Meredith C. Carroll: Aspen’s most frequent questions: answered |

Meredith C. Carroll: Aspen’s most frequent questions: answered

Meredith C. Carroll
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Depending on the strength of your stock portfolio and the whims of Mother Nature, Aspen can be a tricky place to get to. Fortunately the living is easy once you finally arrive. Visiting, on the other hand, can be a wee bit more difficult. Vacationers to the jewel of the Rocky Mountains attempting to navigate the ins and outs of A-town often require assistance, which necessitates everyone from reservation associates, servers, salespeople, citizens, cashiers, bellmen and bartenders remain on their toes to ensure out-of-towners have their most pressing questions, of which there are many, answered.

Here’s a sampling of the questions Aspenites are asked most frequently by guests:

When does a deer become an elk?

Either at his bar mitzvah or when sponsored by another Elk.

What time do the Maroon Bells ring?

Can you recall what time it was when you first read about the angelic chimes of the famed Maroon Bells? Because the bells must have been ringing in your head at that time.

Is Isis really in Aspen?

Aspen is a proudly inclusive community that opens its arms wide to many types, including people of all race, creed and color; women without plastic surgery (but with Lululemon compression pants); men sporting black knee socks with sandals; fedora wearers; drivers of mustard-yellow cars; and Texans.

Where do the moguls get stored in the summertime?

The Aspen Institute happily keeps the moguls during summer — at the Aspen Ideas Festival in particular and on the Aspen Meadows campus in general. The bumps, on the other hand, can be found in select bathroom stalls around town.

Do you have a trash can?

Yes, by law, all full-time Aspen residents carry portable trash cans in their back pockets. The ones who don’t are required to eat their own garbage. We’d be happy to eat yours, too.

Where’s the bathroom?

Good question! There are none, as Aspen is a nature-pee-only destination.

What’s the best whiskey for beginners?


Where’s the mountain?


Can I still ski if it’s snowing?

Thanks for asking! The answer is that, due to a glitch in the space-time continuum, when it’s snowing, you actually cannot ski in Aspen. If you want to ski when it snows, you’ll need to go to Vail; you’ll know you’re there when you see lines of skiers and snowboarders spilling out onto the west-bound lanes of Interstate 70.

Do I need a coat in the snow?

No, in Aspen your body automatically grows an extra layer of skin that includes head-to-toe, naturally cruelty-free fur. It was included in the price of your flight into Sardy Field (which should partially explain the astonishingly high fare).

*I* can still get over Independence Pass when it’s closed, right?

Yes, *you* can, but only you. Especially in January.

Why does everything cost more in Aspen?

Just because we love when people ask about prices. Conversations about money give us life.

Where do the normal people go?

Home. Or Glenwood.

Do people really live here?

Nope. As soon as you leave, we will, too.

Can I put my stuff here?

Sure, go right ahead. We’ve been saving this spot here just for you in the off chance you’d want to put your stuff down.

Do they sell refreshments at the top of Highland Bowl?

Of course! It’s a little known fact that Starbucks opened its first-ever high-altitude espresso bar at 12,392-feet. Local’s secret: There’s a McDonald’s drive-thru on the backside of Aspen Mountain.

Where can I hike?

With the shoes you’ve got on, the Hyman Avenue mall will be a challenge, but if you train hard, bring lots of brand-new gear, apparel for every weather permutation and combination, a selfie stick and enough water to end the drought of a small African nation, you can do it!

Where can I see a celebrity?

The real housewives are always on Smuggler Mountain.

Where can I see a bear?

The Denver Zoo has black, brown and polar bears. If you don’t feel like journeying to the Front Range, though, just hang out for a bit on the curb of any second-home owner in the West End to whom the law about using wildlife-resistant trash cans doesn’t apply.

Follow Meredith Carroll on Twitter @MCCarroll. More at


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