Carroll: Nine other things Aspen should ban

Meredith C. Carroll
Muck Off

Aspen City Council spent last night’s work session continuing a discussion that began in November on whether new downtown developments should be required to seek “conditional use” permission if they plan to open a chain store. The criteria for approval would include whether the proposed formula retail space would complement Aspen’s architectural charm while also adding variety to nearby existing businesses.

Shops and restaurants like Twinkle, Big Wrap, J-Bar, Poppycocks, Ute Mountaineer, Pitkin County Dry Goods, Aspen Emporium and Flying Circus, Peach’s, Rustique and Amen Wardy all contribute to Aspen’s unparalleled charisma. Coupled with the anomalous local personality oozing from the grooves in the cobblestones on the downtown pedestrian malls and the glowing lights hugging snow-capped trees, it’s a shrewd move for Aspen to safeguard its acclaimed brand of magic.

However, it’s not just bricks, mortar and the old-timey vests worn by the bartenders at Justice Snow’s that keep Aspen reeking of a Currier and Ives painting. That’s why City Council should consider banning other distinctly non-Aspen elements such as:

The Continued Lack of Cell Service at Two Creeks

We can get a man on the moon, yet cellphone service continues to elude Two Creeks. While it’s technically Snowmass, it’s still not the Aspen way. Quaint is good until you screw with our ability to text a friend asking where to meet for apres.

Katie Richter

Speaking of Snowmass, Katie Richter, the woman who recently accused Aspen’s Suitable for Framing shop of denying her help because she’s a Donald Trump supporter, apparently lives there. However, the Tomi Lahren-wannabe, self-described on her Facebook page as “conservative, classy, and a bit smart-assy,” might consider taking her dog-and-pony show west of the Intercept Lot. While Aspenites are legendarily liberal, they’re also strikingly smart — which is why if she stays, it would be wise(r) for Richter to take a page from the book of Elizabeth Milias, an Aspen conservative adept at making waves with well-informed opinions and exhaustively researched positions. Far-fetched accusations made for the purpose of harming others while drawing attention to yourself are best reserved for Richter’s buddies over at “Fox & Friends,” which has more than 1.4 million Google search results on their “fact checks” alone.


Unless, of course, they’re yoga pants. Because yoga pants aren’t just pants; they’re life. Authentic Aspen understands this.

More Slow Food

The slow-food movement is commendable, wonderful and worthy. What Aspen desperately needs, however, is a restaurant serving up soul food, otherwise known as fast food. A restaurant that doesn’t require a non-refundable deposit on reservations. One where you can get in and out in under three hours. One whose mere existence downtown will prompt the doctors at Aspen Medical Care to remind you of the benefits of a plant-based diet. One that’s menu lacks a glossary page. One you may not admit to frequenting in mixed company, that is, unless you want to figure out quickly who doesn’t make for good company anyway.


Few things scream “not Aspen!” as much as meth. The city’s constitution was written on hemp paper, cocaine is protected under the town’s grandfather ordinance and Valium is a God-given right. But the chemicals and low-wage labor that go into manufacturing methamphetamines are diametrically opposed to the environmentally friendly/fair wage/pro-tooth/judgment-filled standard of living that makes the 81611 extra special.


Because if the Texans go, the man furs will necessarily follow. Can we (and by we, we mean the sables, foxes and minks) get an amen?

Rich People

Some rich people are fine, but only as long as they’re Aspen rich. If you have something bigger than a bench named after you, if you do takeout from Matsuhisa for your babysitter, if you own a plane to travel from your home here to your other four homes, you can stay. However, if you only fly first class via standby and don’t even have a babysitter on the payroll to buy a piece of $23 whitefish sashimi for, it may be time to consider Vail.

Poor People

Some poor people are OK — just as long as they’re cute poor; you know, like recent college graduates who half-eat ramen noodle soup for the nostalgia.

Ugly People

Aside from botox and Lululemon compression pants, what makes Aspenites beautiful is their big hearts, open minds, determination to live well — and their ability to do it with so little air at 7,908 feet. What diminishes us, though, is the whining. Aspen has real problems that neither start nor end at the Dolce & Gabbana boutique on Galena Street. If we know better than to judge others by their covers, let’s not have ours blown by spending so much time fretting about Frette and groaning about Gucci. Quality of life issues should have a seat at the table, but perhaps not quite so many that divert quite so much time and attention away from more substantial matters.

Follow Meredith Carroll on Twitter @MCCarroll. More at


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