Values-driven community event hosted by city of Aspen this week |

Values-driven community event hosted by city of Aspen this week

City of Aspen-driven event focuses on skiing, history and wild places

Photographer and Roaring Fork Valley native Pete McBride gives a presentation about his new book, "Seeing Silence: The Beauty of the World's Most Quiet Places," on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021, at the Wheeler Opera House in Aspen. (Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times)
Austin Colbert/The Aspen Times

In its attempt to host more community gathering events, the city of Aspen is kicking off the winter season with a multi-topic presentation at the Wheeler Opera House this week that celebrates the town’s history, ski racing and the power of nature and its wild places.

The free event, to be held on Wednesday, Nov. 30, was born out of a conversation at an Aspen City Council meeting last month when Mayor Torre got the support of his colleagues in having the city’s special events department create something that brings locals together.

Torre said his ask was the result of previous conversations he has had with residents involved in resurrecting public art and more events around it.

“We were having this conversation and it just came up about moving forward for the community to do connectivity events, art as a focus but also mental health as part of that,” he said.

Council members agreed and lamented the loss of traditions like what was called the “Freshman Mixer” event that welcomed the new class of workers to the resort and prize giveaways drew in the crowd.

“I don’t see that happening anymore,” said Councilwoman Rachel Richards. “There is no effort to integrate the new arrivals to the workforce, what the town is and we were always trying to avoid the song, ‘I don’t know, I don’t live here, I just work here,’” she said. “So, in that sense if it’s something like that I support it.”

There will be schwag given away provided by Aspen Skiing Co. and from some of the presenters at Wednesday’s event, including giveaways and raffle door prizes. That could be limited signed prints from local photographer, filmmaker, and author Pete McBride.

He will do a multi-media presentation and conversation about his book “Seeing Silence: The Beauty of the World’s Most Quiet Places”.

The valley native and National Geographic photographer will share tales from his book, which combines two decades documenting remote regions around the world. His deep dive explores the importance of humanity’s wild places, not just for its inhabitants, but for human beings’ own mental health. 

Skico will present the legacy of ski racing and the Audi FIS World Cup. In 1950, Aspen hosted the first FIS Ski World Cup outside of Europe. This March, Aspen Mountain will once again become the main stage for America’s Downhill

Skico officials will talk about how Aspen’s ski racing roots run deep and remain central to the community, along with other events happening this winter. 

The Aspen Historical Society will have a presence at the event as well, introducing “Aspen History 101”.

The program is designed for people who are new to town or just need a crash course in Aspen history.

It was something Councilman Ward Hauenstein suggested during October’s meeting to bring back some good old-fashioned fun.

 “We should have some kind of celebration to welcome the freshman class and Ullr Fest, a snow dance and I don’t think it has to greatly involve a lot of industry, but Aspen has kind of lost its capacity for fun so let’s bring that back,” he said.

Wednesday’s event does not include a snow dance, but hits on Aspen’s history and the environment.

“We think we got a good mix in the middle,” said Nancy Lesley, the city’s director of special events and marketing.

The event is free, but it does require people to register at

“It won’t cost anything, and I think they will learn something and maybe walk away with some schwag,” Lesley said.


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