On the Hill: Next new guy | AspenTimes.com

On the Hill: Next new guy

Kevin Burton
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” This week marks the one-year anniversary of my landing a job at The Aspen Times.

When I arrived in town on Nov. 4, I didn’t know anyone. So it came as a surprise last week when I learned that the first two people I met (not related to my job) are both moving away. One is moving to St. Louis; the other is moving to Florida.

Mind you, I was a complete idiot when I moved to Aspen. I hadn’t been skiing since 1998, and I’d never been to Aspen. My visit one year ago was my first time here. Needless to say, I was sold.

I eventually migrated to Cooper Street Pier, where I could watch my beloved Kansas City Chiefs on the NFL package. The first Sunday of my existence in Aspen, I met James ” or “Jimmy James” as everyone knows him.

The robust sous chef had lived in Gardner, Kan., growing up ” and he was a Chiefs fan. (Not too many around these parts, I tell ya.)

The more time I spent with James, the more I realized that almost everyone in town had seen this guy. I had been here one week, and I had already met an Aspen institution. Mick Ireland may have the title now, but as one guy told me, “that guy’s the mayor of Aspen.”

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At the same time, I met Chip, who was bartending at Cooper Street Pier. And, even though he was a NASCAR fan (which I tend to shy away from), he was a really cool guy.

One time, when I was down about not being able to ski last season (for financial reasons, mostly), he said, “Hey, man, I’ve lived here seven years and never skied.”

I remind you that I was an Aspen idiot then; I assumed everyone over the age of 6 months had a seven-day pass.

Both these guys had been here for years. They knew the terrain, and they opened their experiences up to me. The told me the deals, where to shop, what to buy, where to eat and where to be ” all the things a new guy needs.

Now I celebrate a year here and they’re leaving. On to bigger, better and (in Chip’s case) much warmer places. And don’t ask me why you’d leave Aspen for “St. Louise” ” I have no idea.

Knowing these guys is knowing they’ll succeed there just like they did here. I just hope I can carry the torch in their honor and help the next new guy I see.