Letter: Ski fast — take chances | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Ski fast — take chances

I’m writing this in response to the recent letters and articles in the local papers about the “straightliners” that are apparently scaring the bejesus out of every man, woman and child on Ajax. You know, the young men in bright clothes on their fat skis wearing headphones — go ahead and stereotype us. You nailed me dead-on. Problem is I’m not out of control and I’m not dangerous. I grew up in Aspen, skiing my heart out. Now I’m 30 years old and a strong, confident skier out for a rip.

Skiing is the ultimate expression of freedom and creativity. That’s why we all love it so much. I’m sorry that you’re scared when I blow by you in Spar — I really am. I’ve heard a lot of my fellow “double tipped” brethren say, “Don’t ski on Aspen Mountain, then. Go to Buttermilk or Snowmass.” I don’t agree with that. I think everyone should be able to enjoy the crown jewel of North America.

But please realize that Ajax is a skiers’ (and snowboarders’) mountain. There are no beginner trails. It’s 52 percent advanced and expert terrain. It’s 675 acres of long, steep mogul runs that run fall-line-straight into the greatest ski town on the planet. It’s the crown jewel. It’s world-class. You cannot try to tame the wild beasts who roam its great plains.

Aspen has a long and proud history of being home to some of the best skiers and snowboarders in the world. From the days of Gene Reardon and the Crawfords to the formation of the ski gangs to becoming a breeding ground for Olympic medalists like Gretchen Blieler and Casey Puckett. From Chris Davenport to Torin Yater-Wallace. And the skiers here are only going to get better and better. Every day, the next generation of Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club kids are out there tearing it up, learning the way of the force from their Jedi masters.

In case you’ve forgotten, skiing is the heart and soul of this town. You cannot pacify us or suppress our energy and attitudes. That’s what made this great town what it is, and we will fight to keep it that way. Putting ski patrollers in front of “Slow” signs isn’t going to make the bad skiers ski better. Skiing is not a controlled environment. We’re not robots. We are flying monkeys. We are freaks. You can tear down the Skier’s Chalet and my home at Park on Park, but we’re not going anywhere, because this is a skiers’ town.

So go ahead and stereotype me all you want. But it’s not just me, the young punk on the fat skis. (I’m actually a really nice guy, by the way.) That person flying past you on Deer Park that you’re so afraid of is a 50-year-old mother of three. It’s the mailman and the chick from the real estate office. Those people you’re afraid of are just regular Aspenites who love to ski. They’re the people whose mountain (and town) you’re trying to tame. But we are wild and free, and that’s never going to change.

Brad Unglert