Nature at its most seductive |

Nature at its most seductive

Janet Urquhart

Oh sure, now the Aspen Skiing Co. sends me discount coupons. A break on the cost of a ski lesson? That’s a little bit like putting Christmas trees on sale Dec. 26. I can’t take a ski lesson now. I’d forget it all by next season anyway.

Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the gesture. I, and some 24,000 others who shelled out bucks for ski passes, apparently received the coupons in the mail, good for various discounts before the ski season’s over.

Nice try, guys.

Here’s the thing: My ski season’s over when patches of my back yard re-emerge. First, the decrepit table and chairs appear. Then suddenly one day, the actual brown grass beneath them pops into view.

When that happens, I’m not thinking skiing, I’m thinking barbecue. I’m thinking sunburn, not Big Burn.

Spongy earth puts a spring in my step.

My ski season is history the day I dig out a pair of shorts, launch into my winter’s-over-

nah-nah-nah-nah-nah jig and perform the ceremonial misplacement of the ice scraper.

Once I bust out my bike, my ski gear is relegated to the back of the closet. The only slushy conditions I’m prepared to deal with are in a margarita glass.

As a closet fan of global warming, winter can’t come to an end early enough for me. In fact, it can’t start late enough for me, either, which raises grave questions about my choice of residence at 7,900 feet in the Rockies.

Longtime Aspenites like to say they came for a winter and stayed for the summers. I came for a winter and stayed because my car got stuck in the driveway.

There is no greater joy than watching the sun track across the late afternoon sky without getting lost behind Shadow Mountain (which I advocate bombing, by the way). One day your numb fingers are fumbling with the car key in the predawn darkness and then, slowly, almost imperceptibly, the sky grows light before the alarm clock goes off.

You can prepare breakfast without turning on the kitchen lights, and slip out of the office for lunch sans jacket. Windows crack open instead of chapped lips.

And then, just when you’ve tucked your boots in a box, it dumps big, fat flakes. Happens every time.

Spring is nature at its most seductive. One whiff of balmy air and I’m ready to tiptoe through the tulips. Next thing I know, I’m digging out the snow shovel amid a flurry of expletives.

Then I’ll be wondering where I put those coupons, and my ice scraper.

Despite her grumbling, Janet Urquhart knows Aspen doesn’t have real winters. She once lived in northern Wisconsin. Her e-mail is

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