Paul E Anna: High Points |

Paul E Anna: High Points

Paul E. AnnaThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

There are dozens of outdoor magazines and hundreds of blogs and websites, but the gold standard for the category remains Outside Magazine. Likewise, there are dozens of mountain resorts in Colorado and hundreds in the high country around the world, but none stand taller (he says modestly) than Aspen. So it makes perfect sense that the two would pair to produce a participatory event that celebrates the best of both. The second annual “Outside in Aspen” opens today on what promises to be a picture postcard weekend, tailor-made for getting out and getting your climbing legs, your paddling arms, your pedaling feet or your casting … whatever, back in gear. The “Outside in Aspen” Festival is designed to get people moving by offering up opportunities to climb a fourteener, stand-up paddle on the Roaring Fork, shore up the Ute Trail or hike Aspen Mountain. Most summertime festivals let you “watch;” this one encourages you to “do.” And the doing puts participants in touch with some of the most accomplished doers in the business. Riding with Tyler Hamilton (yes, he gave back his Gold but he still crossed the finish line first), kayaking with Ben Stookesberry or climbing with Ryan Sutter. The organizers of “Outside in Aspen” tout the event as the equivalent of the Food & Wine Classic for outdoor types, but while you can’t make pasta with Mario Batali at the Classic you sure can stand-up paddle with Charlie McArthur at Outside in Aspen.In addition to the daytime outdoor activities, there are also symposiums exploring the allure and danger of outdoor sports with a number of adventure athletes, a gear exposition and parties where even those who can’t climb, ride, cast or paddle can shake their booties. There will also be free yoga classes and a demonstration with the Wildrose Labrador Adventure Dogs.The beauty of “Outside in Aspen” is that it takes place right here right now. It is a great time to get out and try something that you have never done before and lay down a base for getting into it this summer. Say you always wanted to ride a mountain bike – you can sign up, participate in a beginner-level activity and figure out the basics. Who knows, you ride on Saturday, buy a bike on Sunday and suddenly you’re a fat-tire aficionado just in time for the summer.You can register for any and all activities now at, or sign up Saturday and Sunday mornings at the Gondola Plaza, where the Base Camp is located, by 8:30 a.m. Most sessions cost $100 and get you a lunch, use of all the gear you need and admission to the raves. A steal of a deal.Go ahead. This is the weekend to get outside in Aspen.