Meredith C. Carroll: Aspen’s holiday season report card

Meredith C. Carroll
Muck Off
Meredith Carroll
Courtesy photo

While most people aspire to wind down and nestle up during winter break, the opposite is often true for those in ski towns. Aspen is peaking, thereby giving it the invaluable opportunity to learn and grow through its first significant test — and report card — of the 2018-19 season.

Mariah Carey, who shut down the Louis Vuitton boutique on the evening of Dec. 23 so she wouldn’t have to compete for oxygen with Aspen’s riff-raff billionaires and millionaires. As if those living in the 81611 didn’t already sacrifice enough during the holidays, now our go-to, last-minute shopping destination has been hijacked. Grade: C

Jack Frost, who confused December for January. Grade: D+

The visitors to Vail, who generously spent their winter break with a prime view of the interstate while waiting in line at Vail’s Eagle Bahn gondola — for their inadvertent contribution to Aspen’s nonexistent lift lines. Grade: A

The heroes who conceived, implemented and executed the distribution of Sweet Coloradough donuts at the Elk Camp gondola. Grade: A+

Actor and internet star Cameron Dallas, whose mug shot and arrest story in yesterday’s Aspen Times forced far too many people out of their vacation reverie and into a shame spiral of now not being able to un-know that “YouTuber” is an actual profession. Grade: B-

The boss in the Mercedes G550 with Texas plates, who not only refused eye contact while aggressively disallowing anyone to alternate with him in the upvalley merge between the airport and Buttermilk on Saturday apres ski, but also went on to speed through the bus-only lane from the traffic light to the roundabout. Grade: NI (needs improvement)

The Grinch who stole Lissa Ballinger’s ski poles from the Sundeck on Christmas morning, which happens to be the same date three years ago when Bad Santa stole her car parked in town. If Aspen had a yearbook, Ballinger, an actual (Wintersköl) queen, would be voted Least Likely to Deserve to be Stolen From. Nice job, Ebenezer. Grade: F-

Aspen Center for Environmental Studies board Chairman Michael Carricarte, who heard Ballinger lamenting her stolen poles at ACES’ Boxing Day celebration and gifted her a pair of his. Grade: A+

The El Jebel City Market, for muting the group text before reading the part about how shopping there was supposed to be an Aspen-alternative, pre-Christmas aggravation saver. Grade: C

Whoever didn’t think hard enough before voting to commence Aspen’s municipal election season a short seven weeks after a long midterms — and over the holidays. (Present company regretfully included.) Grade: C

Colorado liquor stores, all of which are required by law to close on Christmas Day. However, it’s a truth universally acknowledged that Aspenites are entitled to pick and choose their own laws. Furthermore, while everyone needs a vacation, the need for a stiff drink by parents of young children at 6:39 a.m. on Dec. 25 also cannot be overstated. Grade: C
Cell service in Aspen and Snowmass, which was largely MIA during the time of year when cell service has far too much work to take off.  Grade: D+

The abundance of Downtowners, taxis, Ubers, RFTA buses, airport employees, and city, county and CDOT crews working tirelessly to ensure everyone traveled safely and smoothly through wintry conditions. Grade: A

All the non-professional drivers who operate their cars as though stopping at the flashing lights for pedestrians crossing icy roads in the dark was optional. Grade: F

The Aspen visitors who slowed down, looked up and visibly softened during their stay — and left with discernibly wider eyes and smiles than when they arrived. Grade: A

The Aspen locals who gave up their holidays so visitors could enjoy theirs. Grade: A

The Aspen visitors who mistook the kindness of the locals serving them for actual servants. Grade: D

New York and Los Angeles public schools, for starting up classes this week. Grade: B+

The Kardashians and their paparazzi parade, for coming in late and swiftly taking the lenses off Mariah Carey so she could shop privately in peace. Grade: B+

Follow Meredith Carroll on Twitter @MCCarroll. More at


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