Time to take a breath
Yes, Labor Day has come and gone, and we are now nearly a week into cusp season – that time of year when summer is over and winter has yet to begin. It’s the season for those left in town to take a deep breath, tabulate the tourist season sales figures, sleep a little later in the morning, and hike a little farther up a trail in the afternoon.Last weekend ended things with a bang. The setters and spikers turned the town parks into their own private State Beach as the MotherLode Volleyball Tournament – Aspen’s by-the-people, for-the-people participatory athletic extravaganza – kicked into gear. It is one of the great events of the summer season, bringing real folks with really great bodies to town to actually participate in an event rather than just buy a ticket to watch one. And when the final spike hits the ground, it officially puts the capper on summer.And then there was the Jazz Aspen fest. A smell-out – er – sell-out crowd welcomed the Allman Brothers, who knocked the fans out with hit after hit. While I understand that the lines were a little long and the number of restrooms a little short, it was, after all, an Allman Brothers concert. Here’s a guess that back in the day in Statesboro, Ga., when Duane was still ripping, Melissa was young, and the skies were still blue, that restrooms and long lines were not the issues they are today. Seems our rocks may be a little softer, and we roll a little slower these days. And the perhaps the biggest event of all was the collective Labor Day sale on the malls. Skis, boots and poles from last and next season were all priced to move. Fishing gear, hiking boots, and all the latest and greatest in outdoor apparel had their prices slashed to get-it-out-of-here lows. Personally, I opted for a pair of skis that I did not need, but absolutely had to have. And I must say I felt very Aspen circa 2007, laying down my credit card for an item that appealed not because of need but because of greed. Still, I can’t wait to ski ’em. Of course, with all that, Aspen was jampacked and getting a meal was, well, a little tough. A stop on Sunday at the Hickory House for a bloody mary and ribs ‘n’ eggs yielded mary, but no eggs. It seems the crush of concertgoers and volleyball players had depleted the Hick House of all their breakfast supplies. Now that is the sign of a boomtown. Once you start running out of eggs, it may be time to find a town with a few more chickens, if you know what I mean.Ah, but by Thursday (as this is written), the bar at the Hickory House is wide-open. Have a bloody mary, read the papers, get ready for the NFL opener, and have as many eggs as you want.For it is cusp season.
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“Many of these stoic commuters endure brain-numbing traffic jams so they can service vacant mega homes, making sure all the lights are on and that the snowmelt patios, driveways, sidewalks and dog runs are thoroughly heated so as to evaporate that bothersome white stuff that defines Aspen’s picturesque winter landscape and ski economy,“ writes Paul Andersen.