The bigger hills

Kevin BurtonAspen, CO Colorado

I don’t know that much about skiing, being for Kansas, (other than the occasional family trips to Silver Creek and Winter Park), but can you blame me? I moved here in November to work at The Aspen Times. Previously, I worked for several newspapers around the Kansas City area, one of which did boast its own ski area – Snow Creek in Weston, Mo.So you see, I may not know skiing, but I know ski towns.Well, not really. Let’s look at some of Snow Creeks startling statistics:Elevation: 1,100 feet … at the top. Who says the Midwest is flat? I think there are wells in this town higher than that. Oh, and did I mention the blistering 300-foot vertical drop?Skiable area: 20 acres, all of which are covered with homemade snow. Pack a lunch for the longest run, a staggering 0.33 miles.Total lifts: 4, including one double chair and a single surface lift. They can rock out 5,000 lifts an hour though. A full season lift ticket will run you $400. They also offer a pick-a-day pass, daily deals and learn-to-ski.Runs/Trails: 30 percent beginner, 60 percent intermediate, 5 percent advanced, 5 percent “expert.” Yeah, I’m sure. People here ski through Aspen trees. There, it’s thistle.I am poking fun at the skiing, but the community offered a lot more than that. Weston is a small, nestled community about 40 miles northwest of Kansas City. More directly, it sits about 15 miles northwest of the Kansas City International Airport. The town once sat on the banks of the Missouri River and was a stop on the trade route between St. Joseph and Kansas City. The original Main Street is still there, much like Aspen, and so are many of the old buildings. Luckily, the city did a good job of protecting itself from the urban sprawl of Kansas City. Platte City, about 5 miles closer to the metro area than Weston, hasn’t been so lucky.So, minus the skiing, Weston’s a lot like Aspen. It’s just some places have bigger hills (and bills).