Aspen puts money over health

My wife and I learned to cross-country ski in Seefeld, Austria. We would fly there for Christmas from our Washington home. We did this almost every year from the late ’80s to the late ’90s. It had been the Olympic venue for the Innsbruck winter Olympics. It was great fun.

This year the town is silent. The web cams show deserted streets. The government imposed a 24-hour curfew. Restaurants allow only carryout and must close by 7 p.m. There will be no activity until at least Jan. 17. The peak Christmas/New Years holiday has been sacrificed. As a result, few people have been tested positive for COVID-19.

Contrast this to Aspen and Colorado. According to the New York Times, Colorado has managed to bring down the average number of cases per 100,000 individual to less than 40, but Pitkin County remains a hot spot with more than 100 per 100,000. Matters are made worse by the number of new positives at Aspen Skiing Co.

Given these numbers and the risk of an even more contagious variant of the COVID-19, one must wonder why U.S. resorts remain open. The government of Austria acted only after leaders of Germany and France called for all resorts in Europe to close Their actions have saved lives — but cost businesses money.

Here the attitude is party, party, party — and let the unlucky die. Sadly, some of those having fun today in Champagne power will find that it is their lungs, not the snow, that turn to cement next week. Is the almighty dollar that important?

Philip Verleger