Meredith C. Carroll: A welcome letter to spring breaking Texans
Dear Texas Friends,
Thank you for choosing Aspen/Snowmass for your Spring Break destination! Our sincerest apologies for the weather-related travel trauma you most likely sustained en route to our little mountain town, and the days it shaved off your life (not to mention your vacation). On the other hand, decades of experience and an obscene number of angry DMs to our customer service account have made it clear that sending visitors through the nine circles of hell on their way to Aspen helps cushion the blow for when they get here and slip on the ice at the Main and Mill streets intersection. (Please note: the actual fall will still hurt; ditto the emergency room bill. You can literally look on the bright side while convalescing, though: The mountain views outside your Aspen Valley Hospital window will be majestic if not glaring, what with the sun reflecting off all that snow on which you can no longer ski.)
For everyone else, you were wise in selecting the resort recently named No. 5 in the West by readers of Ski Magazine. And yet, it remains a strong possibility that time (and contact tracing) will ultimately show that deliberately seeking out a place identified by the New York Times as among those in the United States currently hardest hit by COVID-19 infections (we’re No. 13!) for a festive late-winter jaunt with loved ones may not have been your best idea ever. But you’re here now, so welcome! No, we really mean it! Mostly!
A reminder to stay hydrated, watch out for wildlife (on Highway 82, Fanny Hill and Little Nell), drive slower when it’s snowing (because apparently it needs to be said) and, although Texas has lifted most of its own statewide mask restrictions against the backdrop of an ongoing global pandemic (including in Texas), you’re going to need to go ahead and mask up for the duration of your stay in Colorado, where the mask mandate and the will to live are both very much still a thing.
For any questions that may arise during your getaway, please feel free to ask a member of the Aspen/Snowmass community, all of whom you’ll be able to identify as the people wearing masks. Also, don’t be surprised if you encounter friends from back home. They’ll be instantly recognizable to you by their faces, which are unencumbered by masks, despite the fact that they are here in Colorado, where a mask mandate remains in effect, including for visiting Texans. Either that or you will know them by the death stares they shoot in the direction of people they suspect may be members of Antifa, who also happen to be the same people wearing masks without needing to be told, which is pretty much everyone who lives in Aspen/Snowmass. Hi.
Of course your inquiries needn’t be limited to COVID-19 rules and regulations. For instance, if you’re unsure how the singles lift lines work (because you are), you should know that even if a chair has fewer riders than the number of available seats, you are not automatically entitled to any open spot. When in doubt, the lifties are the boss. Not in Texas, but let this serve as a reminder that you are paying to not be there right now.
While you’re here with your mask on, we invite (or at least tolerate) your opinion on the issue of mask mandates. Keep in mind, however, that last week a debate ensued in Aspen over the merits, fine points and philosophical approach of replacing playground equipment so old that your eyeballs get splinters from just looking at it. So as soon as that’s settled — give it at least two years, a Change.org petition, a court injunction and a few civil lawsuits — all attention will turn to concerns that your freedom to catch or spread a deadly virus is being violated. In the meantime, enjoy!
More at MeredithCarroll.com and on Twitter @MCCarroll.
In a 4-1 vote, city council demonstrated a profound lack of financial acumen and responsibility, disregard for common sense, and disdain for more than 150 members of this community who urged restraint, writes Elizabeth Milias.