But the advertisement said Aspen is affordable
I hear about the “decadent” million-dollar, 10-night “Holiday High Life” package that the Hotel Jerome is offering for a stay in Aspen and simply wonder why in the hell I choose to remain in this town.I mean really, the big selling point has nothing to do with what you get for your money and everything to do with making yourself “the envy of Aspen’s bevy of socialites, celebrities and luminaries.” Merry Christmas! That’ll turn your stash to crud quicker than an 8:30 lift line at the gondola. As with any other prefabricated 10-day vacation arrangement, I’m sure you get to stay in the Hotel Jerome for nine nights. You’ll be driven around Aspen in a brand new $375,000 sore-thumb-of-a-car called a Maybach, which looks familiarly like a KIA with fat tires and handles ice like a used Slushee maker from the flea market. You get “unlimited” skiing and all the private lessons you can whine through. Best of all, a uniformed bellhop will follow you around town blowing a coach’s whistle so that even the folks who missed the lighting of your cigar with hundred dollar bills will notice you. An offer this full of … pretense, can only mean one thing: The folks at the Hotel Jerome are ready to convert to timeshares. Call up and request information on this “deal” and I’ll guarantee you a spot on the Suckers Hall of Fame mailing list.At first, I stewed over what a really bad statement this makes about Aspen in particular, and the entire human race in general. I tried to come up with the response I will give at the inevitable time when I am called to answer for being even in close proximity to this charade:”… But, but … it’s not my fault. I just happened to be born there.””You should have moved. I gave you plenty of signs.”Then I started thinking like any spiritual capitalist – If I’m going to pay anyhow, then I’m damn sure going to play. I’ll use my column to get the word out on a holiday vacation package of my own. It’ll be priced at $1.5 million – and you only get a week. Hah! I’m already ahead of the Jerome on the official website for vacationing narcissists.With this package, you’ll stay in my four-bedroom bungalow behind the Snowmass Village faux-rodeo grounds. I’ll be available to act as your concierge and ski guide. But personally I’m not into kneading flabby, white, hairy, freckled fat, so if you want a massage, you’re on your own. I’ll stock the fridge with steaks and make sure the grill is shoveled out with a full tank of propane on hand. Help yourselves to all the beer that the refrigerator out in the garage can hold. I’ll get a couple of 10-that’ll-pass-for-50-dollar bottles of wine from Of Grape & Grain, just in case. For breakfast, I’ll put the instructions for the espresso machine on the counter. If I forget something, you can “borrow” about anything from one of the neighbors.We’ll do a tour of real Aspen ski shops. You’ll meet guys named Stapleton, Durrance, Gorsuch and Bowers. Afterward you’ll know something about skiing and might even be able to talk intelligently about it. My tools will be on the workbench at home in case you’re inspired to practice tuning your own boards. The smell of hot wax will take you to a better place. Your skis will turn like you just shushed Mill Street on them, but you’ll be so proud of yourself that you’ll hardly notice.If it snows, set the alarm to shovel the driveway before skiing. It’s a lot easier then than when you come home exhausted and it’s all tracked up. Remember to use your legs so you don’t throw out your back, though. Missing a powder day is a tough way to learn this lesson. This is just a sample of the sage mountain advice that’s included.I’ll leave keys for both the Saab and Toyota. Either one will be running on fumes when you get it. This isn’t because I’m cheap. It’s just that a true Aspen vacation wouldn’t be complete without the pulse-halting experience of filling up a tank with special high-altitude Aspen Premium.I’ll meet you at the slopes with some of my friends. These people have skied in everything from waist-deep Himalayan powder to the latest Warren Miller movie. They’re not ski instructors, so don’t expect any compliments on how good you look. You’ll realize that you’re not as expert as you think, but that’ll go a long way toward your actual improvement. On Sunday morning we’ll head to church. This will be your reprieve from real estate brokers. After that it’s breakfast at Der Wienerstube or the Hickory House to meet some folks who have lived here for more than five years! For a few hours you’ll believe that this is a real town. At some point we can go down to my office and I’ll let you sit behind my keyboard. You’ll get to type a couple of sentences for my next column. Wait’ll you feel the power! It’s an opportunity to say exactly what you feel instead of all that party-line garbage you’re known to go on about at home. This is worth the cost of the entire package. Finally, if you take care of my house, do your partying in the bars, and make a habit of leaving your shoes at the door whenever you come in, at the end of the week I’ll consider letting you reserve this package for next year while locking in on this year’s price. Oh, who am I kidding? I’ve just described a package that will convert you from a tourist to a local in just seven days. You can’t buy that for any price.(Of course that last line is a bunch of baloney. But I think I hear my phone ringing already.)Roger Marolt doesn’t care about the publicity his holiday package will garner. He wants the cash. Book your reservations at roger@ maroltllp.com
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