Kudos & Kindness (Jan. 9): Thanks to our groomers, community support, and Ajax Cup gratitude | AspenTimes.com

Kudos & Kindness (Jan. 9): Thanks to our groomers, community support, and Ajax Cup gratitude

A toast to the groomers

At night I look out and see the snowcats on Aspen Mountain and Buttermilk as they prep the snow for the next day. Holidays, winter storm watch? There they are. And on Highlands and Snowmass. Stay warm and safe, groomers. Aspen can’t do without you!

Helen Palmer



Holiday Baskets grateful for support

The Holiday Baskets Program, run entirely by volunteers, was once again a joyful community effort. For 40 years this program has provided new gifts, toys and food for people in need in our valley.

The response this year was particularly generous and heartwarming with many individuals and groups participating for the first time, enabling us to serve 347 families: 1,345 individuals! This included gifting over $40,000 worth of City Market food cards.

I especially wish to thank our steering committee — Elaine Bonds, Marsha Cook, Kathy Dreher, Elizabeth Parker and Bobbi Teliska — who spent many, many hours and lots of energy matching families with Adopting Angels and making sure all the gift bags were ready on pick up day. We also thank the 14 local agencies that referred the recipients and also delivered their gift bags. We are extremely grateful to Mike Garbarini, who once again entered all the applications online so that we could operate virtually. In addition, we greatly appreciate St. Peter’s Church in Basalt for providing space in which to coordinate and distribute the thousands of gifts.

A recent quote from Angela Hanley, English in Action staff member, summarizes the hopes of the Holiday Baskets Program: “We are very grateful to all the Holiday Baskets volunteers and donors for their generosity, and for the greater message of care and compassion this program communicates in our Valley”.

Anne Blackwell

Chairperson, Holiday Baskets



Ajax Cup runneth over with gratitude

I would like to thank everyone who contributed to the 12th annual Ajax Cup ski race and Aspen Valley Ski & Snowboard Club fundraiser.

Not only is AVSC one of the longest running organizations within the Roaring Fork Valley, but it serves and provides opportunities for over 2,500 youths within the valley. The Ajax Cup is the single biggest event within AVSC that helps to provide over $1 million of scholarships to AVSC kids. The event itself brings together a who’s who of American ski racers as well as various international ski racing legends. The organization of the event led by the entire AVSC staff is unparalleled.

To all volunteers who helped make this a wonderful event, thank you! To all AVSC staff and AVSC on-mountain course workers, thank you! To the Aspen Skiing Co., thank you! To all of the team captains, team racers and team pros, thank you! To the co-chairs of the entire event, thank you! To all of the sponsors, thank you! To all of the spectators and apre party attendees, thank you! To anyone I have inadvertently forgotten, thank you! See you all next December!

John Bucksbaum



Buddy up to helping others

What is happening? It feels overwhelming right now and you might think, “Where do I even start?” or “Why even bother trying to make a difference?” when so many things feel completely bonkers. There aren’t enough meditation apps in the world to help us all take a collective breath.

So, here’s another idea: Do something for someone else. Anything. You won’t believe how good it makes you feel. Our brains release endorphins when we help others. It’s called a “helper’s high.”

It could be something small. I have a friend who always brings a coffee to her stylist when she gets a haircut. Hold the door open for someone. Smile at someone on the bus. Bag your own groceries. Anything … just to start.

Then, think bigger. Offer to walk your neighbor’s dog. Or work a shift at the local food bank. And then, think about how just a little of your time each week could truly make a lasting impact. I get that happiness kick every week when I spend time with my Little Buddy. She and I meet for a walk, a slice, or an adventure. No big deal. We talk about life. And I have the support of my case manager at the Buddy Program, no matter what.

I’ll leave you with this thought: There are more than 30 kids waiting for a Big Buddy in this valley. Take a hint from Muhammad Ali himself: Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.

Laura Seay



Making memories

On behalf of the EKS Events Team, we would like to graciously thank our community for stepping up and being so supportive throughout such an uncertain and unpredictable period of time.

Due to COVID-19, many events were canceled and/or postponed and many industries, such as our own — events and hospitality — were shaken up.

As we all know, Aspen has experienced a lack of staffing and resources but with the help of restaurants, hotels, floral and decor companies, local businesses, the Aspen Chamber Resort Association, and weekly calls with Mayor Torre, we were still able to create many incredible events from weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs, and birthday celebrations, to our favorite local charitable events such as the Aspen Education Foundation, Action in Africa, and Aspen Valley Ski Club. None of this would have been possible without the continuous support of everyone.

We learned to pivot precisely and become more creative and innovative, in order to ensure what we do best — create memories that last a lifetime.

We are looking forward to 2022, the future, and beyond! Let’s celebrate today, tomorrow, and every day!

Elizabeth Slossberg & the EKS Team


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