Princess: A good dose of offseason culture | AspenTimes.com

Princess: A good dose of offseason culture

Ali Margo
The Aspen Princess

While I know there are plenty of you out there who mourn the end of ski season, I actually look forward to the freedom that offseason brings.

For those of us who can’t afford to jet off to the tropics, now is when you get to do all those things you don’t have time for when a bowl hike or a Tiehack skin or your morning gondie laps (that count as a “day” for day-counters) take priority. For me that means yoga classes and undisrupted writing sessions, during which I spend most of my time looking at Facebook even though most of my friends have pretty much stopped using it.

Last week, though, I was able to step away from the computer and take advantage of some cultural stuff.

That started with the 5Points Film Festival in Carbondale, an event that gets better and better every year. The goosebump/tear-jerk factor of this event is undeniable. It’s also a true celebration of mountain culture. And man, does Carbondale shine as the epitome of Colorado small-town cool when a bunch of adventure filmmakers, athletes and outdoor-industry companies descend on our cute little hamlet at the base of the mighty Mount Sopris for a three-day celebration. It was like a living, breathing, Patagonia catalog with all those ruddy-cheeked, wholesome, good-looking people, naturally skinny girls without a lick of makeup and perfectly scruffy men whose chiseled features are coolly camouflaged under the latest craze in facial hair.

I, for one, felt a little out of place with my faux-leather bomber jacket from Free People, my shiny black Kate Spade bag with gold zipper detailing, my Seven for All Mankind flared-leg jeans, my platform Rocket Dog clogs and my hair freshly blow-dried after an afternoon appointment at the Queen B salon. Even if I was going for casual-chic, it was still too much effort for Carbondale, where beauty is something you are born with. Part of the reason all those people can get away without wearing any makeup and dressing in a wardrobe furnished by Patagonia and Prana is because they can. Let’s just say no one else had shoes that went click-click-click on the gymnasium floor.

I was there for the opening April 23 that began with a kickoff party and “Van Life Rally” wherein these aforementioned beautiful mountain people congregated among an assortment of travel vans, buses and campers, drinking Sierra Nevada beer and eating Slow Groovin’ BBQ from Marble (which is to die for, by the way, and I’m not even a big fan of smoked meat). The films always deliver the inspiration that is promised, and this year was no exception. You always walk out of there thinking you should sell everything, buy some kind of camper van (as exhibited at the rally) or a plane ticket to a far-off destination and go on an adventure.

Nothing should stop you or stand between you and said adventure. Not adversity, not illness, not being a parent or a 40-something female, not leading an impossible mountaineering expedition of stubborn-ass men. After watching a film about a ski mountaineer who takes his 11-year-old daughter on a ski expedition to Antarctica that requires a gnarly crossing of the Drake Passage in high seas, I leaned over to my friend who is the father of two young boys and said, “Don’t you get any ideas!”

As much as I admire my crazy friends who are brave enough to drag their kids on all kinds of insane adventures, I think it’s a bit much. I was raised by a woman whose idea of risk-taking was to pull me out of school for a “mental-health day” and take me shopping at West Farms Mall. Then again, if you go on a ski expedition to Antarctica when you’re 11, nothing is going to faze you after that. All I learned at the mall was that they’ll do your makeup at the Lancome counter for free.

Then we went down to Denver for the weekend for a little city time — you know, a musical and a nice dinner and a fun hotel. We saw “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” at the Buell Theatre. Ryan loves theater and should have been onstage since he can sing and dance and loves to entertain. That’s all I kept thinking the whole show — how fun that must be to have a talent and be able to share it with the world. I am a horrible dancer and an even worse singer. Ryan makes fun of me every time I dance. He thinks it’s hysterical. It’s gotten to the point where I do it just to make him laugh.

Speaking of privileged upbringings, my grandmother took me to Broadway musicals when I was growing up, like, on Broadway in New York City. I loved the beautiful old theaters and the Playbill programs, and we’d go for cheesecake afterward at Sardi’s. I’d fall in love with the music and memorize all the songs. The Buell is a long way from Broadway, and without Grandma to spring for the expensive tickets, we were in one of those rows with a double letter, too far away to see the performer’s faces. Still great but not the same.

For dinner we headed down to LoDo. We were so excited to try Uber that we took a $15 car ride to go six blocks, but at least now we can say we’ve downloaded the app. We dined at Cholon, an Asian/French fusion joint that was so good I didn’t want the meal to end. It reminded me of when I was young and could never master the art of eating an ice-cream cone slowly. I was always the first one to finish mine.

The best part about going to the city or on a big adventure, at least for me, is coming home.

The Princess loves springtime in the midvalley. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.


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