Marolt: Floating North Star: A stand-up paddle bore

Roger Marolt
Roger This

I’ll tell you what I think should be done about all the tubers, canoers, stand-up paddleboarders and sunbathers making a mess of the Stillwater section of the Roaring Fork River flowing through North Star Nature Preserve. But to establish some credibility for my opinion, I need to meander a bit and give you a stock tip.

Sell GoPro. The stock is too hot. They are the company that makes those tiny, tough, miniature, waterproof, shockproof, action-shooting video cameras that people strap to their helmets and life vests to prove on Facebook that they defied death.

First off, almost everybody already carries a video camera, but it’s called a smartphone. Why carry a GoPro, too? Cargo pants are out.

Apple is sitting on a pile of cash just waiting to be recycled into the next big thing. If an indestructible video camera is it, they will produce a waterproof, shockproof, block-shaped smartphone with an upgraded video camera that will blow GoPro off a carbon-fiber selfie stick with opposing mount locks.

GoPro stock will end up right where most of their cameras do after one vacation of use — in the junk drawer. Their cameras are extremely cool gadgets that perform magnificently well that become super boring after you shoot about an hour of footage and then watch it.

So, why should anyone take a stock tip from me? Well, for starters, I once was an incredible stock picker. I mean that literally. One time in 13 years as a columnist, I published a stock prediction, and it was one to build a reputation on. Remember Croc shoes? In April 2007, I wrote that those gooey bubble gum-colored clogs were not only ugly and uncomfortable, but that they made your feet stink, too. I begged people to sell the stock. I got lots of hate mail. Within, a month the stock soared to almost $75. A year later it traded at $1.25.

But it’s not just over-hyped stocks I spot. Late in 2007, people were in a frenzy to buy timeshares in Snowmass Village without even looking at them. In March 2008, I wrote that these things weren’t worth a fraction of what people were interested in paying for them. Again, the hate mail came. I actually turned out to be wrong, too. Today they are reselling for far less than I predicted.

Then there’s the great gold blow-up. On Aug. 3, 2011, I wrote that gold was a silly thing to invest in because it didn’t do anything and nobody needed it. Gold reached its all-time high that day and has headed steadily south ever since with no signs of slowing down yet.

I’m not bragging (OK, maybe a little, but clearly for literary purposes), I’m just pointing these incidents out to hype the fact that I seem to have a really keen gift for recognizing hype.

I almost forgot to mention the windsurfing craze of about 1986. It was a time when it seemed every other car in Aspen had a board strapped to the top all summer long. People dipped heavily into trust fund principal to invest in sailboard gear. Everyone went nuts about the sport. As for the Marolt brothers, we’d dipped our toes in Ruedi Reservoir water enough to know there was no long-term pleasure in that. Instead, we brought some of the first California mountain bikes to Aspen and spent our summers riding local hiking trails and garnering odd stares. You think I’m kidding.

And this brings me right back to the upper, upper Roaring Fork Valley where people are gathering in unprecedented numbers in order to grow goose bumps, lay groundwork for moles and skin wrinkles and destroy the North Star Nature Preserve while irritating the people who live around it.

Suggestions for dealing with the crowds of jack water enthusiasts include enacting parking restrictions and curfews, issuing permits for use of the waters and beefing up police presence in the area. Someone suggested putting a couple of trash cans up there.

I think we should do nothing (except putting trash cans up there). After a couple of times, stand-up paddleboards become less interesting than GoPros. You can’t expect an adrenaline rush from a stretch of river called Stillwater. And, not only does the water move slowly up there, it’s miserably cold, too. Basically, floating through North Star preserve is something nobody has to do more than once. Word will spread. So, relax — it’s Aspen, a trend’s best friend. A couple of summers from now there will be fewer stand-up paddleboarders in Stillwater than there are now windsurfers at Ruedi Reservoir.

Roger Marolt recommends that anyone believing Stillwater will be overrun by SUPers should just go and try it for themselves once. Email at