Sounds of silence
Shhh. Did you hear the airport is closed?Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? No more roars throughout the valley at après-ski hour from some bigwig developer as he jets in to make a dinner reservation after a day of pillaging in another town. No more serial rumblings at 7 on a Monday morning as the NetJetters hustle back to Hollywood to tell tall tales at lunch about their out-of-bounds ski adventures. No more complaints from everyday tourists about how they were screwed by the airlines and how they just should have “gone to Vail instead.”Yes, all of that is gone for a couple of months. It’s almost like a redux of “The Quiet Years” for godssakes. And not only are the noise and complaints missing, but those who make the noise and complain are nowhere to be found as well. Hallelujah.A couple of weeks ago, in its April Fool’s edition, the Aspen Daily News ran a story saying the airport would be closed for good. I say “bring it on.”While that may sound radical, think about what this town would be like with no air service. The jet set would have to make a decision. What’s more important, being here with a drive from either Rifle or Eagle, or selling out and going someplace more jet-friendly? The ones that stay deserve to be here. The others? Good riddance.Folks who come here can fly commercial to Eagle. It’s a fine airport with many fewer weather issues than Sardy Field. It can take big jets from places like Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago. What would you rather do? Fly direct from Chicago and take an hour-and-a-half drive through Glenwood Canyon, or risk having to connect to a Dash-8 in Denver that this winter had an on-time record of about .0006 percent? I think that folks who got here would be a happier lot overall if they simply planned on coming through Eagle anyway. And like the private-jet crowd, I personally prefer the folks who go the extra mile to get to Aspen. It shows character.Oh, I know it would be a little tougher on us here in Aspen. But how many of you drive to Denver, or Eagle, now? The fares are so much lower, and if you just get into that mode it won’t be any worse than the tap dance you play at the airport now of “Will it get in? Will it have a ‘mechanical?’ Will the crew have had enough downtime?”I say close it. Turn it into a parking lot with a straight shot rail line into town. You’ll have room left over for some employee housing and a skate park. Make the move.Bring back The Quiet Years.
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Commentary: “My granddaughter Charli, dressed in an ankle-length sun dress, sporting a fresh manicure and wearing light lipstick (her mother helped reorganize that), quietly welcomed me to the affair, maintaining an air of sophistication that surprised. She knew it was a big deal.”