Roger Marolt: Not in a rush for something to happen here | AspenTimes.com

Roger Marolt: Not in a rush for something to happen here

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic

Snowmass Village is not a town for newspaper columnists. That means it is great for almost everyone else. Nothing much worth worrying about happens. Most of the gossip can be handled well enough by citizens chatting in front of the post office.

The noise and lights at the rodeo grounds can be slightly annoying at times for those who live close and make an effort to notice on an evening when the windows are open and there’s not much on television. The snowplow sometimes leaves a furrow of ice in front of the driveway. Every once in awhile somebody spots a moose chewing grass.

I’m not saying these things aren’t worth discussing, but overall, if you are in the business of chronicling daily life in Snowmass Village, a paragraph or two pretty much exhausts the coverage of most local issues.

The ying to our yang, of course, is Aspen. You can’t cross a street there without risking published controversy. Debate is the driver in conversation.

Nobody greets you with a simple “Hello.” It’s more like, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you describe your pain level today?”

It is the town that residents love to brag about to their old friends still living in the Midwest, and the city they commiserate over with their neighbors.

Concerned Snowmass journalists have made concerted efforts to change our beige reputation to no avail. Remember the great fluoride debate?

I wouldn’t say it was intense, but people definitely set aside sports and the weather for awhile so that they could chime in with their thoughts about it for a few minutes. Nobody got red in the face. Nobody harbors a grudge. Do we still have fluoride in our water?

Remember the mammoth bone discovery up at the reservoir excavation? Good on you, if you do. We thought we had something there to hash over for years, maybe even generations. But, we all knew the excitement was going to be short lived when one local reader sent a letter to the paper suggesting we ought to use some of the bones to make mammoth soup for a community supper and then another followed up by submitting a recipe.

We’ve had columnists trying to stir the pot with topics like chemtrails and challenging the constitutionality of paying income taxes, but the topics didn’t have staying power in the community consciousness. The closest we’ve come to conspiracy theory was the proposed steeple on the new church that was never built — it was too tall and they may have hung bells in it.

Discussing our town’s carbon footprint has about the same impact as would finding Big Foot tracks in the backyard — yawn, it must have been an elk.

We newspaper people spend no time throwing things against the wall to see what sticks. The community walls are papered with candy-striped vinyl.

The only thing we ever got passionate about was Base Village. Initially we had ardent supporters and opponents of the project, but as it began to look like it was in financial trouble and then collapsed into the most colossal real estate development failure in the history of Western Colorado, just ahead of the ghost town on Independence Pass, everyone jumped on the side of those who always knew it was too big to succeed. Today you cannot find a single resident who admits being in favor of it 15 years ago when the thing was approved. It would be impossible now to prove that a majority ever actually voted it in.

Forget the explanation that Snowmass Village is a more mature, conservative community primarily made up of retired Midwestern upper-level business people. The truth is that, by accident or design, the peace-keeper is that almost all commercial development is in one part of town and all the residential in another. In short, we don’t mix business with pleasure. With the exception of Base Village, which can probably be spotted on Earth by The Man in Moon, we don’t build commercial development in anyone’s face.

The Mall is surrounded by hotels and condos. Check. The Town Center is off on its own. Check. Our homes are built on the sides of mountains, tiered to prevent any blockage of views. Check. Town Hall is sequestered like a hermitage. Check. None of our citizens are in anyone’s business and it’s nobody’s business what goes on in our homes. It may not look or feel like a normal town, but what does that matter? We have tranquility in politics and feel-good stories in the newspaper. Even if this occurred by dumb luck, property values ought to continue to rise.

Roger Marolt believes it is harder to write about nothing than everything else. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.


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