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Passings

Paul E. Anna

It has been a week of goodbyes here in Aspen. It started Sunday with the close of ski season, a yearly event that nevertheless brings a certain sense of melancholy as we look back on the powder days, the sunny days, the great days of this past winter.Next came a farewell to the venerable BA-146s that have served the community well for the past two decades. This, on the face of it, may not seem like such a sad passing, but just about everybody in town has made the trip to Denver to get someplace else in one of these strange four-engine relics. And more important, just about everybody has made the trip back home.How many times over the past 22 years have we sat in a terminal, first at Stapleton and now at DIA, staring into cloudy skies, wondering if the weather will clear enough for the BA-146 to get in the air and then back down onto home turf at Sardy Field. The planes defined “workhorse,” and it was testament to the aircraft’s abilities that passengers would erupt into applause as the pilots finessed the big bird onto the tarmac in raging storms.The CRJs represent progress, although they hopefully will progress a little faster in changing out the Dash-8s and getting more than just one flight a day on the schedule. But let’s hope that we will get the same stellar safety record with the new plane as we did with the stalwart BA-146s.Another farewell was bid on Sunday to the old Silver Queen gondola cars. This is another example of a “change for the better,” but, still, it was sad to see the old cars disappear. How many great ski runs have you had following a trip in those cars? How many times have you climbed into the gondola after a cold top-to-bottom on a December day and taken refugee in the relative warmth of one of the old cars? Bigger, better and, best of all, wheelchair-friendly, the new cars are sure to be an improvement come next ski season. But still, let’s tip one to the relics of Aspen Mountain. They gave us a good 20 years.And finally, this week saw the passing of Aspen legend Nick DeWolf. An instantly recognizable figure whereever he went, with his long locks, thick glasses and his ever-optimistic, inquisitive face, DeWolf was as much a part of this town and this community as aspen trees themselves. While his spirit will be missed, his dancing fountain in the center of town remains as a daily reminder of a life lived well. May it dance forever.Change happens. It is inevitable. But every once in a while, moving ahead requires that we stop for a moment and look back with gratitude. This week presented more than one of those moments.


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