Sean Beckwith: Working in Aspen is overrated

It’s that time of year when many of Aspen’s workforce barricade themselves in town in hope of having some semblance of normalcy. Finding a routine is harder than expected in a place where schedules revolve around skiing and the service industry.

Mundane tasks become loathsome. Grabbing a seat on the 7:15 a.m. bus to Snowmass or an apres bus back into town is a test of your ability to handle claustrophobic situations. Going out to eat is as much a gauge of your patience as your palate. Picking up lunch at City Market requires dodging the young South American contingent clogging aisles with overstuffed carts of food and cases of 3.2 percent beer. Hordes of visitors wander the streets, forcing even the newest Aspen residents to curse them under their breath.

If you can just keep your head down and focus on the task at hand, you should be able to handle peak season. It’s kind of like how I feel on a hike: “This sucks. I’m going to look at my feet, turn up my music as loud as possible and hopefully it’ll be over before I mistakenly check how much longer I have to go.”

However, those are just a few aspects of life during busy season, and hating life shouldn’t be a part of Aspen living.

The other side of the ticket, though: that’s what we’re here for. You know, becoming giddy as fast as the snow falling the night before a powder day. Inhaling buckets of snow because you can’t stop smiling/are trying to breathe through the face shots. Popping a bottle of bubbly on the Silver Queen Gondola. Scaring yourself attempting to top personal speed records on bluebird days. Party laps in between beverages at Buckhorn or Wine Cabin celebrations. The booms of avalanche blasts readying gated terrain, perking up your ears and inducing slobbering like Pavlov’s dinner bell.

Finding that balance between personal, work and recreation time can be challenging, but it’s incredibly important. I’ve done the seven-day work weeks. No one should subject themselves to, as my dad likes to say, cruel and unusual punishment. Whether you’re in a perpetual state of ire, coping with the help of substances, sleeping any chance you get, there’s no substitute for a day to yourself.

You don’t even have to ski or snowboard. Sleeping until 11 and being a glorified piece of furniture as you binge-watch Netflix does wonders for your personal well-being. Try joining your fellow hospitality coworkers — finally getting a chance to breathe (and drink heavily) — as they roam the streets in a delirious mob on a random weekday. Spend some of that hard-earned cash like an Aspenite. Get some oysters, plan a Cloud Nine blowout, buy something frivolous. Do anything but wallow in the minutiae of work.

I get anxious watching people ski fresh turns while sitting on the chairlift, let alone trying to deal with smiling faces before, during and after work while being stuck in a cell moonlighting as a place of work.

Far more important than the days you miss are the days you don’t. No one ever says, “Remember that time we were at work on a powder day? That was glorious.” Be thankful you get to count down the days until your weekend and not the days until your departure flight.

Sean Beckwith is a copy editor at The Aspen Times. He can be reached at


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