November 27, 2015
Aspen is no common place, and its residents celebrate Thanksgiving in no common way.
Aspen's active lifestyle was on display Thursday with residents getting up to go skiing, hiking and, in some cases, running in the city's first-ever Turkey Trot at the Aspen Golf Course.
Sporting a turkey costume, Aspen resident Josh Meyer came in first place for the men's division in the 5-kilometer race that benefited Aspen Valley Young Life. Meyer, who coaches cross country at Aspen High School, said some of his students participate in Young Life, and it "didn't take a lot of convincing" to get him out to the race, he said.
Kylie Collins, the female winner, is an Aspen teacher and joined for similar reasons. Collins and Meyer both took home a turkey, although Collins said she probably wouldn't be cooking the bird after the race.
"I did most of my cooking yesterday," she said. "Now I can go eat."
The Turkey Trot even boasted celebrity support — part-time resident Lance Armstrong ran the race, snapping a photo with Turkey Trot organizers Chris and Caroline Field.
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With clear skies and high temperatures, lots of people were loading the Silver Queen Gondola for a bit of Thanksgiving skiing. Mayor Steve Skadron skinned up the mountain Thursday morning, which he says is an annual pastime for him.
"It's special to me to ski, period, but it's a tradition on Thanksgiving," he said.
Not everyone was in a festive spirit, though. Employees of the Aspen Cross Country Center were cleaning up broken glass during the Turkey Trot thanks to someone apparently breaking in through a window overnight. Three jackets valued at a total of about $850 were missing, said Officer Kirk Wheatley of the Aspen Police Department.
But the holiday spirit was strong at the Hickory House, where the rib joint was serving up its annual free Thanksgiving meal, complete with all the fixings — turkey, potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce and, of course, pumpkin pie.
Donations were accepted for Ascendigo, a valley nonprofit that provides programming for adults and children on the autism spectrum. The meal was served by Hickory House staff members and volunteers like Sandy Saks, who flies in from San Antonio for Thanksgiving and has volunteered at the Hickory House for the past two years.
Marie Kelly of Snowmass Village was volunteering for the 11th time. She said the people who volunteer every year become like family.
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else," Kelly said.