Roses and Thorns
A bundle of roses: To Aspen’s intrepid Olympians, who showed Olympian resilience at the Sochi Winter Games.
Aspen native and cross-country-ski Olympian Simi Hamilton, who got tangled in the hectic traffic of the individual sprint and broke a ski pole in the mayhem, rebounded with a historic performance in the team sprint relay — finishing sixth in Sochi, an all-time best for American cross-country sprinters.
Fellow Aspen cross-country Olympian Noah Hoffman, knocked down in his frantic opening race when he was clubbed in the face by another skier, bounced back with a solid performance and a 31st-place finish in the 30-kilometer event at the Winter Olympics. He was also the top U.S. finisher Sunday in the final cross country event of the 2014 Sochi Winter Games — the 50K freestyle.
Aspen native and first-time Olympian Torin Yater-Wallace, after missing months of vital training in an injury-filled lead-up to the Olympic Games, launched into the soggy halfpipe in Sochi with his familiar freeskiing flair. He challenged the unwieldy weather conditions and the Sochi superpipe, nearly pulling off a most improbable podium performance. His spirited skiing clearly won the respect of his freeskiing peers.
And Aspen native and two-time Olympic figure skater Jeremy Abbott had perhaps the biggest bounce-back of all in Sochi. A fall in the opening team program left Abbott focused on the men’s individual competition. But another painful fall in the men’s short program left Abbott slammed against the boards and stunned on the Olympic ice. He regained his composure and finished the short program. A day later, with his medal chances gone, he skated the best performance of his skating career — finishing with the highest score he had ever achieved in a freeskate performance.
• A rose: To the Snowmass Village Town Council for standing up to Related Colorado on behalf of the community at Tuesday’s meeting.
Related Colorado President Dwayne Romero was seeking to speed up the review process for its application to extend its development rights in Base Village, and the council rightly told him “no.”
A lengthier process does threaten the start of construction of Aspen Skiing Co.’s Limelight Snowmass hotel because the company wants assurance that the rest of the project will get finished. However, the responsibility to do that falls on the developer, not the town.
Skico came forward with its application months ago in order to ensure that it could start building this spring. Skico has been a respectful and professional applicant, and Related would benefit from its example. Kudos to the council for putting the best interests of the public first.
• A thorn: To the Colorado lawmakers who voted favorably on a proposal to treat tobacco like alcohol and bar 18- to 20-year-olds from purchasing it.
The proposal, inspired by new research on how many smokers start the habit as teenagers, faces another vote. It is designed to make it harder for teens to access tobacco, possibly reducing usage rates among adults. While that sounds like a good idea on the surface, we believe that those between the ages of 18 and 20 are old enough to decide for themselves whether tobacco use is OK.
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Vagneur: Today’s the big local’s day, even though the celebrating may need to be a bit different this year.