Got pass envy? |

Got pass envy?

Joel Stonington

Aspen, CO ColoradoASPEN And so it begins … kids hucking big kickers, new tricks, TV cameras, outdoor concerts and, of course, passes dangling around necks.Whenever an event comes to town – Food & Wine, Comedy Festival, X Games, etc. – people are suddenly walking around Aspen with passes hanging from lanyards. Not having a pass is, of course, the worst. But even if you have a pass, it’s almost never good enough. I was interviewing X Games personnel Sunday, and the event publicity manager had his access pass hanging right in front of me. I couldn’t help but ask if maybe I could get my press pass a little early; I just didn’t feel official enough. Perhaps he could feel my pass envy because he started explaining what each little letter or symbol on his pass meant, from free food to snowmobile rides up the mountain. For example, press passes allow lift access on all four mountains while his pass and other staff passes only allow the user to ride lifts on Buttermilk. He figured ESPN wanted to keep the staff from going too far afield. “There’s one pass,” he said, “that we call black gold.”My eyes lit up. It’s the everything pass that certain employees can use to escort folks around, meaning that it allows the uncredentialed into areas with heightened access. He said his entire department got only two of them. Black gold is that hot.I don’t know if I was drooling or what, but he stopped talking about the black gold pass pretty quickly. For a moment, I remembered I had a job to do. Then I grabbed his pass and ran.