High Country: A PAX party at Ajax | AspenTimes.com

High Country: A PAX party at Ajax

Ripping around with the vape company’s own JJ O’Brien, who shares his personal pod picks

Katie Shapiro
High Country
PAX Labs' vice president of strategy JJ O’Brien on Aspen Mountain.
Rising Sun Photog for PAX Labs


Instead of green beer, treat yourself to a personalized PAX Era in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. PAX Labs is popping up in town this weekend with its new on-site engraving machine where you can take your pick from two limited-edition shamrock designs along with other graphic or monogramming options. Receive a complimentary PAX Era with custom engraving with any PAX pod purchase.

Thursday, March 14

1 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Native Roots

308 S. Hunter St., 

Saturday, March 16

3 p.m. - 6 p.m.


520 E. Cooper Ave., 

It is one of the best ski seasons ever, and last week during a bluebird break in between storms, I had one of the best ski days ever on Ajax thanks to PAX Labs. Joining me on mountain was the San Francisco-based vaporizer technology company’s vice president of strategy, JJ O’Brien, who was in town for a host of meetings and summer event planning sessions.

Since starting at PAX Labs in 2016, the Stanford MBA-armed pot power player personally developed and oversaw the launch of its PAX Era device. In the past three years, PAX Labs has revolutionized the cannabis concentrates category through its pen and pod system for oil extracts. Working with select cultivators and retail partners throughout Colorado and other legal states, PAX makes consuming the purest form of the plant as easy as clicking one of its patented pods into place.

The PAX Era itself ($29.99, 
paxvapor.com or at a dispensary near you) is lightweight and extremely user-friendly — especially for newbies and/or outdoor adventures. Each pod contains 500 milligrams of extract without synthetic additives. One hit “burns” approximately three milligrams, depending on temperature setting, so a pod can last up to a month or longer. Plus, it’s USB-charging compatible and has its own mobile app that allows for custom temperature and light color control along with a remote device locking option for parents.

Last summer, PAX Labs unveiled a firmware update to its useful app (compatible with Android and iOS), which allows total control of the length and strength of each vaporizing session through four settings. Measured based upon energy used, not time, ensures a more accurate result than other dosing mechanisms seen in other vape brands.

Our full day of fresh powder turns was powered by a variety of new PAX pods, effectively enhancing our performance as we ripped around the mountain (an obligatory stop to show O’Brien the Jerry Garcia shrine for the first time included). It’s worth noting that we can’t even technically mention where we technically partook in PAX-ing that day.*

Ski culture — especially in Aspen — is a hard-partying one that encourages alcohol consumption at most every on-mountain establishment. It’s high time that responsible cannabis use for recreational and wellness purposes, is at least acknowledged as an equal and arguably safer part of the scene. And the debauchery our downtown streets will endure this weekend during the Après Ski Cocktail Classic? Just another example of the hypocrisy.

I digress. So just as you would when you’re having a beer with your bowl of chili at lunch, know your tolerance and consciously consume while skiing. With even more snow on the way, take a PAX Era with you to make the most of your next powder day and reference this rundown for O’Brien’s own recommendations and tasting notes:

PAX Pod: Mary’s Medicinals 3:1 CBD: THC

Availability: $60 at Silverpeak, Euflora, Best Day Ever, Green Dragon, Green Joint, High Q

Extraction Type: Distillate

JJ’s Take: “Distillate extractions are high in THC, but isolate out the THC and blends it back with either cannabis-derived or naturally-derived terpenes like CBD. This pod is the best way to start your day on the slopes. The 3:1 ratio will deliver a predominantly CBD-only type of effect without the psychoactive high. A daily dose of CBD in the morning enables me to replace the Advil before booting up and gets my mind into the zone for the mountain.”

PAX Pod: The Lab Sour Diesel

Availability: $60 at Roots Rx, Native Roots. Best Day Ever, Silverpeak, Euflora

Extraction Type: High Terpene

JJ’s Take: “A high terpene extract is typically lower in THC, but higher in cannabis-derived terpenes, driving a less psychoactive experience — ideal for outdoor pursuits. While this pod has a lower percentage of THC, it makes up for it with a rich terpene profile, which drives a more holistic, full-body high. Also since it’s a sativa, it’s a great après ski strain to keep your energy level up and is sure to induce some laughs while recapping the best runs of the day with your friends.”

PAX Pod: REVEL Blueberry

Availability: $60 at Native Roots

Extraction Type: Distillate

JJ’s Take: “This delicious blueberry-flavored pod is the perfect companion for the hot tub and some bubbly while providing additional relief for sore ski legs.”

PAX Labs’ Pyramid Durban Poison pod with a limited-edition St. Patrick’s Day PAX Era.
Courtesy: Rising Sun Photog for PAX Labs

Courtesy photo

PAX Pod: Pyramid Durban Poison

Availability: $45 at Roots Rx

Extraction Type: Distillate

JJ’s Take: “This potent sativa is perfect for keeping the party going into the night and offered at a lower price point, so you won’t mind as much when sharing with friends while you’re all out on the town.”

PAX Pod: Harmony Extracts Live Sauce

Availability: $60 at Euflora

Extraction Type: Live Sauce

JJ’s Take: “AKA ‘live resin,’ a ‘live’ extract uses fresh frozen, whole bud flower (versus dried trim) that retains the most robust spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes, giving users the closest experience to consuming right from the plant itself. These craft extracts are available in an indica, sativa or hybrid blend — any of which are the perfect nightcap for a sound night’s sleep and drive amazing flavor through the formula’s rich spectrum of terpenes and cannabinoids.”

* Disclaimer: Aspen Snowmass ski areas occupy federal land, where cannabis is still illegal; be mindful of the law and the environment when you’re out on the mountain.

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com and followed on Twitter