Rogers: Sure that’s Aspen’s soul spoiled? |

Rogers: Sure that’s Aspen’s soul spoiled?

Aspen Times editor Don Rogers
Courtesy photo

Oh, the woe. The wonder is anyone lives here, the place is wrecked so bad.

Have you noticed where all this wailing comes from? Well, the wrinkles, the degree of white in the hair, the waxing on and on and …. Clues plain as snow.

You think elders weren’t moaning about the end of it all 20 years ago, 30, 50 — back when the current crop of been-here-too-longs were living their life of lives? There were always too many or too few rich people, houses always too expensive or cheap for too good reason, something always wrong with the ski hill, outsiders horning in, hippies, athletes, oligarchs, celebrities, developers, psychos. One gonzo’s innumerable wannabes.

To a certain set, the ghosts of a gauzy golden age will always haunt the present, spoil it. Something sours in the heart of rearview mirror people. But it’s not the soul of the place, if such a thing could be said or taken seriously, keeping a straight face, at least a white one.    

Walk into a bar, any bar. You won’t find many crying in their beer. People seem not to be having such a horrible time.

Winterskol, royalty, bonfire, fireworks! Lots of happy howls at the finale, couples holding hands, friends catching up and cracking up. Not much misery to be found here, either.  

Skiing, apres, the events, all that. If not soul, certainly high spirits.

So what is it, exactly? The high prices? As if that were new. Hard to find a place to live? Ditto. Pay’s too low? Always thus, and in more places than here, sorry to say. Life is terribly unfair everywhere.

Is it the traffic downtown for a time turned the wrong way as a “lab”; the construction delays as displayed by fencing and papered-over doors, holes in the ground; the latest return of panic over the rickety bridge into a place that capitalizes Entrance?

Frustration with infrastructure’s old as the first miners. Local government’s always dumb and no damned good until fond memories take hold 20 or 30 years hence about the farsighted leaders we’ll surely never have again in the present day’s greedy, grasping environment.  

Now, there is greed and cruelty in this world, to be sure. Did you really believe it collected only at this curb, that this dread wind piles up those leaves here and not out there?

Seems Aspen is not perfect. That snow, the great outdoors like none other, the intellectual and artistic delights, everything elite and world class and A list not enough, not nearly enough. What a disappointment.

Where’s your luxe, is that it? Sure it’s hard when you look around and the 1% seems like most everyone in town, fat private jets lolling at the airport, the cost of everything other than Nordic skiing too much, unbelievable.

But are we still talking about Aspen’s soul or maybe ours? Or is it simpler than that? Like maybe we’re just a touch spoiled ourselves? Yes, ironic.


It’s not just ski town evolution taking an ever more corporate cast like the companies managing the slopes, at the stage of Monopoly with rows of hotels on Broadway, fondness for the Quiet Years with hardships forgotten or never known.

It’s generational, as well: Greatest to Lost to Boomer to X to Millennial to Z; rinse, repeat. We attach silly names now, as well as appellations for each as they progress through universal phases of life.

The Boomers have taken over as fogeys from the Greatest, and Z’s smart under the sheer weight of numbers of their elder Millennials, who are a bit loath to give way as entitled little punks like the Boomers used to be when they answered, or not so much, to the Greatest.

Used to be. When we’re young, we want it all now. Of course we do. Then we age, take on responsibilities and begin to look askance at the kids we once were. We also had a lot of fun back then, some of us in our formative early adulthoods piling into ski towns, taking whatever jobs we could, skiing, partying maybe, feeling luckiest in the world to be here.

Kind of like the kids right now, and the ones who will pile into town 20, 30, 50 years from now.  

When I say it’s maybe time to move on, I don’t mean leaving town. The problem here — and there are plenty, for sure — might have little to do with any soul but our own.

Aspen Times Editor Don Rogers can be reached at