Marolt: A wedding reception we will never forget! Ho. Hum.
The first thing I want to say about the big wedding on the back of Aspen Mountain is about all weddings in general. That is, I think people should spend at least as much time choosing their spouses as they do money on the reception. Put the savings in escrow to pay the lawyers later.
Fifty percent of the ‘til-death-do-we-parts coming to a screeching halt somewhere in midlife can’t be wrong — we are not doing it right. At the very least, if we look at that statistic and then cut the post-nuptial pomp by half to compensate for the potential loss of investment, the big shindig on the back of Aspen Mountain last weekend becomes a picnic with a few close friends and nobody off the family-and-friends list notices.
The next thing I want to say is: What’s the big deal? Think about it this way: What has a bigger impact on our enjoyment of the quasi-wilderness experience we are so overly protective about — a thousand-person wedding soiree in the flattened grass on private property at Little Annie Basin in the shadows of the Gondola, Sundeck and the Aspen Mountain Club, or thousands of wedding photo shoots over the course of decades on the shores of Maroon Lake?
I have yet to see an anger-filled letter in either local paper about the latter, even though that scenario involves far more people, cars, miles driven to the location, impact to others trying to enjoy a public place and ugly dresses with no end in sight, than an army of wedding planners on Starbucks payment plans could muster for the former.
Maybe it’s just weddings. It wasn’t so long ago that we were morally outraged that a rich family could rent out all of the Hotel Jerome for an entire weekend, including the bar, which is all we really cared about, for their kid’s bat mitzvah. Harumph! The nerve! If that family would have caved to our rage and changed their plans at the last minute and moved the party up Midnight Mine Road, this town would have been well satisfied, claiming yet another honorable victory, which only a handful of people would have showed up at the J-Bar to celebrate.
Be that as it may, I have to stand up for Aspen Mountain on this issue, first and foremost. First, it is the place that survived the miners. Remember? If you don’t, have a look at some of the old pictures of Ajax back in the real days. The people who lived here then did a really good job stripping it of every tree worth preserving. The biggest were hewed into timbers to shore up the bores they were blasting through the rock to get to the silver, unleashing flows of toxic, all-natural waste product from their openings to scar the face of the mountain until the end of time.
And foremost, Aspen Mountain has survived the skiers. After silver went bust and most of the trees grew back, we went back up there and whacked them all down again to make ski trails. This time we just piled them up and set them on fire. We constructed chairlifts and restaurants up there and have done a good job of making them a little bigger and more obtrusive every year. To top it off, we fire thousands of gallons of fuel every year to operate the infrastructure we have created on it and groom it nightly into submission. Wilderness? Hardly, unless you consider the annual spring wine party up there to be wild.
So, a “big” wedding up on the big mountain? Hah! That’s a tiny mosquito bite on its backside. Scratch it a little, if you must, then leave it alone before it gets infected. We don’t want to create a permanent scar on our perspective.
I will say that, even if I could, I wouldn’t stage an event of that scale on that spot; not out of respect for the “wilderness” that exists in that particular neighborhood, which really differs from Red Mountain only in the price tags hanging from the doorknobs, but because I’ve lived here long enough to know the grief this town would pile on me over it. The fallout was predictable. It’s enough to make the bride and groom wish the honeymoon was over. It was a rookie mistake, for sure. But, it also is very forgivable. We don’t need any emergency ordinances addressing this. Let’s move on.
Roger Marolt wonders if Jesus would have to pull a permit to change water into wine around here. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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