How’s my Aspen? Changing |

How’s my Aspen? Changing

Eric Skarvan
Aspen, CO Colorado

“How’s your Aspen?” the classic tourist T-shirt reads. Well, how’s it been?

Seriously, I don’t know what hap­pened to my Aspen. OK, I kind of know what happened. My town was changed ” big time ” in recent times by people I don’t even know.

Celebrating my 25th anniversary of living in this incred­ible mountain town, here are some thoughts on “my Aspen” circa 1982 versus today’s Aspen in order to remind those who were here and to inspire more recent arrivals to initiate a dialog, regarding some of these issues affecting our community. Read on. It’s not all bad.

My Aspen was still heaven on earth for the local ski bum. Today’s Aspen is being bought by folks from around the Earth and crafted as their little heaven, causing most locals to become com­muter bums.

My Aspen was loaded with hearty and soulful volunteerism. “All hands on deck!” Today’s Aspen has people who are loaded, who’d much prefer to write a check.

My Aspen had tap water, sipped icy cold, that was quite healthy. Today’s Aspen serves Fiji water, shipped from the other side of the globe for the quite wealthy.

My Aspen was a place to be inspired to bike into the wild and leave no trace. Today’s Aspen is being affected by non-Aspenites, trying to take away our mountain biking trails in the name of “being wild” (while allow­ing horses in our bikes’ place).

My Aspen was a spectacular place, where residents and visitors thrived on connecting with the mountains.

Today’s Aspen showcases those who thrive on connecting with cellular and music technology ” anything but the mountains!

My Aspen had crisp clean mountain air, leading to a Rocky Mountain high. Today’s Aspen spews air pollution from construction sites, that leads to cancer.

My Aspen was easy to navigate by foot or wheel as drivers took heed. Today’s Aspen is loaded with Naviga­tors, Hummers and Range Rovers driv­en by those in the “command position” who put their heels to the accelerator ” even if your children and your dogs are in the crosswalk!

My Aspen was a quiet escape in the mountains: the perfect solution. Today’s Aspen makes locals want to escape the noise pollution.

My Aspen was the home of million­aires, who wanted to hang with the locals day and night. Today’s Aspen millionaires are being pushed down to Basalt, where they can hang with the locals once again. Welcome to our plight!

My Aspen benefited from respect­ing the environment, our natural places and parks, over the desires of the pri­vate land owner. That was par for the course. Today’s Aspen allows private land owners to pretty much do as they please to the environment, from idling private jets, to constructing gargantuan vacation homes ” even their own fish­ing parks ” as long as they provide “community benefits,” of course.

My Aspen had houses available for sale for under one million dollars ” go figure! Today’s Aspen boasts of three-million-dollar figures for a frac­tion of a condo and you can “Own Aspen”!

My Aspen was a community first, then a profitable world class resort. Today’s Aspen is becoming a com­modity first, being sold off piecemeal by classless profiteers from around the world.

My Aspen included 1,000 ski instructors. Today’s Aspen includes 1,000 real estate agents.

My Aspen was rich with funky characters and caring folk. Today’s Aspen is loaded with rich folk, who care about three people: me, myself and I. Now that’s funky.

My Aspen had many quaint, tri­colored Victorians in the historic and lively West End. Today’s Aspen fea­tures vacant Victorians with contem­porary additions that triple the floor area, in a great area of town for return on investment.

My Aspen valued the mountain lifestyle, including plenty of adventure in the great outdoors. Today’s Aspen allows us a peek at the urban lifestyle, including desirable city traits like not making eye contact or even a friendly greeting.

My Aspen had many mild-man­nered and thankful mountain people. Today’s Aspen promotes part-time home ownership to people, who frankly need to work on their manners, including “please” and “thank you.”

My Aspen cared and respected the environment, including the wildlife, because we should. Today’s Aspen is careless and disrespectful, leading to the killing of wildlife, because they could.

My Aspen was a town where yes means yes and no means no. There was no doubt. Today’s Aspen is a town where yes means yes, unless some­thing better comes along, then yes means flaking out.

My Aspen was surrounded by spec­tacular beauty: the mountains and the people. Today’s Aspen is surrounded by spectacular beauty: the mountains and the people.

See, I told you it wouldn’t be all bad. So, again I’ll ask. How’s your Aspen? The more important question is what are you going to do about it?

Care enough to take a stand and get involved.