Leave Aspen Mountain be
“Preserve, conserve, and protect are the action terms used throughout these plans to describe how Pitkin County envisions its future.” Words straight from the overview of the Pitkin County Comprehensive Plan (pg. 19). The answer from county commissioners to Aspen Skiing Co.’s request to open Pandora’s to expansion, from rural to ski recreation, should be a clear and simple no.
If they always wanted to open it up, they shouldn’t have called it Pandora’s. In the Greek myth it wasn’t actually a box. The Greek word was Pithos, a large storage container, like an amphora, and Pandora’s was full of pestilence and every type of evil. One brother warned the other not to open it. In this case, the storage container on the mountain being looked at for opening is full of trees, wildlife habitat, and pristine wilderness. Instead of leaving it for the already-threatened animals, a local columnist would like to cut it down for firewood, while more electricity would be burned on the mountain to power another chairlift with energy generated by “clean” leaky methane from a repurposed coal mine?
There weren’t any trees on the mountain in the referenced historical society pictures because they’d all been cut down to build housing for the 16,000-plus inhabitants, the mine shafts that criss-crossed the underbelly of the environs; or burned to make way for the mines themselves.
The same column also advocated for a monstrosity on the mountainside called 1A. It would take part of a ski run and turn it into a fractional ownership construction project, bringing with it endless traffic issues in a quiet part of town. The pro 1A campaign cost about a dollar per square foot for every inch of fractional ownership and “hotel,” about 300,000 to alter views from town forever. The 1A decision should be repealed alongside the “Citizens United” Supreme Court decision that paved its way, giving private corporate interests rights of human “citizens” to contribute unlimited dollars to both national and municipal political campaigns.
For those desiring more intermediate terrain, try Snowmass. It has fewer trees and a forest roller coaster.