Roger Marolt: So, now we are just big enough? | AspenTimes.com

Roger Marolt: So, now we are just big enough?

Roger Marolt
Cluster Phobic
Roger Marolt

Can we please not call Snowmass Village “just big enough”? It sounds like some people want to adopt the phrase as our town’s slogan, like Reno calling itself “The biggest little city in the world” or La Grange boasting that it had, “The best little whorehouse in Texas.”

My humble opinion is that “just big enough” tries just a little too hard to put a positive spin on a new reality many of us feel we simply have to get used to. Remember when Aspen Skiing Co. came up with “uncrowded by design”?

That one came on the heels of a pretty severe national economic recession in the early ’90s that neatly coincided with statistics indicating that the U.S. ski industry hadn’t grown in almost two decades. The slopes around here were empty for a couple of winters. That slogan tried to imply that the desolation was planned. It was supposed to entice new visitors to come on out and enjoy the serenity we had engineered for them.

The unintended irony was that it made no sense to bring lots of visitors into a place that you had purposefully designed to be uncrowded. The slogan has been a enduring inside joke ever since.

“Just big enough” implies that, before Base Village, our town was too small. I have always assumed those were the good ‘ol days, but I’m sure somebody has sales tax statistics or the results of some visitors’ exit poll to prove they weren’t.

There is a name for people like me. I believe it is “yokel.” And, we have a name for Base Village and it is “a cluster,” a slogan that makes it sound like the three dry-docked cruise ships that now obscure our views of the mountains as we drive into town, such as it is, was all part of our perfect plan for this place and the culmination of our collective vision makes me feel like I am getting a tad car sick each time I go through the roundabout.

More wishfully, the slogan implies that we won’t get any bigger now that we have just added a million square feet of new development to our once “too small to thrive” community. It provides false hope that somehow we have now managed to knock the development genie on the head, shove him back in the bottle, and stuff the cork back in it to seal it up forever.

Let me put it this way, if we start telling everyone we are “just big enough” now, what are we going to tell them when the fourth and fifth beached cruise ships of Base Village arrive or when The Center redevelopment pops up like a pimple on our cheek? I think we are setting ourselves up for embarrassment.

There is no realistic way we can live up to such a static statement about our existence. The village is not going to stay this same “perfect size forever.” The most popular scenario, of course, is that it will continue to grow. We may even get a Base Village East at Two Creeks someday soon, sorry to suggest it.

But, there also is a chance that we shrink. I mean, if you really consider it all and that global warming is real, Snowmass Village will shrink, if not in our lifetimes, then certainly during our proverbial great-grandchildren’s lives. Think how hard they will be laughing at us about this “just big enough” thing when this place is a ghost town in the middle of a high desert.

All said, I think “just big enough” sets us up for huge failure. It is wishful thinking, rationalization and an afterthought all shoved into a shoebox and wrapped with a paper grocery sack in the car on the way to a birthday party you had forgotten about until your neighbor called and asked if you wanted to carpool to it. When the recipient opens this gift in front of everyone, there is bound to be a wilted piece of lettuce or the stem of an apple that falls into their lap giving away the haste in which the offering was put together. Sure, we’ll all give it a nervous laugh, but still it’s embarrassing.

This doesn’t mean that we can’t have a slogan. I’m only pointing out that slogans are a dime a dozen and that you usually “get what you pay for.” I recommend we go with one that is less contrived and more from the heart. The one that will stick is the one we already clench silently in our cerebral fists. For me it that would be, “Enough already!”

Roger Marolt would rather not look at Base Village through rose-colored glasses. He can only start to make sense of it when it looks all blurry. Email him at roger@maroltllp.com.


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