It’s time to be grateful. To whom? You’ll never guess
It’s fun to take potshots at the Aspen Skiing Co. After all, they’re the Big Guy in town and it’s always fun to stick your thumb in the Big Guy’s eye – especially when there’s not a lot he can do in return.
So we all do it. The employee-grooming rules are stupid. The lift tickets are too expensive. The CEO lost his temper. The instructors’ uniforms are the wrong color. There aren’t enough lifts. There are too many lifts. The Ruthie’s chair should have been a quad. They lost the World Cup. They brought the World Cup back. They banned snowboards.
You name it, we’ve complained about it.
But somehow, this winter, the fun’s gone out of it. Maybe that’s because Mother Nature is taking the biggest potshot of all at the Skico – and when it’s going head to head with Mother Nature, suddenly our local Big Guy doesn’t look very big at all.
In fact, “puny” might be the right word.
So, let’s take a moment out right now to get serious and offer some well-deserved, heartfelt thanks to a company that is doing its best under very difficult circumstances. The fact is, there’s not a lot of snow up there (sorry, guys, but that’s the truth) and the Aspen Skiing Co. is standing up, spending a lot of money, fighting the good fight – and doing one hell of a job of providing an amazingly good experience for anyone who conquers his cynicism and actually goes up on the mountains to ski.
Sure, there are rocks. And there are brown patches. And there’s grass – and shrubs – sticking up through the snow in an embarrassingly large number of places. But the company’s grooming crews are working miracles with what they have – and the long-suffering ski patrollers, who would rather be tossing dynamite charges at avalanches, are hauling snow around the mountain to fill in the bare spots.
Of course, the Skico doesn’t really have any choice. These four months are its only opportunity to make money, so the company has to do its best. But still, those who depend on the Skico’s success to ensure their own prosperity should take a moment to be thankful the company is willing to try so hard and able to do so well.
That rebelliousness that we noted at the start of this editorial, that eagerness to tweak the Skico’s nose and stick a thumb in its eye, are perhaps understandable in a town that resents any hint that it might be a “company town.” We’re proud here. We have our identity; we have our integrity. We’re no damn company town. We shout that loud and clear every chance we get. As we should.
But we should also remember that we’re a ski town – at least, we used to be. And we still ought to try to be. There’s something special about a town dedicated heart and soul to an essentially reckless athletic pursuit. There’s something wonderfully crazy about a ski town – and the less Aspen is a ski town, the less it is wonderful and the less it is crazy. So let’s not let go of that key part of our identity.
And if we’re going to be a ski town, then we have to have a ski company. And given that we have to have one, we ought to be glad we’ve got a good one. Look around – do you see any that you prefer? So let’s be glad we’ve got a good one and let’s be glad they’re making the best out of a tough winter.
And, while we’re at it, why don’t we all do the same? Let’s make the best of it. Sure, watch out for the rocks – but the snow’s pretty darn good.
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