Aspen skiing gives way to laps on the links |

Aspen skiing gives way to laps on the links

Now that the mountain is closed, I can breathe a sigh of relief. There’s no more pressure to get up there to get my days loaded on the full-season pass, or deal with the stress of chairlifts and the gondola (I’m a freak when it comes to heights), or feel like I’m missing out in general.

Don’t get me wrong — I love to ski. But as I get older, golf has climbed up in the rankings. So for me, it’s the dawn of a new season.

My colleagues have used this space to tout their 100 days on the mountain, or brag about their skiing and snowboarding experiences for the past several months.

I didn’t even get close to getting my 100-day pin this year but I’m sure going to try this summer for the equivalent at the Aspen Golf Course, which is arguably one of the finest municipal tracks in the country.

I get a season pass every year (the guys there say I had something to do with the invention of the Silver Pass, which limits play to before 8 a.m. or after 1 p.m. during the high season). They are a responsive bunch out there, I must say.

Just like skiing, the more laps or rounds I get in, the cheaper the pass becomes in my mind. I got off to a late start this spring, with my first rounds being this past weekend.

The course is in great shape for only being open for a couple of weeks, and the greens came out of the winter in pretty good condition. A newly built green on hole No. 2 is expected to be unveiled as soon as the end of this week. They softened the contours so they aren’t as severe. It’d be nice to be on in two and walk off with a birdie or a par. The old green almost always guaranteed a bogey or worse.

It’s like having our own country club out there. I got a locker so I can ride my bike and avoid the Castle Creek Bridge mess. And the food and atmosphere at the Red Mountain Grill can’t be beat. I look forward to my leisurely breakfasts and evening cocktails on the patio looking out onto the 18th green.

Speaking of country clubs, here’s a little known fact: The exclusive Maroon Creek Club next to the muni is open to the public, thanks to a 99-year lease with the city of Aspen. That’s because a portion of the course is on city-owned land, just off Stage Road northwest of the Maroon Creek Bridge.

Yep, if you are an Aspen resident and can prove it, you can play the Maroon Creek Club. According to the lease, the club can’t charge 50 percent greater than the current day’s rate at the municipal course.

They open May 18. Who’s up for bringing a little muni to the Maroon? “Caddyshack” relived!


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