The Best of Aspen: Other stuff
BEST STORY FROM THE PAST YEAR
There are a lot of expensive surveys we could conduct to find out if people are reading our paper, or the Daily News for that matter. But we’ve found that’s unnecessary, thanks to this category.
People are reading Aspen’s papers (judging by the number of entries) and, better yet, they remember what they read. At least if it was a good, juicy story.
Considering how this story broke into the international spotlight faster than an Aspen rumor, it was no big surprise that Aron Ralston’s horrifying five days in the desert was the top story of the year. Ralston, who in the past year had climbed most of Colorado’s fourteeners solo in the winter, found himself solo in the desert in the worst of all situations.
While he was scrambling over a boulder in a narrow slot canyon west of Canyonlands, the boulder shifted and crushed Ralston’s hand. After the former engineer unsuccessfully tried every option he could think of, and after his water and food had run out, he did the unthinkable – tied a tourniquet, broke his wrist bones, cut off his hand, rappelled 60 feet out of the slot canyon, and walked out and found help.
Ralston, whose story is still being told and retold around the world, is recovering well and back doing what he loves … tackling mountains and tackling new challenges.
And now for something completely different, the second-most-favorite story was about the man whose penis “accidentally” emerged from his ski pants while he was riding the lift with a female skier. He said he didn’t notice anything wrong until she started screaming at him. He’s sticking to his story, but we can only wonder how wintertime temperatures wouldn’t make such a problem immediately noticeable.
Our favorite answers: We’d probably have to agree with those mentioned above, though we did like the short item about the huge pot plant growing outside of the midvalley Alpine Bank. Some may have noticed T-shirts around town bearing the bank’s emblem and the words, “Alpine Dank.” Now that’s a smokin’ story.
BEST EMPTY STOREFRONT
Geez, you try to have a little fun and some people get really touchy. Yes, we think the growing number of empty stores is a big problem, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with it.
The third-place vote-getter, “there are none,” also seems to reflect that people find no humor in this particular problem.
Nonetheless, the winner in this category was “the old Sports Stalker,” the space just down the mall from the old Aspen Drug that has been vacant for years now. The beautiful old building was Kobey’s Dry Goods in the days of old, and it’s a shame that it now sits empty.
So it seems appropriate that Aspen Drug was close behind in second place. The problem is that it’s not empty any more; it’s a real estate office.
BEST THING TO DO WHILE COMMUTING
This is always one of our more popular categories, as a huge number of our readers must commute every day, either by bus or automobile. And people always do their best to be creative. We hope they’re not this creative when they are actually commuting.
This year’s winner out of a long list was “listen to the radio.” That’s hard to do on the bus, but seems perfectly harmless while in the car. And with quite a variety of radio stations to choose from, why not just tune in to your favorite and listen to news, talk radio or music?
We had a tie this year for second between “reading” and “talk on the cell phone.” Reading is always popular, though we hope those doing the reading are on the bus. Since talking on the cell phone made its first appearance as a top vote-getter, it appears we can no longer escape this scourge. If you’re driving and talking, please pay attention to the road. And if you’re on the bus, please talk quietly; there are people trying to read.
Our favorite answers: Where to begin? As always there’s a number of sexually related answers, but we won’t go into detail on those. Our three favorites were “keep hands and feet in the car at all times,” “relax and watch all the beauty pass by” and “curse at George Bush.”
BEST RADIO STATION
This year’s voting mirrored last year’s. Though our taste in ski gear may change every year, it appears that our readers never waver when it comes to picking the best radio station.
And the best is the station that provides its own mix of old and new rock, hard and soft – KSPN. That’s where it’s really happenin’ on the radio dial, according to our readers.
Not too far behind in the voting was last year’s second-place winner, KSNO. This station, which suffered an identity crisis for many years, seems to have finally found its niche with a music mixture not unlike KSPN’s.The addition of local news coverage probably hasn’t hurt either.
We weren’t sure what to expect when we asked this question. We were looking for new categories, someone said, “Best Excuse,” and that was that. As it turned out, this was the most creative category by far.
While we received excuses for just about every situation, the clear winner was “Powder Day!” It’s unfortunate we haven’t often been able to use that excuse in recent years, but it seems the “6-inch rule” is still very much in effect. It’s not so much an excuse in this town, it’s the law.
Way back in second is one many employers hear in this town every day, one of the negative side effects of being a commuter town. And that’s “Aw, you should have seen the traffic on Highway 82. There’s no way I could have gotten here on time.”
Our favorite answers: There are almost too many answers in this category to pick a favorite. So we’ll just list the top 10:
10. “What’s that? Sorry, you’re cell phone’s breaking up.”
9. “I have a disease.”
8. “I was drunk.”
7. “My karma broke down and I had to wait for RFTA.”
6. “Jury duty.”
5. “The CIA said it was OK.”
4. “Because I’m ticklish.”
3. “I didn’t know it was loaded.”
2. “Uncrowded by Design.”
And, according to us, the No. 1 best excuse: “I feel too damn good to come to work.”
BEST REASON TO MOVE AWAY
We can’t think of any really good reason to move away. Mountains, rivers, good people, arts, music, great newspapers … what could be better?
Well, unfortunately, our readers found quite a few reasons to move away, though “there is no reason to move away” did come in second place. The best reason to move away is the same one our readers have been citing for years: “It’s too expensive.”
Tough to argue with that. Some of us manage to tough it out, find the breaks and make Aspen home forever. But for too many, it’s just too much, working three jobs to pay the rent on a studio that’s smaller than your boss’s office.
Our favorite answers: We always get a wide range of answers to this question, and they’re always changing. Last year “no ocean” was very popular, yet not one person pined for crashing waves this year. This year’s odd answers ranged from “cellulite exposure” to “it’s too fun” to “stocks went belly up” to “The Aspen Times” (we think one of our employees may have slipped in a ballot). One person said, “It’s too cold.” You live in the mountains, for crying out loud. Our favorite answer, however, was “to get into rehab.”
BEST REASON TO STAY HERE
This has always been our favorite question and always attracts a wide variety of answers. And it should.
“The beauty” once again was chosen by our readers in this year’s poll. We had a tie this year for second place between simply “it’s Aspen,” and “the locals.”
The people who live here took second last year, as well, which is a good sign. Despite the fact that we fight over every little issue, it’s that passion, that craziness, that sincerity that makes Aspen extra special.
“Skiing” got only one vote this year. We hope that’s just a sign that the sun is out, the rivers are flowing and snow is the farthest thing from our minds.
Our favorite answers: People said, “good-looking women,” “it’s a great place to raise kids,” “to not really work” and “there’s good stuff goin’ on.” But for some reason, “hot older women” struck us as the best answer this year.
ONE BEST THING ABOUT ASPEN
What to choose, what to choose? There are so many great things about Aspen. One person went so far as to say, “living in Snowmass.” According to other people, they’re most attracted to the diversity, the dogs and the free and easy lifestyle.
But valley residents have made it clear what they think are the two best things about Aspen for the second year in a row – the people and the mountains. We couldn’t agree more. The mountains are who we are – they define us, they watch over us and we turn to them for solace. And there’s nothing better than sharing life in the mountains with people who think like you (no matter how strange they seem at times), who understand that it’s worth making the sacrifices it takes to call Aspen home.
The second best thing about Aspen is yet again the weather. Though we would love to see more storms in the winter and a little more rain in the summer, it’s hard not to love the weather here – if you’re a mountain person.
People found a lot of other best things about Aspen, such as Aspen’s daily papers, the diversity, the Music Festival and the Aspen Recreation Center. We’re also happy to report that several people voted for skiing.
Our favorite answers: Well, hot women got a few votes in this category, as well. And we always love “it’s not Vail.” Another one that caught our eye was “no support for undercover cops” (really, our chief swears it). But we have to give the nod to “it’s the best place for second chances.” We’re not sure what it means, but we still like it.
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