Commentary: Nothing against tourists, but …
ASPEN – In today’s letters section, Cari Potter opines that at least two of our writers fail to appreciate the value of tourists.
I agree that most of us are guilty of making disparaging comments about tourists every once in a while – but usually the remarks are made in jest and have some therapeutic value for those of us lamenting our visitors.
We also recognize that without its guests, Aspen would be Rifle – a very attractive version of Rifle at that – and many of us would not be able to pay our rent or mortgage, pay our bills, or put food on the table. This is not rocket science – we get it.
That said, on Thursday I took my lunchtime run up Hunter Creek, realizing the trail would probably be vacant of vacationers, given that downtown was buzzing with the start of the cycling-race leg from Aspen to Beaver Creek.
My Captain Obvious-inspired instincts were right. And, for the most part, it felt like a mild October day, with the trail mostly to myself (play sappy John Denver music here).
If you paid attention at all, it was evident Aspen was hopping this summer. Whether you looked at the people walking merrily or aimlessly along through the outdoor malls or scrutinized the tourism reports, it was a good summer for Aspen. And if we don’t appreciate that, perhaps we should set off to rural Montana and grow hair on our backs (there’s a pill for that, or so I’m told).
Yes, there’s the occasional rude and entitled tourist. We’ve seen and dealt with them on many levels – as motorists, skiers, servers, etc.
But generally speaking, Aspen visitors are friendly and return to Aspen because they adore it and all it offers, like the gentleman I bumped into Thursday asking me about the fate of the Wienerstube. I felt bad for the guy – the Floridian hadn’t been here in years and wanted to grab some breakfast there. When I told him the ‘Stube was no more, I felt like I was breaking the news about the death of a family member.
However, I make no apologies for looking forward to the offseason, when the pace slows down a few gears and we get a chance to breathe and collect ourselves. And, of course, find that coveted spot at City Market without taking at least three obligatory laps around the parking lot.
If anything, the shortened offseasons give us a chance to recharge and renew our appreciation of the quiet, less hectic version of Aspen. That doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate or enjoy the tourists, it just means we appreciate and enjoy the respite – until the next wave arrives.
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The city of Aspen’s new Lumberyard housing project will necessitate a new traffic light on Highway 82 by Builders FirstSource and Mountain Rescue Aspen.