Gustafson: Mass-improvement: But gravity is always a two way force |

Gustafson: Mass-improvement: But gravity is always a two way force

Yes, anything with mass, humans included, has a gravitational force. For better or worse we are drawn to each other. It’s invigorating to see that Snowmass has reignited that attractive pull as of late.

And yes, these mountains are still what lure our guests back time and again, some for generations now. It is, of course, this landscape that encourages the rest of us to do what it takes to be able to live and work here.

Still, since its inception, Snowmass Village has been on a seemingly endless search for ways to encourage, support and sustain a “critical mass.” It is prudent to constantly remind ourselves of just what it is that pulls us toward a person, place or experience.

I’m not sure if it is clear whether we can continue to build out our center of gravity. But for now, perhaps we can refocus on where the conversions will be naturally occurring. People still congregate when and where it feels right.

In Snowmass it suddenly feels like the time is right.

Marketing this place seems like fun, and of course it plays a necessary economic-role for us locals. The creative and timeless, slightly shopworn but always playful “what if” runaway campaign of last season put us in that dreamy fantasy world. It has called our visitors to action as they have prepared to spend a small fortune living out their daydreams. This year’s campaign to “meet your outside side,” has a whimsical draw that begs us to explore from within.

But marketing can only do so much. The reality is that this place has the ability to sell itself. We can hang banners, carve pathways, build vista-view points, herd and shuttle people here and there, but with such dynamic forces at work, it is easy to capitalize on Snowmass’ gravitational draw. The only challenge is getting people here to experience it for themselves, and getting out of the way when necessary. Once that is achieved, we can all rise from out of the clutter and get to the periphery from which we can see the view — or simply jump on a lift.

Each decade brings with it photographers who capture the essence of the village and valley in their images. With fall colors and snowy caps dominating their portfolios, Mount Daly remains an enduring centrifugal force.

I have come to believe that our human experience on this planet has hardwired most of us to love certain natural experiences. Snowy rocky peaks, waterfalls, sunsets, autumn’s glow sparkling on a misty rolling hillside, birds in flight, crashing waves ­— you know, the background imagery of most outdoorsy car commercials that have a natural draw. And wow, do we ever have that here. We can collectively enjoy serene vistas, intimate natural moments and wild adventures at any time.

Buildings, however — and for that matter any human-made creation — will always be received much more subjectively.

Still, while we struggle to escape the shadows cast from Base Village, the new Limelight, skating rink and Collective building seem to be pulling their weight. I’ve noticed what feels like vitality returning with force.

Out in the universe you don’t need to have one thing being much bigger or smaller than the other, and two things of equal size orbiting a common center of gravity can go along way.

So, I admit that if the same gravity that pulls us down to Earth also is pulling the Earth up to us, then it is our ongoing duty to contribute to the effect. As a community we can exude enthusiasm for what we now have to share, like it or not, or we can continue to grumble about mistakes made in the past.

I’ve enjoyed running into more and more Aspenites orbiting the village these days, and it feels good to have more of our friends out on these slopes than in past years.

Much like in space, however, if a particle or space probe is going fast enough it can escape Earth’s gravitational influence. So let’s enjoy this onset of enthusiasm brought on by a Base Village closer to completion and let’s maintain it. Perhaps we should settle in and move forward at a reasonable speed before we initiate too much more “there there.”

Because the only other way for the Earth to lose mass is for humans to send objects into space. So let’s be ever vigilant about how much we might dilute our current center of gravity lest we begin to lose the current forces at hand, and spin out of control.

It’s amusing to think how I have no idea of who or where you are, and I may have never met you, but still you and I are exerting a gravitational pull on each other right now.

Let’s exchange a piece of my mind for a little peace of mind; after all, if we always agree what will we talk about? Britta Gustafson appreciates an open mind; share yours and email her at

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