Letter: Keep Aspen, Aspen?

Whenever I read this anti-development slogan I am reminded of, in my opinion, one of the greatest moments in American entertainment. In the first episode of Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series, The Newsroom, news anchor Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) responds to a panel in front of an auditorium full of college students on “What makes America the greatest country in the world.” If you haven’t seen this already, pull up Youtube now. But for the purpose of this piece I will paraphrase. Mr. McAvoy embarks on an eloquent three minute diatribe on how we are delusional to think that we are still “so star spangled awesome.” There is simply no evidence to support that America is in fact the greatest country in the world anymore … except that it used to be. So, I will pose a similar question here: Aspen was once, perhaps, the greatest mountain town in the world, but what makes Aspen today so darn perfect that we would want to freeze it in time, never to be changed?

Aspen used to be something truly special; where fun loving people young and old would flock for great company and even better powder; where judgement took a back seat to laughter; where transient young mountain lovers would come for one season and find themselves still here 20 or 30 or 40 years later. Hopefully I will not catch the same kind of backlash that Mr. McAvoy did for saying this, but Aspen is just not what it used to be.

But it can be.

The reality is, the Aspen of today is one with a shrinking demographic of young professionals, growing floor length furs, and a massive problem that accommodations are just too expensive for anyone not born with a trust fund to enjoy. Now, I don’t believe Mark Hunt has the power to do anything about the furs. But Base2 is a step in the right direction toward making Aspen the place it used to be, where young people come to stay, and stay.

Base2 opponents harp on worries that Mr. Hunt won’t deliver on the important aspects of the project that he has promised (even those determined to be legally binding as of late). But we have a lot more leverage over Mr. Hunt than anyone cares to acknowledge. With the number of properties controlled by Mr. Hunt busting into the double digits, I have a strong feeling we will have the opportunity to vote on many of his projects in the coming years. I will be the first one to vote against every single one of them if he proves he cannot be trusted. Some say I’m too trusting, some might even say I’m ignorant. But I’m going to give Mark Hunt the opportunity to make me look like a fool and vote “yes” on Base2.

As for keeping Aspen, Aspen? How about we make Aspen great again.

Brian Douglass


Letter to the Editor