Marolt: Patience is hard, but the money is easy
It is a crazy week we live in.
I was buckling my boots at the back of my car in the 90-minute zone up at the Snowmass Mall. The holiday traffic dissuaded me from driving to my beloved Aspen Mountain, so I decided to challenge myself with how many laps I could get on Slot before getting a parking ticket. It’s a holiday game I call “Beat the boot guy with Sam’s Knob.”
As I was giving my power strip one last tug before heading to the lift, I noticed a woman doing the same thing while seated in the driver’s seat of her luxurious SUV across the lot. As she was doing so, I heard her horn blast and looked up to see her elbow bumping against it. A car circling for a parking spot came around the corner just as her arm pressed against her horn once again. The woman looked up to see the circling car, stared its driver down, and flipped him the bird. She did not realize it was her own elbow honking her own horn at her own self. The driver of the circling car threw up his hands and gave a perplexed look, as in, “What the hell?!”
The SUV lady flipped him off again for good measure and added an audible “F— you!” for emphasis. She pulled on her gloves, slammed her door, gathered her skis and poles like a load of cordwood, and clomped away awkwardly enough to prove she was not a regular skier.
In Aspen, a city dump truck with a plow on front was steaming up Main Street throwing a wave of filthy slush up against all the cars parked along the curb. He did not look unhappy doing his job. I had never seen it, though. It seemed to me they usually plow the snow toward the middle of the street.
I suppose I was lucky to witness this atrocity in snowplowing at all. A few minutes earlier I was stuck on Cemetery Lane at the traffic light while a RFTA bus blocked the intersection through two red-green-yellow cycles. I don’t know why. He didn’t seem too concerned. It might have gone on for an hour if he hadn’t gotten bored.
One thing I hate to see are parents selling their little kids on the joys of ski school, as if a purple moose and a hot dog for lunch are what it is all about. I have a soft spot for those kids. I’ve been in their boots. My dad brought me to the mountain one morning when I was about five. He stood with me while we observed the kiddy ski classes lining up; the few not silently crying were rebelling with screams.
“What do you think?” He asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied, not sure what he wanted my answer to be.
“What do you say you and I go skiing instead.” I assumed a question mark was following his words somewhere, but it never caught up. Away we went — a wish granted and a dream begun.
While I’m sure some kids love ski school, I have never met an adult skier who looks back fondly on sentences served there when they were innocent.
It wasn’t a necessary evil, just an evil. Maybe the ones who liked it never came to understand the beauty of skiing — freedom — and turned their attentions to other things when they got the chance.
Speaking of kids, my son, a young man now, and I finished a day of skiing at the base of the gondola. We were all smiles and exhilaration. A snazzy dressed fellow looks at our skis and says, “Time for an upgrade, boys.” He held up a pair of 182, straight side-cut women’s World Cup skis for us to admire. I laugh. My son jokingly offers him $5 for the bindings. Nobody would ski on boards like those unless manded by the governing body of the Federation of International Skiing, which they do for racers who don’t like them, either.
The braggard looked crestfallen and, doubling down to expose what he thought was our bluff about his prized skis, offered, “I’m serious. I will sell them right now.”
We walked away shaking our heads. I felt a little bad embarrassing him like that in front of the people he was trying so hard to impress, but short of making an offer to buy his crappy skis, which he really didn’t want to sell anyway even though he didn’t enjoy skiing on them, I don’t think there was much else I could have done.
All in all, it was a good year and ended much the way most of them do in a mountain resort.
Here’s to a happy New Year and all the stuff that will happen in this paradise that will make us stop and wonder if we are for real or everything around us is a setup.
Roger Marolt knows a lot of our visitors will be locals by the time they get back home. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org.