Binge and purge
December 18, 2006
Aspen, CO ColoradoYou’ve been known to pretend you’ve got something stuck in your throat or, if need be, fake a sudden speech impediment when someone asks you where you lived before Aspen.”Ahem,” you say, “I moved here, ahem, from, er, Vail.”No, not Vail some people say. Not, as some Aspenites like to call it, “The Dark Side.”What made you want to live there? Must have been a character flaw.You wondered the same thing after moving to Aspen in August two summers ago. Having grown up in the People’s Republic of Boulder, Aspen felt a lot more like home, like a real town, compared to life in Plastic Bavaria. Last winter, you managed to drive past Vail multiple times on your way back to the Front Range without ever stopping the car for a quick ride up the Vista Bahn. You knew that jaw-dropping view of the mountain’s backside was only a short two-chair, 20-minute ride away, but you abstained.You called it Vail detox. But when you called your dad last Thursday in a middle of a stressful week to ask if he wanted to meet halfway somewhere Friday morning – Breck? Keystone? A-Basin? – you found yourself saying, “Let’s go back to Vail.”Vail: It’s funny how locals here detest the place. There are some who have never even skied at Vail but knock it anyway. You find you’re a rarity – a Colorado native who grew up snowboarding everywhere, Vail and Aspen included, and who has separate attachments to both places (which doesn’t make you a lot of friends in either town).You realize you love it here, but – as much as this might piss some people off – you don’t champion it as much as other people do. You definitely won’t ever buy a “Vail Sucks” T-shirt because, well, Vail doesn’t suck.You remembered as much when you and your dad dropped in for that first trip of many down Vail’s seemingly endless back side. For one day, you binged on all the things you missed during your time away: wide-open runs, high-speed quads everywhere and easy access to the mountain.Vail is definitely weird in some instances. When you lived there, the local government was debating about where to put the town’s first cemetery. (Apparently, people don’t die in Vail.)Maybe for that reason alone, you knew that you wouldn’t be living there long term. Move back to Vail? Never. But sneak back every once in a while to fill up on all of those things you don’t find here? Definitely.