No substitute for the real deal
My interest has been piqued by the recent discussion over the mall hearth fire pit downtown. Bill Lipsey and Linda Girvin made some excellent points that should be seriously considered (letters, Jan. 17). The natural gas industry advertises nationally how much cheaper it is to heat water with natural gas than electricity for example ” let’s use that to our advantage, especially considering the proximity of all the recent operations.
First of all, the carbon footprint left by the downtown fire pit really is a red herring; there are far more egregious examples of inefficiency all over our valley. If you have to ask what those are, you’re not paying attention.
Secondly, while I applaud the spirit of engineering, innovation and design spurred on by the contest to replace the downtown fire pit with an alternative source of some sort, at face value this seems gratuitous at best. Gazing into open flame whether it be from a gas or wood source is one of the few connections human beings have to our primordial beings. It’s the new wave of virtual technology ” making our lives richer, by providing something that isn’t actually there. Humans have been gathering around fires for many moons ” there is no substitute. Replacing an open flame with an artificial flame of any sort only buys into one of the greatest problems of today’s society: We are surrounded by fake products ” fat free foods, imitation seafood, artificial everything, diet this and that, reality TV, and all of it is pure garbage. Ever gone camping without a campfire? It’s like having a bike stolen.
There is no substitute for the real thing, whatever the “thing” is.
People come to Aspen on vacation to get away from all that. An artificial fire in our downtown core just proves we have rolled over and sold out. Some say we already have, but I beg to differ. An open fire pit shows we have soul. Let’s not disappoint. An LCD fireplace is something for an in-flight catalogue, not my town. Removing the downtown fire pit would be a huge mistake ” if anything, make it bigger, and put in another one while you’re at it.
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International visitors have traditionally accounted for 10 to 20 percent of Aspen Skiing Co.’s skier visits in recent past seasons. Travel fears and restrictions tied to the coronavirus are expected to wipe out most of that market for 2020-21.