Marolt: A poser’s life
I don’t know if it is fair to call it the Aspen way but I think enough subscribe to it that it wouldn’t be a stretch. If you have ever felt like you were coming down with the flu and, instead of taking it easy in hopes of heading it off, you stay on the mountain for an couple extra runs or embark on a extra-high-intensity workout because you’re thinking it might be your last for a few days, then you know what I’m talking about.
When we do take it easy, the reason has to be obvious. If it’s not, we make it so. I have never heard from a true local that his or her active lifestyle injury wasn’t the worst one the team of orthopedic surgeons who fixed it agreed they have ever seen — snapped here, torn in three places there, split in a spiral fracture below, held together by six screws and a pin, covered up by skin grafted from parts unmentionable, and held together by a 112 stitches.
But don’t take this as a cry for sympathy or making a case for victimization. A few sips of beer and a brief pause for reflection later, the same person will proudly tell you they are four weeks ahead of schedule on their recovery. It is the most remarkable comeback the team of trainers has ever seen. Of course it is not all due to the dedication of the medical professionals required to handle such a special case. The patient was in supreme physical condition before the accident occurred and they have worked religiously through the painful recovery regimen designed especially for people with unusually high pain tolerance.
It’s why we count bowl laps. It’s why we time ourselves to the top of Smuggler every single time. It’s why we volunteer to carry all the food for a group of 12 on a two-night hut trip. It’s why we keep training logs and wear Fitbits to bed. It’s why we check our pulse rates when the theater lights go down instead of watching the previews. It partially explains why we start the Fourth of July early in the morning with a 5K race. It’s why we never, ever smile on our bicycles. A workout scowl sends a powerful message to would-be chatters. Before we relax, we better have broken a sweat.
This local M.O. is an original piece of work, and it’s no wonder we bristle when we see a cheap knock-off — the shirtless man jogging through the pedestrian mall at lunchtime or the cyclists with matching jerseys drafting each other up Main Street in the bus lane during evening rush hour, making sure to briefly build up enough speed to lean exaggeratedly into each bend in the S-curve. I will hardly mention those who dress in crisply clean ski clothes and dab on cologne or blow out their hair in the late afternoon in order to attend apres-ski festivities, posing as full-fledged skiers without having set edge on snow.
There is something to be said for having earned a leading role in the daily show of our Aspenitic lives through producing authentic perspiration in the activities leading up to the telling of tall tales over beer. While our words and actions may then be exaggerated, the physical exertion and resulting endorphins leading up to them are real enough.
I roll this hand-painted set onto the stage in front of you so that I can now raise the curtain on the final scene of the most recent ski season just closed. The live audience consisted of my two brothers and me who have had tickets to 150 of such closing days between us, none of which came close to matching this in shock value.
As we stood by our vehicles below Lift 1A at 3:30 in the late afternoon, legs tired and skis dripping slush onto the street as they leaned on tailgates after a hard season’s work, we beheld Lo Semple driving up the street, dry skis racked on his truck.
He hid his face as he passed and snagged a parking spot up close that the early risers had recently abandoned. He didn’t say a word as he guiltily shouldered his skis, tails first, and got on the lift. His priority was obvious. He would make it to the party at the Sundeck in full-swing just as the lifts shut down for the year, he without having made a single turn that last day, a half dozen 100-day pins carefully lined up on his jacket like a decorated war hero.
Roger Marolt knows that there is no “Y” in “PIN.” Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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