Roger Marolt: Roger This | AspenTimes.com

Roger Marolt: Roger This

Roger Marolt
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Is it safe to talk about how bad the skiing is yet? I mean, I think everyone who was planning on being here for the holidays is already here or at least on the way. Judging by the number of jets at the airport, I think both coasts are clear. Operation Man-Made Snow Job is complete.

I assume most of you know what I’m talking about. No? Oh, that’s right. I almost forgot. I just told you there are a lot of visitors in town this week. Well, I suppose there is no better place to start than here. It’s confession time.

We Aspenites came up with this little kinda, sorta idea thingy around Thanksgiving after the moist autumn clouds dried out and the snow stopped falling. It was agreed that we simply weren’t going to talk about the poor conditions on the slopes for fear that word would get out and people wouldn’t come here for the holidays. I’m talking no letters to the papers, no articles, not even any barstool bitching between disgruntled ski bums. I guess you could call it a grass, roots, stumps and stones movement. A cover-up operation, if you will.

Now, it’s not exactly like we lied about how little snow we had or anything like that. It’s just that we didn’t exactly tell the truth about the thin crust of rock rime on our slopes, either. I think we can all agree that it was simply a little white omission.

In my own defense, I have to say that I didn’t think it was a good idea to begin with. I believe in the old adage of underpromising and then overdelivering, not the other way around. But I also have to admit that I went along with the scheme. After Jeff Hanle from Aspen Skiing Co. started jabber-jawing around town that I’m old and grouchy, I figured that I’d better start playing along with the team rather than arguing about the merits of what the playbook contains. I just wanted to be loved. And you thought they only validated daily lift tickets, right?

Anyway, in our defense, most of us honestly believed that, despite the green grass in our front yards on Turkey Day, the blustery winds would eventually blow, the gray clouds would swell and the snow would dump aplenty by Christmas Day just like it always does. We were wrong, and now we have mud on our faces and all over the mountain, too. I think now would be a good time to mention that we’re sorry.

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Fortunately, all is not lost. We got a little snow Wednesday, so things are looking up. It’s going to be a white Christmas on Red Mountain after all!

We also realize, though, that we are out of the woods. And that’s a bad thing. Where else would we rather be than carving in the gladed forests of our famous ski mountains, effortlessly and without fear of a core shot in our brand-new Atomics or catching a branch of barely covered deadfall across the shins, just above the boot tongue.

Don’t worry, though. We realize we screwed up and are going to make it right. We are going to ensure that you have a good time, waist-deep powder or not … most likely not, unfortunately. We are glad you are here! We want you to have a good enough time this year that you want to come back again and again and again and eventually buy some real estate. We love you, and the bottom line (literally) is that we have to do a little extra for you this lean snow year.

So here’s the thing: I’m going to play Santa’s helper for you visitors. I am prepared – in my position of grouchy, old columnist – to keep a list of who is naughty and nice to you and then publish a tell-all report about it in this space after the hoopla is over.

That’s right – bad pub for the businesses that treat you badly. Yes, I’m serious. Yes, I’m saying it: To soothe your nerves over burrs on your edges, you should get a complimentary drink and maybe an appetizer before dinner. Yes, you should get a free coat of wax on your skis a few mornings. No, it’s not going to kill anybody to show their appreciation for you being here by handing you a hot drink as you walk into a restaurant or store. A foot massage on the gondola? Maybe not. But how about sweet treats handed out for the ride up? Smiles and kind words are free, and a couple of desserts at the Sundeck should be, too.

And I’d better not hear of a single featherless phalange pheasant taking flight around here for the next couple of weeks – not one – not in the City Market parking lot or anywhere else! Remember: I have elves and am not afraid to use them.

Merry Christmas!

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