High Points: The off-est of off-seasons | AspenTimes.com

High Points: The off-est of off-seasons

Paul E. Anna
High Points
The Aspen Times

Shhh. Did you hear that? Neither did I. That is the sound of quiet. It’s off-season.

Nobody moves to a resort or a ski town for the off-seasons. It’s the thrill of the ski season or the bustle of summer that attracts people to mountain towns like ours.

And yet, once here, perspectives seem to change. For many, including me, the best times of year are those quiet buffer seasons that come in the late spring and fall when the crowds disappear, the pace slows to a crawl, and you can once again hear that sound, the quiet of the mountains.

We are in the thick of it, the spring break between ski and summer seasons, right now. It is time to embrace the month of May. This week seems to be especially serene as the Pitkin County Airport ceased operations this past Wednesday, closing for two weeks for scheduled maintenance to the runways and the de-icing pads. It is amazing how quiet it gets when the flights to Denver and beyond are no longer part of the rhythmic sounds of each and every day. I live under the flight path, and not hearing the planes as they reach altitude on takeoffs is dramatic. It actually takes a little getting used to.

With Independence Pass’s annual Thursday-before-Memorial-Day opening still a good two weeks away, there is only one way to get into this town for the next few days. Even Highway 82 seems somewhat bereft of the usual hustle and bustle as the tourist trade, what with all the shuttered hotels and restaurants, dwindles to just about zero.  

Another reason for the quiet of the times is that this is the season our travel-happy neighbors take their spring sojourns to exotic destinations here, there, and everywhere. I’m not a big fan of Facebook or Instagram reels, but if I want to see my friends in May, the best way to do it is to tune to where they post their respective exploits. Surfing in Bali, eating in Paris, paddling kayaks in Patagonia (where it is the fall off-season), it seems that Aspenites are all over the world this time of year.

It’s easy to get a case of FOMO when perusing the social-media pages. It all looks like so much fun. Everyone is always smiling in their posts. But then I think about how beautiful it is to watch the changing of the seasons here, to listen to both the quiet and the sound of the mountains as they awake from their winter slumber, and I know there is no place I’d rather be.

Yesterday, we were blessed with a drenching rain. While we have had more than our fair share of winter snows, it had been a while since we had straight, clean, pouring rain. The grass in the field below my house immediately began to turn greener, the trees in my back yard stretched their limbs to the sky and began to bloom, and the local elk herd moved back to the neighborhood for some spring foraging. 

Everything is as it should be. Quiet.

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