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Roses and thorns

Thorns to the trail and road users who wear ear buds and then act totally surprised when they are passed by a cyclist or vehicle. One woman hiking the Dinkle Lake to Thomas Lake stretch of trail last weekend was wearing ear buds and didn’t hear a cyclist announce, “Cyclists approach,” followed by “on your left,” twice. She was surprised when the biker skirted by on her left and then gave a look that would have killed him. It dawned on her that there might be another cyclist, so she looked behind, still clearly agitated. Some cyclists make the same mistake. A woman road cyclist was riding in Missouri Heights Friday morning, staying far to her right in the traffic lane. So far, so good. But when it came time for her to turn right, she made a wide, swooping turn nearly into the path of a vehicle. Sure enough, she was wearing ear buds. On the popular Rio Grande Trail, ear-bud use is quite common, and often users are oblivious to passing cyclists. There should be a golden rule: If you cannot hear people ring their bell or announce themselves, assume someone will be passing you and stay far to the right.

Roses to the Aspen and Snowmass Village service-industry workers who dealt with humongous holiday crowds on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Hotel, restaurant and bar workers have quite a difficult chore dealing with thousands of extra visitors, some of whom are less than patient. While money is flowing in the form of tips and extra hours on the time card, taking care of so many people who are here today and gone tomorrow sometimes can test the limits of a reasonable workload. To maintain quality service with a smile and attention to detail is a feat that should not go unnoticed.



Thorns to the few locals and visitors who acted like jerks during the holiday weekend. Every rose (see above) has its thorns, and during Fourth of July celebrations we personally witnessed several incidents involving poor behavior on the part of patrons at local drinking and dining establishments. It ranged from people cutting in line and bumping into people to satisfy fast-food urges to berating our area’s beloved service employees. Hey, folks, if you’re in that big of a hurry during the busiest weekend of Aspen’s summer — or if you’re so drunk that you can’t walk or speak properly — it might be better for everyone involved if you took a chill pill and stayed inside your time-share unit or hotel room for the night. We’ll see you the next day when you’ve realized the error of your ways and you know how to behave.




A thorn to whoever sabotaged the Prince Creek network of trails in mid-June. Two boards riddled with nails were placed on the Creekside and Skillsaw trails. They were covered with dirt and pine needles so that no one would detect them. Thankfully, a rider was able to spot the hazards, which were soon removed. No injuries were reported. It takes a sick mind to participate in such nefarious activity, and we hope the perpetrators are caught and brought to justice.

Roses to those who aided the Early Learning Center’s various fundraising activities in Paepcke Park during the Fourth of July celebrations on Friday. The center and its many volunteers did a fantastic job of keeping people supplied with food and drink, and parkgoers responded in kind. Some revelers even participated in a silent auction to benefit the center. In Aspen, it’s not unusual for locals and visitors to engage in good deeds by providing financial assistance for a good cause, and this was yet another example.