Beckwith: Scooping the competition on fake news |

Beckwith: Scooping the competition on fake news

I usually try not to blatantly steal somebody’s idea, but a few days ago a local newspaper printed some fake news. Now, I’m all about journalistic integrity and following in the footsteps of leaders. If the president of the United States can steal the Aspen Daily News’ idea of creating fake news, so can I. That and I’ve always wanted to write for the April Fools’ Day edition of the Aspen Daily News. Here are a few pertinent stories they overlooked:

Hunt purchases Silver Queen Gondola, to rent out as hotel rooms

Local developer Mark Hunt continued his challenge of Aspen Skiing Co. for town supremacy as he purchased the Silver Queen Gondola for $1.2 billion.

When Skico representatives were asked about the deal, they said, “Do you know what you can do with $1.2 billion? We can buy the Colorado Rockies now.”

Hunt, who has been buying property in Aspen and renovating it like Wilson Fisk in the first season of “Daredevil,” now has to figure out the particulars of renting the gondola cars as rooms. He said he plans to expand the cars but first has to seek approval from the city on size variances.

“This is something we’ve been thinking about for a long time. Visitors love ski-in, ski-out rooms, so we figured why not let them rent space on the mountain,” Hunt said.

Hunt plans to rename the gondola Base 3. Rooms start at $1,100 a night and can cost as much as $1,700 during peak seasons. Until he can outfit the cars with bathroom facilities, he plans to run the gondola throughout the night allowing guests to get off to use the rest rooms at the Sundeck.

When asked about skier access, Hunt said, “I guess Skico has even more motivation to redo the Lift 1A area now.”

Transient hopes second-home owners take season off in quest for squatting rights

A local homeless man who has been residing at a vacant vacation house in the West End is close to his goal of gaining squatting rights after the owners opted to go to Chamonix, France, instead of their usual Aspen vacation.

The transient, Owen Taylor, said he got the idea after reading about James Hogue, a local con man who was recently arrested after police found an illegal shack built on Aspen mountain and Hogue’s car filled with stolen property and cash.

“I saw what (Hogue) did, and thought if he can live in a shack unnoticed for that long, I can probably do the same thing at one of these second houses,” Taylor said.

However, Taylor’s path to squatter’s rights might take longer than originally thought. He said his friend Gary told him it takes 18 months to attain the rights in Colorado, when it actually takes 18 years.

“Where’d you see that?” Taylor said when informed of the mishap. “Google? Ask Jeeves? Ah man, f— Gary.”

When asked for comment on the story, owners John and Karen Burke said, “Are you serious? There’s a homeless man living in our house? Why didn’t you notify the police? Excuse us, we have to make a phone call.”

Longtime loyal employee passed over for promotion in favor of shaky line cook

In an overt act of racism, dishwasher-turned-prep-cook-turned-line-cook Juan Oliviero was bypassed for a sous chef job at Campo de Tua in favor of Darrell Perkins, a recently hired cook who trained at the Culinary Institute of America.

Chef Travis Wilson said Oliviero’s English wasn’t good enough to communicate with the staff.

“My English is fine. I don’t understand. I’m from Philly,” Oliviero said when asked about Wilson’s comments.

Another employee, Marco Viega, said the real reason is because Perkins introduced Wilson to “some really aggressive (electronic dance music) and knows a guy who sells molly.”

“Perkins lives in the weeds,” Viega said. “I’m not even sure how he graduated from the CIA.”

Wilson said Viega was totally off base and that Perkins’ classical training was the deciding factor, adding, “Viega knows I’m more of a cocaine guy, anyway.”

Oliviero isn’t sure what his next move is but said in the interim he’ll drag ass at work and make undermining comments to new hires.

Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. Reach him at

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