Broncos take on Steelers and skiing |

Broncos take on Steelers and skiing

Chad Abraham
At the J-Bar, Jack Meskell reacts to a play during Sunday's game. (Mark Fox/The Aspen Times)

Andy and Jule Kunselman came here on a flight of jealousy.The Pittsburgh residents said they were likely the only ones on their plane into Denver on Friday not going to Sunday’s AFC Championship game between the Broncos and Steelers.They planned their ski trip to Aspen five months ago, having little idea that their then-struggling team would be in Denver to decide who goes to the Super Bowl. So Sunday was to be a ski day until they learned about the game.Their plans changed quickly.”It was an absolute no-brainer to not go skiing today,” said Andy Kunselman, like his wife decked out in Pittsburgh garb near a large TV in the J-Bar. “Steeler people travel pretty far, so we’re hoping to find at least two other Steeler fans. So far, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.”

J-Bar manager Kevin Studley was prepared for a crowd similar in size to those over the recent holiday season. He expected to pour about six cases and a keg of beer Sunday afternoon, a timeframe much less conducive to serious imbibing than the previous Broncos game. During that Saturday night victory against New England, Studley himself sold $2,500 behind the bar, which went through 12 cases of beer en route to a record sales night.After skiing the past four days, Jack Meskell also had little compunction about taking a day off from the slopes to watch the Broncos. But it was bittersweet for the Concord, Mass., resident, who had watched his beloved Patriots lose to Denver.He was in the J-Bar because “Your bones get a little weary after four days,” Meskell said.Things were less crowded but more rowdy at McStorlie’s Pub.

Stacy Cagle of Snowmass Village said it’s apparent why many choose the tube over the hill during the NFL playoffs.”Football is the only real gladiator sport alive,” he said. “Let’s punch each other in the head and have some fun.”Dennis McGlinn, a Philadelphia native tending bar at McStorlie’s, noted that it was hockey season. And if the Eagles had made the NFC championship game?”Things would be different. I wouldn’t be working,” he said.Robbie Franklin of Aspen, waiting near the Silver Queen gondola during the third quarter, said he would take advantage of “SportsCenter.”

“It’s right now?” he asked of the game. “I’d rather be skiing. I can watch the highlights – that’s all that matters.”Christy Sauer, another skier at the gondola plaza, was eager for a final run.”It’s dark in a bar, and it’s so pretty out,” she said.As it turned out, the Broncos’ dismal play ensured that it might have been more enjoyable to be skiing than watching the game. Unless, of course, you were on the Kunselmans’ flight.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is

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