Series to reflect on 2021 with an eye toward 2022 |

Series to reflect on 2021 with an eye toward 2022

Staff report

The Aspen Times kicks off year-ending coverage

Flashing back at the headlines from one year ago, in January 2021, showed a time of hope, discouragement and frustration.

There was hope because a vaccination for COVID-19 had arrived to Pitkin County. Yet there was discouragement because of the availability of vaccines. And frustration rose once again, in direct correlation with the rising number of COVID-19 cases that prompted the Pitkin County’s health board to ban indoor dining in restaurants, among other measures.

Case counts are rising yet again in Aspen and Pitkin County, but restaurants, hotels and everything else remain open. Yet, there are indoor mask laws in Pitkin — overall compliance is another question — and vaccines are now widely available.

But you can’t mask the fact that the pandemic remains a nagging, tenacious and present disruption to our everyday lives.

The COVID-19 variants delta and omicron get the chief credit for that, yet there also remains a refusal by a segment of the populace to not get vaccinated, to not wear masks, and to not practice other highly recommended ways to prevent contracting or spreading the virus.

This year and into the first week of 2022, The Aspen Times will examine the issues and news events that defined the Aspen-area community in 2021, while also turning the lens to next year and what to look for.

You’ll notice in our coverage how the pandemic’s tentacles have and will continue to dip into our news coverage: skiing, tourism, development, mental health, labor shortages, business closings, housing shortages, a real estate boom, entertainment, and on and on.

News outlooks are hardly an exact science, but they force us to study the future by examining how the past has led us to this point. Yet we also have a pandemic-sized virus that can pivot the future on a dime, and while science isn’t exact or perfect, it is our best compass to understand this disease’s behavior and dangerous potential.

Sunday marks the kickoff of The Aspen Times’ year in review that also trains an eye to the future. The series will run in daily installments that conclude Jan. 4.

In closing, we appreciate all of the readers who picked up The Aspen Times or read it online in 2021, as well as those who have taken the time to acknowledge our reporting, point out our mistakes, or direct us toward an area of news coverage we haven’t considered. Happy holidays to all, and may there be more good news than bad in the coming year.

— The Aspen Times staff