Meredith Carroll: The pardoning of Aspen’s turkeys

Meredith Carroll
Muck Off

United Airlines

PARDONED: For the $1,490 roundtrip airfare between Aspen and Denver this week. Because what family wants the ease of traveling with kids out of an airport located 3 miles from home when they can start their “vacation” by driving 216 miles to a parking lot located 3 miles (and a shuttle bus ride) from an(other) airport.


PARDONED: The vacationing Australians who made front-page news over the course of several consecutive days in March 2020 for being Aspen’s first confirmed COVID-19 cases. At the time it seemed like they’d done us in. In time we’ve come to understand the virus probably would have made it here even if the Aussies hadn’t.

*The Australians who made front-page news a different time in March 2020 for breaking quarantine (in the Little Nell!) to ski Snowmass are excluded from the blanket Australians pardon.


PARDONED: Once the pit stain on Aspen’s calendar with its melodramatic reduction in daylight, its image got a makeover this year by becoming better known as that one month when town legitimately cleared out for the first time in forever.

Aspen Skiing Co.

PARDONED: Skico enjoys a great deal of power in Aspen; however, their influence does not extend to actual powder. They’re pardoned for the lackluster early season snow showing, if not for the $149 walk-up ticket price to “ski” it tomorrow.

Aspen restaurants*

PARDONED: Every local restaurant with a $28 fried calamari appetizer or $42 burger for doing its part to draw attention to the stark reality that Aspen’s soul will die a quick and ugly death without a meaningful reasonable dining remedy. In other news, a lien-free beautiful old 9,000-square-foot building on Galena Street and Hopkins Avenue became vacant earlier this month.

*Casa de Angelo, one of Aspen’s newest restaurants, is not pardoned for its $22 “Buttermilk” side salad. Naming a plate of lettuce with bacon bits that sell for $3.99-per-pound at Costco after a beginner mountain is a rookie move destined to go down in the Aspen Restaurants So Ridiculous Even For Aspen That You Don’t Remember Them Because Of Course They Didn’t Make It Hall of Fame.

Stevie Nicks

PARDONED: For the last-minute Labor Day concert cancellation that paved the way for Jimmy Buffet’s Jazz Aspen Snowmass debut.


PARDONED: Aspen misses the days when y’all were our biggest problem. You can come back now if you want (just not all y’all at once, please).

All of you

PARDONED: The Aspen Police Department announces its fleet will transition from Fords to Teslas — Teslas! — and there hasn’t been one halfway decent joke. Come on, Aspen. You’re snarkier than this.

Joe Biden

PARDONED: It remains to be seen if he’ll stand shoulder to shoulder with the best or be counted among the worst. One thing is certain either way: The actual worst was forced to leave because Biden won, so he’ll always have that going for him.

North Star Nature Preserve partiers

PARDONED: Once described by Aspen Journalism as “flotillas of stand-up paddleboarders, clusters of inner tubes, beach parties, sunbathers, children splashing about with plastic toys, dogs playing fetch in the river,” the (ab)users of the North Star Nature Preserve finally forced officials to more tightly regulate the beloved east end sanctuary. Thanks, party animals. No, really, thank you.

Short-staffed establishments

PARDONED: For the dirty looks and stares of disgust or indifference (both given and received). For the wrong orders, long queues, waits and hold times, and non-apology apologies. You could have not shown up entirely but instead you’re limiting your services and hours and, most importantly, staying open. Truly, thank you.

Skippy Mesirow

PARDON DENIED: It has almost been two years since the Aspen City councilman blamed both a vegan cleanse and a steak dinner with compound butter and a side of creamed spinach for choosing to post to his own Instagram account a video that he recorded of himself driving through a pre-pandemic downtown Aspen during the busiest week of the year and ranting about how “it’s time we have the conversation about it’s too many people in town at peak season and they are not the right people and even if we have to take a little bit of a haircut on our income, which I certainly would, it’s worth it for quality of life and the character of our town.” Maybe next year, Skippy.

More at and on Twitter @MCCarroll.


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