Roger Marolt: Paving the way for Lift 1B
Have you seen what’s going down on the uphill end of South Aspen Street? I think it’s South Aspen Street. Excuse me for not knowing; it’s because I’ve lived here a long time. Anyway, it looks like the construction apocalypse is mushrooming there. It’s a heavy-equipment demolition derby. If that concentration of earth disruption was going on downtown, we’d have already called in the National Guard and a cadre of Greenpeace signature gatherers. Since it is only happening way out there at the base of Lift 1A, I don’t think anybody cares.
This much frantic activity could mean that it is but a tiny project that they are hurrying to finish before winter, but I doubt it. I think it is the detonator of project chain reaction that will alter that part of town forever. I can only guarantee two things about it: First, it will look lovely according to popular present-day architectural tastes; and second, the functional way locals use that area will never be in the same casual manner. I find that people are reluctant to spit on a new sidewalk next to a manicured hedge in front of a lodge with a spa after a hard day of skiing. The valet might frown.
It looks like we have parked up there for the last time. For me that was probably on closing day of Aspen Mountain last spring. I wish I had paid more attention. I have been parking up there to go skiing since I was a 16-year-old punk. I’m sure I could have worked up some sentimentality over that as I sat on my bumper next to my skis shedding slush under the warm sunshine while unbuckling my boots. I might have even borrowed a beer from the Flyers, who have made a good habit of congregating there at the end of a ski day.
Normally this time of year I avoid thinking about skiing so I don’t ruin my appetite for it before there is the prospect of a lift opening. If it crosses my mind, it is usually while I’m asleep in a scene from one of those bottomless, trackless, endless powder days that seem way too good to be true and ends as soon as the dog licks my cheek, which I mistake for a face shot.
Now, when I look up at the mountain, I wonder where I’m going to park to go skiing. It’s a vibe damper. The way the town is laid out, if we’re not parking on South Spring Street, the closest option for a ride up the hill is the Silver Queen Gondola. Once on the grid, even if you are a block closer to 1A as the crow flies, you can make up the vertical climb to 1A by walking the extra distance on flat ground to the gondola. Even if I want to make the hike from town to 1A from now on, I think I might feel a little stupid about it. It’ll seem illogical to make the effort — not enough of an aerobic threshold test, but plenty to wear out ski boot soles.
They’re making all the big changes to the infrastructure up there so we can assume Gorsuch Haus is a forgone conclusion. I know it’s still not officially official, but you can tell it is unofficially official and all that’s missing is a little more foot-stomping around City Hall before the rubber-stamping takes place.
I imagine apres ski at Gorsuch Haus will be a little like sitting in Peaches in front of a quiche, imagining that you are about to bite into a Little Cliff’s glazed doughnut. For those who don’t understand the reference, Gorsuch Haus might be the best thing ever. For those who do connect with the imagery, you might think so, too, but also understand there will always be the splinter of a memory there, too — so faint that you will never quite be able to tell if it hurts or tickles.
It’s funny that we prefer to have construction going on during the offseason so that it doesn’t disturb too many people. I say “funny,” because we all know you can get away with just about anything, including murder, if you don’t disturb anyone in the process. There is no begging for forgiveness if you make a lot of noise and are caught in the act. On the other hand, if you have a party while your parents are away, you might get grounded when they return and find the house a mess. But, you had the party.
Roger Marolt feels like another Aspen treasure has been dug up and hauled to the dump. Email at email@example.com.
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