Local Spotlight: Scott Arthur and Nell Strijbos-Arthur crowned Snowmass Mardi Gras king and queen
Longtime locals grateful for community support
When longtime Snowmass Village locals Scott Arthur and Nell Strijbos-Arthur found out that they were this year’s Mardi Gras king and queen, it took a moment for the news to sink in.
“I laughed — I said, ‘There’s no way! We’re all in the house,'” Nell said. “That’s really sweet, it’s a great honor, however, I don’t know that we’re going out.”
But, hey, if the crown fits …
“We were really honored,” Scott said.
Scott and Nell join a long list of Snowmass royalty, the likes of which include longtime town clerk Rhonda Coxon (queen in 2009), former Mayor Markey Butler (queen in 2013) and the town’s first housing director Joe Coffey (king in 2016).
Given Snowmass Village’s history of crowning the town’s movers and shakers, the couple said the news of their coronation came as something of a surprise.
“Over the years, the list of people from Snowmass who have been king and queen is a very distinguished list, and (we) … have never really considered ourselves to be of that genre,” Scott said. “They’re people who have really shaped Snowmass, and we like to think that we have given a lot to the community but not necessarily shaped the path of this village, and (we) are very honored to be considered part of that group.”
Scott and Nell may not consider themselves part of that group of movers and shakers just yet, but their 30-plus years of community contribution and work on the front lines has secured them a place in Snowmass history nonetheless.
“We thought the best way to continue the Mardi Gras tradition in 2021 was to focus on a pair of people who have really devoted themselves to this community and to crown them as king and queen,” Snowmass Tourism director Rose Abello said in a news release. “Nell (Strijbos-Arthur) and Scott Arthur truly embody what it means to be a part of, and to give back to, the Snowmass community. We are thrilled to recognize them and all of their hard work this year.”
A stroke of luck brought the couple to the town in the early 1990s when Scott landed a job with Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District (now known as Roaring Fork Fire), and the couple scored a spot in affordable workforce housing in the span of 24 hours. An offer on Scott’s house in Denver the next day sealed the deal.
“The stars aligned and everything happened the way we needed it to in order to be able to make the move up here,” Scott said. “It was just kind of history from there.”
Scott spent 28 years with the Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District. He retired from the department in 2019 but keeps his long track record of public service going through work with the Aspen Ambulance District, Buttermilk Ski Patrol and the Aspen Fire Protection District.
Nell, too, works on the front lines as the lead clerk at Aspen Valley Hospital, serving as a connection between patients and the billing department and guiding them through the process.
After more than three decades in the town, they’re in it for the long haul.
So what is it, exactly, that makes Snowmass Village so special?
“A lot of it is the great outdoor activities, and just the community,” Nell said. “The community really looks out after each other.”
They felt that support firsthand when Scott was diagnosed with cancer about 20 years ago. The community rallied with financial assistance, food, babysitting, rides to doctors’ appointments — and “hugs (and) high fives,” too, Nell said.
“We’re really honored, and we’re really blessed that we’re here,” she said. “We’re just so blessed, really blessed.”
On a recent trip to Spain, I discovered something that I believe tops the espresso martini. It’s called a barraquito.