Roger Marolt: Change is not the problem, get it? |

Roger Marolt: Change is not the problem, get it?

Roger Marolt
Roger This

There is a new rallying cry in town. “Relax, it’s Aspen” is dead, thank goodness, although this new one is equally grating on the nerves.

I first heard the condescending replacement phrase last winter as the community debated the new lift 1A development plan. In the spring, I heard it said about the airport expansion. Wednesday, I saw it quoted by Mike Kaplan in Skico’s acknowledgment of Ikon Pass crowding at Highlands. Thursday, I heard someone on the radio in an ad for the airport use it in describing the new parking arrangements there.

The execrable words are these: “Change is hard. I get it.”

And with this, we are left to lick our wounded sense of intelligence while accepting that the angst we are feeling over these changes are due to personal weakness and not anything external that we have experienced or observed. We know this because the people saying this about the gentrification of the Lift 1A neighborhood, airport expansion, Ikon Pass infusion or inconvenient parking arrangements don’t seem like they really believe that the change to which they refer is hard or actually “get” why we think it is.

At first I thought this was so irritating because of the way people say this catchphrase. It sounds like the beginning of a lecture from a goody two-shoes talking down to me; somebody who believes with all their heart that I am an idiot, but they will treat me kindly by sticking to simple words I have a chance of understanding. I don’t know, maybe I deserve it.

Except now I see the trick. They want me to believe that “change” is the problem, and not actually the thing they are trying to pull over on us. It’s not that the new development won’t provide enough employee housing. It’s change that gives us the heartburn. It’s not that the new airport is another step toward citification that’s the trouble. It’s change that’s got us down. Crowded parking lots and ski slopes are not the issue. It’s change that chaps our hides as we moulder in line.

Well, how about lowering the price of a Classic Pass by $500 this year and see how hard it is for us to adapt to that extra change in our pockets. Get more reasonably priced flights out of here and fewer unexplained offseason cancellations and see how smoothly that change is accepted at the airport. Build a reasonably sized hotel and some houses for locals and I don’t think you will have any problem with us accepting change. As it turns out, it’s not change that’s the problem, it’s you guys who are trying to make us think it is and that this is our fault instead of yours.

Remember when somebody would tell you, “Relax, it’s Aspen”? You hated that phrase, but could never admit it, even to yourself, because the implication was that, if that slogan irked you, it was because you were uptight. It was telling you that there are no problems in Aspen except for you, if you happen to be grumpy one morning. That was me who came up with the “Relapse, It’s Aspen” sticker that is plastered onto the front door of The Hickory House in an attempt to sober up the reality of the “relax” movement, if you will. So agreeably bad was that relax slogan that my sworn enemy, Lo Semple, did the honor of actually sticking the verbal antivenin up there. We haven’t agreed on anything since.

If it is not clear now that I am not relaxing about this latest proliferation of patronization, pay attention. Change is coming your way and the purveyors of it will make you feel so stupid for resisting it that you will eventually fall in line even though your stomach won’t stop hurting.

So, a friend says the other day about the rise of e-bikes and the opposition to them: “It’s change. I get it.”

I kept my cool, but didn’t hesitate to point out that it’s not just change. There are plenty of good reasons to dislike e-bikes. There are also lots of good reasons to like e-bikes. We don’t need to blame any of this on change, just look at the facts and make up your own mind about them.

Personally, I think we should treat e-bikes like medical marijuana. If you need one, get a prescription from your doctor and we’ll give you a pass to ride them on the single track. Let’s talk about it. The change will do us good.

Roger Marolt believes change is as inevitable as bad ideas are. Email at