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West: Aspen sacred and needs proper entrance

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

Aspen is a sacred space. A magical town. A place that welcomes all with open arms and anyone who comes into the town is transformed by its grace, its absolute pure beauty. That spark of magic happens every day for people who work in town, live in her neighborhoods, play in her parks, ski on her mountain. 

It’s arduous to get to Aspen for journeyers from afar. 

Arriving in Aspen is special.



Pathway (Sando)

The sando is a pathway leading from outside the shrine compound to the front of a structure for worshippers. The sando functions as more than a path for circulation. It is also a religious composition, preparing the minds of people for sacred worship.




A sando is usually lined with an avenue of trees or otherwise marked in order to be distinguished from regular pathways. Frequently, the sando crosses a pond or stream with a sacred bridge called a shinkyo. This crossing symbolizes the purification of mind. In some cases, the shrine pathway is marked with stone stairways and lined with stone lanterns. 

Aspen has a special means to enter her sacred space, just as a temple has a sando and shinkyo to prepare one for arrival. 

As discussions arise to consider other means to arrive in Aspen, let us consider what is at stake. Let’s consider the Upper Valley Mobility Study that was conducted five years ago. The Community Forum Task Force recognizes that we cannot build our way out of traffic congestion by simply adding more highway or transit capacity. A more sustainable and effective long-term solution must be found.

I look forward to contributing to the conversation with our community and neighbors.
Aspen is the premier ski town in the world and has the opportunity to lead.

Let’s lead.

Karen West

Aspen