Su Lum: Slumming |

Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

There’s nothing like Christmas in Aspen to take the “ho” out of “holidays.” Recession or not, it’s worth your life to fight through the furs to the check-out lines in the markets and book stores.

Aspen is especially festive this year ” ablaze with LED lights and, at the bottom of the tree (Aspen Mountain), the many unfinished buildings carefully wrapped in plastic like Christo exhibits, waiting for spring, better financing, better luck. Put enormous ribbons on them. Take away the cranes.

We were riding so high for so long that there was no Plan B in case the bottom dropped out. When this is over, I hope we’ll institute some new “finish it or lose it” rules, whereby if building projects are not completed by a certain date the property reverts to the city, to be used for affordable housing. The structures would be imploded and the holes filled in.

I think specifically of the never-ending construction of the ill-fated fiasco across from the courthouse, the slow-Dancing Bears, the Residences where no one resides, a trophy home-in-progress at the end of my alley which displaced close to a dozen locals, sat fallow for three or four years and has been another three or four in the building, now wrapped and unfinished.

We could do the detonations every 4th of July. In Snowmass Village this could be truly spectacular.

The City Council should approve the Lift 1-A project in the expectation that the ensuing massive mudslide would take out that entire side of the mountain. We have been warned about this for years, and the area was evacuated one spring when the original hole for the Ritz (now St. Moritz and for sale) was conveniently placed to receive it. Alas, it didn’t happen.

But now we’ve added the Hyatt, homeowners are suing the Residences for destabilizing their sites, and now Lift 1-A, another 300,000 square feet of what Les Holst called “crap we don’t need” ought to do the trick. Talk about vitality.

Warning to Shadow Mountain owners and bottom-dwellers: Check your insurance policies. When it’s all over, put in funky employee housing and call it Mine Dumps Karma.

I’ll be spending the Eve and the Day in Carbondale with my family: my daughter, Skye Skinner, her husband, Steve, and my granddaughter, Riley, with my daughter, Hillery and her husband, Bruce McCalister, coming over from Leadville. No wrapped buildings, empty presents under the tree, in either of those towns.

Riley just got home after four months attending a Catholic girls’ school (uniforms!) in Ireland, and I can’t wait to hear her stories and see them all. A more modest Christmas than usual due to the downturn, but fine food, fine company, game-playing. I’ve made a batch of Hokey Pokey (half cup sugar, quarter cup dark Karo, boil unstirred for four minutes, quickly stir in one and one-half teaspoons FRESH baking soda and turn out on parchment paper), and that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

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