| AspenTimes.com

Season pass prices for 2022-23 unveiled by Aspen Skiing Co.

The best deals for season passes to ski and ride the four lift-serviced mountains in the Aspen area will be available for the next month.

The Aspen Skiing Co. announced Tuesday that its Premier Pass, which comes with unlimited skiing and no blackout dates, is now available for $1,699 to chamber members if it’s purchased by the super-early deadline of Sept. 16. Non-chamber members will be charged $2,599 for the same pass if it is bought by the same date. Chamber members are considered workers in the Roaring Fork Valley whose employers belong to their local chamber of commerce.

This year’s chamber rate for the Premier Pass through mid-September is $100 more than the $1,599 for the 2021-22 season, but $100 less than the same deal offered for the 2020-21 season.

Premier Passes for seniors are priced at $1,939, while children, teenagers and college students are charged $779. Premier Pass holders over 70 years old pay $629.

Along with access to Aspen Highlands, Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk and Snowmass, the Premier Pass also comes with an uphill pass, unlimited summer gondola access and discounts on ski and snowboard lessons, equipment rentals and meals. Adult and senior Premier Pass holders also receive a complimentary Ikon Base Pass, which gives them unlimited access to 13 ski areas and up to five days of skiing and riding at another 30 destinations throughout the world.

Other options for the upcoming season include the Alpine Pass, which can be used for one or two days a week. The one-day pass goes for $1,049 with the chamber discount through Sept. 16; the two-day pass is $1,469 for chamber members if they buy it by Sept. 16. Non-chamber members pay $1,239 for the one-day pass and $1,819 for the two-day version if they’re bought by the early-bird deadline. Alpine Pass holders also can add more days by paying one-half of the going single-day pass rate.

The Valley Pass also is back, which entitles Roaring Fork Valley area residents to seven days on the hill. The pass runs for $444 if bought by Sept. 16. More days can be added by paying 30% of the going single-day pass rate.

The Uphill Pass, which debuted last season, is back with the same $69 price tag, with $10 going to Mountain Rescue Aspen. The pass allows users to hike or skin up Skico’s lift-served areas during designated hours. Like last year, users will be required to wear their Uphill Passes on their sleeves so they are clearly visible.

Passes are available for purchase at aspensnowmass.com or at Skico’s ticket offices. The Aspen Snowmass app also can be used to expedite the process.

After Sept. 16, Skico will put higher pass prices in place until Dec. 2, when the company will set the final prices for the remainder of the season.

Snowmass and Aspen Mountain are scheduled to open Nov. 24. Aspen Highlands gets going Dec. 10, and Buttermilk’s season starts Dec. 17.

The upcoming season will mark Mike Kaplan’s last one as Skico CEO. He expressed excitement about World Cup skiing coming back to Aspen Mountain in March and the renovation at the base of Buttermilk.

“The anticipation for winter really kicks in when season passes go back on sale,” he said in a statement. “While it can be hard to match the excitement of an anniversary season like last year’s 75th, we look forward to more big things on the horizon this winter, including the return of World Cup racing on Ajax as well as an all-new Buttermilk base area. As I approach my 30th and final season with Aspen Skiing Company, I’m as excited as ever to see what winter brings, and to make the most of my 100 days on the hill.” 

Show respect by covering your face

I made my weekly trip to the Basalt post office the other day. I encountered two separate men as I was leaving with my mail. Neither of the gentlemen wore a mask or any kind of cover on their face, and did not give me a safe distance between us.

As a three-time cancer survivor with health issues, I felt greatly disrespected by these two men, my fellow members of the Basalt community. I am making a plea for all the members of the community of Basalt to follow the guidelines for keeping people safe. I usually go to the post office before daylight or after dark to keep myself safe, but the cold weather pushed me to try during daylight hours. I shouldn’t have to slink around in the dark to keep myself safe. Wearing a mask is a simple thing to do for you to respect neighbors. It’s all about respect for every community member.

Gail Owens


Praying for Trump haters

This letter is written from deep in the heart! I want to express the heartache that I experienced Saturday.

We have lived in our beautiful peace-filled Aspen for 50 years. John is teaching his 50th year at Aspen High School. We have always felt the freedom to be who we are and to choose by our own research and not be beat up by others.

I was proudly part of the joy-filled fun Trump Train. All was OK until we drove through our sweet Aspen town and people were flipping us off and yelling obscenities at us. My window was open and one young lady called me a “f—ing b—-.” I continued to say “We love you.” We do. It is a choice between love and hate, control and freedom of choice.

We would never hate anyone for their choice. We have prayed since the beginning of this pandemic for truth and healing for everyone in the whole wide world — yes, that’s a lot of people. God is that big. We know that he ultimately puts people in places of authority and we are trusting that is how it will be this time. It is up to each of us to search our hearts and be sorry for the wrongs we have done and the things we have not done that we should have. God sent his son to pay the price for those very things. We are humble and unconditionally loving of all. Without this we would be captives. We forgive those who were cursing us, we bless them and pray for them. Let’s live together in love.

John and Pam Fisher


Local artist crossed line with ad

On Oct. 30, a local “artist” launched his latest creative endeavor with an ad in The Aspen Times depicting a stern-looking evangelical Christian straight out of Grant Wood’s “American Gothic,” holding up a Bible, with a website address where copies of said Bible might be purchased if, in fact, this were an actual commercial or evangelical endeavor.

But, of course, it wasn’t, being instead a parodic, political condemnation of what he regards as a disingenuous “photo op” by President Donald Trump in front of St. John’s Church on Lafayette Square on June 1.

For no explicable reason, however, our “artist” chose to stage his own photo op in front of St. Mary Catholic Church on Main Street, perhaps because it is located conveniently across the street from his workplace. In any event, he associated the church both with “fundamentalist” Protestantism and with a political position regarding the president.

Perhaps he has equal contempt for Christians of every stripe, assuming that they are all alike. In that assumption he may be right, since I imagine most Christians regarded the president’s gesture as a “Lift high the Cross,” “Onward, Christian soldiers” kind of response to the current Marxist assault on Christianity and the civilization that it created. We have all seen enough of missions and churches set ablaze, and statues of saints toppled and defaced.

But where we see beauty and inspiration, our “artist” sees only backwardness. At the very least, he owes the St. Mary Parish an apology, as does this paper for running an insensitive ad that insults several segments of our local population. Someone should have known better.

Chad Klinger

Snowmass Village

Mitsch Bush and Hick for Colorado

I am writing to urge you to vote for Diane Mitsch Bush as our 3rd Congressional District representative. She is focused on issues that affect Coloradans, especially on the Western Slope. Affordable health care is at the top of the list. She will fight for us to lower premiums, deductibles and prescription drug prices. She will work to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions and funding of rural health care clinics, and will support expanded substance/opioid abuse prevention and treatment programs.

Her opponent, Lauren Boebert, has no plan to address these issues.

Let’s elect Diane, an experienced representative for CD3. Serving in Congress is a job for a person that has knowledge of the job and their constituents, not someone who sides with conspiracy theorists and disregards law and order like her opponent.

I also encourage you to vote for John Hickenlooper as our U.S. senator. His opponent, Cory Gardner, has disregarded many requests for in-person town halls across the state prior to COVID-19. It’s not as if he wasn’t in our valley; he was, but just for photo ops for himself. Hick may not be a slick-talking politician like Gardner, but he is thoughtful and respectful. Gardner has unsuccessfully tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act repeatedly, which would leave many Colorado residents without health care coverage for pre-existing conditions, coverage for adult children up to age 27 on parents’ plans and coverage for people that may have met their lifetime maximum coverage amounts. Hickenlooper will protect health care for all of us.

Please join me in voting for Diane for Congress and Hick for Senate. They both will stand up for Colorado, not special-interest groups.

Connie Overton


Trump’s mishandling of pandemic has cost too many lives

Donald Trump’s experience of having had and recovered from COVID-19 has absolutely no bearing on the experience of an average American. He was being tested on a regular basis, so his case was caught early. He did not have to find out how or where or what it might cost to have a test. He did not have to arrange for child care or take time off from work to try to get tested. He did not have to drive anywhere or wait in line, only to be told “we need to save the tests for people who really need them.”

Trump had access to the best doctors in the world. He was treated with multiple drugs, one of which is not available to you or me. The cost of his treatment and hospitalization, how he was going to pay for it, feed his family, or pay his rent never once had to cross his mind.

Regardless of what Trump’s propaganda machine is spewing, the facts don’t lie. Go to worldometers.com and see for yourself. We continue to be the country in the world where the most people are dying from COVID-19. This is intolerable. What has happened to our country?

We have lost more than 234,000 Americans. By comparison, 10,000 Canadians have died, 1,700 Japanese, 907 people in Australia, and 25 in New Zealand. Even in China, where the virus originated, only 4,600 have died. Unlike in the U.S., leaders of these countries enacted a cohesive, aggressive response to the pandemic.

Not only did Trump repeatedly lie to the American people and horribly mismanage the pandemic response, his politicization of this health issue has pitted us against each other. We so badly need someone in charge; an honest, empathetic leader who will give us the true facts, and lead us out of this mess.

Annette Roberts-Gray


Council thanks supporters

As we head toward the finish line for the election, I would like to thank the countless individuals who have supported and encouraged me to run for Pitkin County commissioner. Just as it takes a village to campaign for public office, once elected, it takes the collaboration of all the county commissioners in conjunction with staff to move policy forward and affect change.

I am honored, and humbled, to have the endorsement of both of our local newspapers. During this election campaign I have done my best to put forth my ideas and policy proposals for the future of our county, especially for the issues at the forefront of everyone’s mind: COVID-19, affordable housing, growth management, health insurance and climate change. If you haven’t had a chance, please visit my website to learn more: www.chris4pitkin.com

I promise I will work tirelessly as a public servant for the future of our community. I am asking for your support and your vote — and no matter who you choose at the ballot box, please remember to cast your vote by 7 p.m. on Election Day!

Chris Council

Snowmass Village

Child stands tall among leaders

Please vote for Steve Child, a very valuable and knowledgable member of our community.

He is the individual who supports our seniors, the environmentalists, the ranchers and farmers, the veterans and our weed board!

Steve has dedicated many hours during his tenure as a Pitkin County commissioner to fight against climate change, and to try to protect our future with snow and winter sports, which are extremely important to our economy, while also placing an emphasis on renewable energy and energy efficiency measures in county buildings and fleet.

Steve also believes in setting a high bar on International Energy Code for residential buildings and working with the city of Aspen on developing its greenhouse gas toolkit.

He also respects our environment by leading by example on his ranch and in his lifestyle.

We need someone with his knowledge and caliber of various assorted interests concerning various aspects of our community that make our life here so exemplary now and for the future.

I’ve had the privilege and honor to know Steve for years and he is worthy of our support, so please consider to re-elect Steve when voting your ballot.

Marie Kelly


Scott Bayens: What will we see when the smoke clears in Aspen-area real estate market?

Long before COVID, those of us in the real estate industry, as well as those who watch it, have been talking about this year’s election. Historically, market activity related to housing slows down every four years when the presidency is at stake. It’s essentially a predictable leading indicator and one with ramifications before, during and after the event.

After years of speculation and predictions on the part of the experts and pundits, this critically significant national referendum is finally upon us. Its outcome could be known this week or perhaps not for months. And that’s the thing. As uncomfortable as our collective anticipation has been, it’s fair to say the anxiety of what may be around the corner after election night is what’s really keeping us all up at night. It’s the ramp up to the ramp up. Can’t it just be over?

This year, like anything and everything related to this never-ending pandemic, it is anyone’s guess what might happen and how it will affect our local and national housing markets. We remain in uncharted territory. Not only has the proverbial crystal ball been shattered but if one dares to pick up the pieces, they risk cutting their hands. Looking back, so many of our predictions have proven inaccurate. Looking forward is nearly impossible, leaving us with the here and now.

We all know we are in historical times. There was the third quarter: $1.5 billion in sales in Q3 alone. Average sales prices in Aspen up nearly 70% from last year. The number of properties sold through September nearly doubled. Total sales volume up more than half a billion than this time a year ago. Not only are these are metrics extraordinary, they were unpredictable. No one would have ever guessed them, especially back in April, but there they are in black and white.

So what will the landscape look like after the smoke clears? Closing activity has remained robust through October, according to local title companies, but the MLS is beginning to show a shift in terms of fewer new listings and pending home sales. While that’s no reason for immediate alarm, the lack of available inventory now could be a hint of what could become the new normal in 2021, both here and in other markets considered “corona friendly.”

Regardless of what may or may not be for sale, one scenario is once we get past this period of uncertainly in Washington, and what appears to be another wave of disease, that we’ll see something similar to what we experienced after the lockdown of 2020. That is, pent-up demand, a continuation of the exodus from large cities, record activity and, yes, perhaps even higher prices. Per usual, the age-old marriage of supply and demand will be the key.

And what does the post-pandemic era look like as emerging trends come more into focus? According to Forbes online, look for more investors moving money away from the volatility of the stock market into tangible and more stable plays like real estate. Expect the phenomenon of “upsizing” to continue as buyers spend more time at home, and perhaps with extended family. Technology will continue to evolve and be integral to the buying and selling process, especially for a competitive real estate agent on top of their game. And those who own and rent property in desirable areas will thrive as more are choosing to rent than buy homes. With so many out of work, it remains to be seen if the rent gets paid.

As I’ve written previously, what we don’t know in this time is substantial — even overwhelming and unnerving. As we head into colder weather, shorter days, cold and flu season, the hairs on the back of our necks are back up. We all know we’re in for at least another year of this. So for now, we stick with what we know and what we can control.

We all remain locked into this carnival ride together, whether we like it or not. What we choose to do during this time, how we act and react and what opportunities and experiences we embrace or reject are sure to make all the difference this winter and into 2021. Wear a mask, wash your hands and stay safe.

Scott Bayens (GRI, ABR, CNE) is a realtor with Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty. Learn more about him and view current listings at www.aspendreamhome.com.

Gina Murdock: Path toward healing ourselves, our world is here if we choose it

I don’t buy into the world I see portrayed in the news and social media that we are all so different and against each other. It’s not our true nature. I know this. I think many of us know this, but we forget it. The division and separation feels so real right now, doesn’t it?

COVID-19 is again on the rise and the election is just a few days away. Fear, anxiety, blame, misinformation, separation and a sense of urgency are present like nothing I’ve felt before in my adult life. It’s scary.

When I need solace, wisdom, peace and truth I turn within and always find it there. The urge to go inward and block out the noise of so much discontentment and unease is so alluring to me right now. Yet, it seems necessary, like a calling deep inside, that I stay engaged, informed and active because there is so much on the line that people I admire and respect have fought for over the last several decades. What to do?

For me, it’s important to listen to both parts, going inward and engaging. The most important part of “activism” is that it is informed by that inner journey. In the stillness and silence I come to a place of knowing that we are one. What I see and hear on the news is not our true nature. It is just us playing roles that are meant to disintegrate and disgrace the “other.” It’s an illusion. A farce. And most of us have bought into it.

In the true world I believe there is equality, love, joy and peace because that is our essential nature. There is a resonance to this truth, a vibration of aliveness, a feeling of “yes!” This feeling and knowing is contagious. Unfortunately, so is the false world of separation and fear. We gravitate so easily to the separation and fear because it is in our wiring, our DNA, to survive. We are literally programmed to be tribal and to fear the “other” because survival often meant me or you, not me and you.

For many of us, we are at a point where we are beyond survival — we have food and shelter — so we can update our beliefs to come from a more evolved place where me and you is the norm. I am because you are. We can start to see and feel the interconnection of all things. In that place you would never hurt another or the planet because it is you.

Are you going to live as if we’re all one or as if everyone and everything is different and separate and therefore a threat to be conquered? I catch myself thinking righteous, judgmental, angry thoughts making others wrong and me right all the time. It’s so easy to get sucked into this game. This is my ego, wired to survive and win. There is another way to be, it’s acknowledging these thoughts, taking responsibility for them before I spew them on others, and making a CHOICE to come from another place. This is the path toward healing, making that choice every day, a thousand times a day. This is love in action.

Here is how author Andrew Harvey describes it:

“A spirituality that is only private and self-absorbed, one devoid of an authentic political and social consciousness, does little to halt the suicidal juggernaut of history. On the other hand, an activism that is not purified by profound spiritual and psychological self-awareness and rooted in divine truth, wisdom, and compassion will only perpetuate the problem it is trying to solve, however righteous its intentions. When, however, the deepest and most grounded spiritual vision is married to a practical and pragmatic drive to transform all existing political, economic and social institutions, a holy force — the power of wisdom and love in action — is born. This force I define as Sacred Activism.”

Can we shift from fear to love? Can we shift from angry activism toward the sacred? The choice is ours, every moment of every day.

Gina Murdock is the founder of the Aspen-based nonprofit Lead with Love. She writes a monthly column for The Aspen Times. For more information, go to ileadwithlove.org.