Towns change, mountains don’t
So I was recently thumbing through “Bored?,” the new publication from David Shinn that you may have seen floating around Aspen, and it made me pretty nostalgic.The pages are full of things past, at least to most of us. There are words and images of the life and times of an old VW bus; train hopping through the West; how to make a pipe you can eat; and other tasty oddities. So what does this have to do with skiing? Everything. Maybe not directly, as the content has little do with skiing. But at the same time it has everything to do with life in a ski town, at least what a ski town should be. It’s creative, weird and different. It’s about who we should be, and not who we’ve become. “I have loved many places, but the Rocky Mountains!” Shinn exclaims in his intro, “Look at them. There they are, just to the left of the big real estate building in front of you, no, no, no. Your other left. Yeah, I know, so many real estate offices I should have said, ‘red.’ OK kind of to the right of the silver roof of the bank but slightly below the top of the crane … it’s the seventh crane you can see and slightly below. Those are the mountains I fell in love with.”Yes, times have changed, and the ski bum is dead, or at least he’s crawled off in the shadows or to points unknown. Other things, like money and development, are now vital for progress … I guess. It’s depressing, and there’s nothing you can really do about it. But Shinn’s spirit is uplifting as he reminds us that the past – when adventure and exploration were far more valuable than getting rich – is not that far gone, and there is hope. Shinn also reminds us that while mountain towns change, the mountains themselves don’t – at least not those that are too steep, wild and remote for development – and neither will the people who revere such places.
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A ski season surrounded with uncertainty kicks off on Wednesday. The six inches of new snowfall Tuesday will allow opening of an additional 62 acres on Aspen Mountain, bringing opening-day total to about 160 acres.