarders from snapping it up.

Mushet said a total of 150 pounds of bacon was ordered for the day.

“We’re having a lot of fun with it,” he said. “It’s cooking slow, it’s a cold day, the lines are long, and nobody’s mad, so there you go.”

“When there’s bacon involved, everybody’s happy,” Eha added.