Roger Marolt: So many blowhards, so few breezeways
OK, I give up. I am resigned to the reality that we will not get a breezeway through the proposed Gorsuch Haus hotel so that skiers coming all the way down Norway Slope at the base of Aspen Mountain would be able to ski through an open-air passage in the building and directly back to Lift 1A instead of having to traverse around the project to get back to the lift.
I am ready to herringbone the bottom of that classic ski run and bushwhack along an old elk trail shadowing the backside of Aspen’s newest guest accommodations in order to return to skiing civilization. Sticker burs on snow pant cuffs can become cool again, like they were when Andre Roach made that fashionable in 1939 when skiing in Aspen wasn’t quite skiing yet.
I don’t get it, but I accept it. God grant me the serenity. When I sprung the idea on the community in this column a few weeks ago, and please excuse me because I’m going to use rough numbers here, approximately everyone in town told me it was a fabulous idea. Yet, my personal mole in City Hall informed me later that exactly one person wrote a note to City Council supporting the idea, and that person was me. Right around zero citizens mentioned it during the public comments part of the last City Council meeting. There has not been a single letter to the editor favoring the breezeway.
I have my pride. I will not make a sign and stand at the intersection of Mill and Main smiling and dancing to get you behind this community amenity. I will not be passing a petition around. We won’t be having any strategic planning meetings. I would just as soon sidestep through sage brush with my skis on than do any of this. I recognize a lost cause when I see it. Mark Hunt, would you like to have a beer sometime?
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Despite these guts spilled at the community’s feet, I still firmly support this project. I do need to make a disclaimer, though: Jeff Gorsuch is like a brother to me and, as such, I have been overly critical and hard on this project. I have offered too much unsolicited advice. I’m like the older brother and that’s what we do best.
With that out of the way, I will tell you that I believe this is likely the best deal we will get for the revitalization of the Lift 1A part of town. While it is a recognized scare tactic for a developer in the approval process to say something along the lines of, “This part of town is going to be developed eventually, so you might as well take my plan,” in this case I believe it to be sage advice. If you head up to that part of town, you can already see that the writing on the wall of the old Skiers Chalet is already dry paint and chipping in places. It has already changed so much that we can never go back to what it was even a year ago.
I am behind the project, but not necessarily on technical aspects. This has been going on so long that I have completely lost track of the square footage, height, number of rooms, employee housing mitigation, promised happy hour prices for locals in the slope-side bar, etc. I trust City Council and staff are keeping track of this stuff.
I am supporting this project based on a philosophy I have adopted for all my political votes in the future. I am no longer an issues voter. I will not vote along party lines. From now on, my vote will go to the people I judge to have the highest moral qualities. Let demonstrated kindness, honesty and character be my guide. The world would be a better place if we had genuinely good people with good intentions running it rather than people who promise us cake and then take the corner piece with all the frosting for themselves.
Jeff Gorsuch is a good person. He honestly tries to do the right things. He genuinely cares about Aspen. His family is part of our skiing heritage. He is raising a good family. He runs a terrific local business that does nice things for kids. He is a steadfast supporter of local education. He traded his citizenship in Vail to become a devout Aspenite. He is a loyal friend to me, and that is not as easy as he makes it look. For all of this, I am thoroughly convinced that nobody will try harder to make this thing at Lift 1A work for all of us. I can’t ask or expect anything more.
Roger Marolt still holds out hope that getting from the bottom of Norway back to the lift will be a breeze. Email at email@example.com.
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