An eventful month | AspenTimes.com

An eventful month

Paul E. Anna
Aspen, CO Colorado

This is supposed to be winter’s slow time. The chilly nights after Christmas are supposed to lead to days of few responsibilities and easy parking. Ah, but that kind of thinking is for the past, as January has turned Aspen into “Event City.”

It started last week when the dogs (no, not the Dogs of Aspen Mountain) took center stage for the canine fashion show, long a Wintersköl highlight. The sun shone brightly as the parade wound its way through town leaving taffy, toffee and peppermint candies in its wake. The Aspen State Teachers College, though hardly the University of Georgia Bulldog Marching Band, made a game appearance as well, following Tom Egan’s lead.

And what would Wintersköl be without fireworks? Thanks to an Aspen businessman, the night sky lit up loud and bright on Saturday night with a Winterworks display. The event may have seen its heyday in the eyes of many, but count this columnist among the many locals who still think that Wintersköl has an important place in the heart of this community.

This week, it was time to play with the “dirty boys” (that’s what it says on the website) as the 31st Aspen Gay Ski Week kicked off. The always-popular Downhill Costume Competition takes place today at noon. It is a little like the canine fashion show the week before, except that there are skis involved and most of the golden retrievers would not be caught dead in the attire, or lack thereof, that today’s competitors will sport. A word of caution to those who enter: The tip of the nose, the fingers and the toes freeze first. That means …

Gay Ski Week is as much an institution in this town as Wintersköl. And let’s face it, it is a lot more profitable for business. Anytime you get an event with a sponsor roster that includes beer behemoth Bud Light, the city of Aspen, and the ever reliable and essential Elbow Grease Personal Lubricants, you know you have a hit. Full disclosure: The Aspen Times is listed on the Gay Ski Week website as an event sponsor as well. Maybe we’re the “dirty boys” they were referring to.

Then, next week it’s the grandchild of them all ” ESPN’s Winter X Games returns (I would have said “granddaddy of them all,” but it’s hard to refer to a youth event as such). The X Games have become hotter than Christmas in this town. Not only are the games themselves great and a draw for winter sports spectators all over the state, they put Aspen out there on the world stage via satellite in a way that no other ski town in the world can boast.

Still, with all this stuff going on I miss the days when January meant no responsibilities and plenty of parking spaces. Reminds me of the joke, “How many Aspenites does it take to change a light bulb? Three. One to change it and two to tell you how great the old one was.”

Insert rim shot here.


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