Pandora’s expansion: It’s the skiing, stupid
No good deed goes unpunished. That’s how I see the current kerfuffle over Aspen Skiing Co.’s Pandora plan. Skico has done a better than good job at planning a modest expansion of the mountain, which would greatly improve intermediate circulation and open some great terrain, which is currently enjoyed by a few powder hogs, to more skiers.
So of course the torch-and-pitchfork crowd are out for blood.
But the simple fact is that Aspen Mountain is getting, has gotten, a little long in the tooth. And it’s small. By itself and without the support of Buttermilk, Highlands and Snowmass, it’s debatable whether it would rank in even the second tier of destination ski mountains. Heresy, but true.
Ajax is a bump lover’s paradise, but that’s part of the problem. Bumps, after all, are an urban phenomenon, the result of piste overcrowding. A poor man’s terrain park. Unless you’ve skied here all your life or are under 25, they’re a pain. And entirely artificial. You don’t find bumps in the wild.
Ask yourself how does Aspen Mountain compare to Jackson, Sun Valley, Telluride, Crested Butte, Steamboat, or the dreaded Vail. You can’t really say with a straight face that they’re following our lead. Not if you’re honest. And don’t even think about the Canadians, because they’re miles ahead.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Unless we want to throttle back and sink into a somewhat more comfortable obscurity, we’ve got to keep up. It’s not about residential development on Richmond Ridge, or how many snowmobiles can you park on the top of Ajax, or uphilling on blackout days, or climate change, or any of the other red herrings Pandora opponents are throwing at the proposal. It’s about skiing.
SkiCo’s Pandora plan does no harm, and would do some good. It’s a no-brainer. It should be approved.
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Totally disagreed with Brendan Berl’s Sept. 18 letter on public health rules (“Mask mandates are government overreach,” The Aspen Times“). It makes sense for local government to be fit and nimble when managing a pandemic.…