| AspenTimes.com

Joshua Aaron Gitlitz

Joshua Aaron Gitlitz, 34, of Aspen, CO, passed away on November 20, 2019. Born January 30, 1985 in Denver, CO, he moved to Aspen at a young age with his family. The eldest of three, he will be remembered lovingly by his mother Louise, father David, and his sisters Alexandra and Natasha. Truly a beautiful soul, he was loved by everyone. He attended Aspen Country Day School and was a graduate of St. Marks School in Massachusetts where he was the captain of the golf and squash teams. Josh went on to graduate from Tulane University and received his MBA from Columbia University. After college he started his career in finance, trading, and wealth management. A lover of travel and adventure, he attended Semester at Sea while in college and lived in New York City, Singapore, and San Francisco. In his world, Josh gets to eat all the candy he wants (especially Sour Patch Kids), sleep until his heart is content, be warm in his surroundings, and job security is exactly 110 percent. As Josh’s bonus, we all get to be here together, remember the good times, and cherish and love him unconditionally. Josh is watching over all his loved ones. Josh is our guardian; our light. Services to honor his life will take place at Red Butte Cemetery on Cemetery Lane in Aspen at 1p.m. today. In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in Josh’s memory to the Josh Gitlitz Scholarship Fund at Aspen Country Day School: www.aspencountryday.org/memorial

Mark ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson

Mark “Wilko” Wilkinson, 55, of Sydney, Australia, and Aspen died peacefully of natural causes on Nov. 11 in Aspen.

Mark brought passion and integrity to all that he did. A motor mechanic by trade, a bus driver by choice and a snowboard instructor and coordinator just because. He loved rugby and refereed with gusto, rode a motor bike on many great adventures, flew to concerts all over the world at a moment’s notice, knew the best seat and best route on every plane in the fleet, cooked a lamb roast and potatoes with the best of them and wore his Akubra with flair. He was an Aussie bloke to his core.

He had a booming voice and a big presence but it was in the quiet moments behind the scenes where he changed lives through his ability to connect and care so deeply. With his little smirk and devilish ways he is now reunited with his canine partner in crime. He will be deeply missed but his spirit and lessons will live on in so many.

He is survived by his treasured partner and best friend Annette. Loved brother of Anne (John), Helen (Greg, deceased), Chris (Kate), Paul (Catherine) and Tim (Cheryl). Adored by the Sherriff family, nieces and nephews, and friends and family all around the world.

Mark is now back home in Australia for a family funeral. A memorial in Aspen is planned for the afternoon of Dec. 15 at Buttermilk. More details to follow.

More wag

Less bark

Roger Marolt: Thankful for the opening of ski season and…

I just completed my 20,062nd day on Earth. Put away your calculators — I’ll be 58 in March. The amazing thing is that in every single one of those days, I had everything I needed. The proof of this is that I am here. It’s as obvious as it is overlooked. The many things that I wanted or thought I needed that I didn’t get are rendered completely superfluous in retrospect. I am thankful for this perspective.

It would be impossible to recall all the things I worried about in this accumulation of time, but it is easy to remember those that actually came to pass. I can do it on one hand. I suppose the more you worry the more you increase the chances of more bad things never happening and then can brag that you are lucky, but I have learned you are better off to just not worry so much to begin with.

Oddly, if not all that surprising, the things I feared most that eventually did happen ended up not being as bad as I had feared. I am thankful for this. Even the tragic losses, after swirling the idea of them around in my uneasy stomach, I can, with trepidation, hoping not to conjure their reality again, be thankful for them, too. What I felt at the time were things that would destroy me ended up getting forged into the strongest links in this chain of days that is my life.

For all the dreams I came up with and pursued passionately that did not come true, I am thankful. I know now that, had those dreams come true, I would have missed out on the most incredible things in my life that I did not yet have the capacity to even imagine. I never set out to meet my wife. She appeared one day and I know not how she ended up in the middle of my path to somewhere else, but this twist continues to be a perpetual blessing. She is the one for me. I am thankful for the sudden turn at that sign that read, “This way to the place where one plus one equals infinity.”

Who could ever explain what having a child is like? I am blessed with three and what they have provided is pure nourishment for my soul that keeps me growing. What can’t be explained, through thousands of family pictures or words coming straight from the heart through my tightened throat while tears fill my eyes, is a gift beyond any measurement.

I am thankful for the back injuries that could have taken my life, but only took away skiing, biking and running for a while. During one, I dreamt and literally saw my life held in the brilliant hand of God. I awoke physically cured and spiritually ignited. The other time, I moped around the house feeling sorry for myself until I got to know my family. It was then I vowed to be the best dad ever. I understood this could not happen without being the best husband, so I took that on, too. Of course I am neither of these things, but declaring this intent to my family changed everything, especially when they saw I was serious. I grow ever richer in the abundance of their love.

I am thankful for the end of my father’s life coming far sooner than expected and for my mother continuing to live a long, fruitful life. In both circumstances I continue to see more clearly the depths of each’s character and my love for them growing every day all the more. Through them I understand how precious each moment of life on this planet is and deepen my faith that the preciousness of eternity is far greater.

I am thankful for my siblings in whom I see a reflection of myself off our shared experiences in our lives together spanning longer than any friendship. It is not our blood that is thick, as they say, rather the fabric of extended family we weave so intricately together as to form a huge, soft blanket that warms me in the dead of night.

I am thankful for my friends who will knock me down to Earth in moments of treasured camaraderie and then compassionately lift me up when I trip on my own.

I am thankful for this mysteriously inexplicable world full of joys and sorrows, good and evil, order and chaos and the string of opportunities throughout all my days to try to make it better, always being lured to do so with the sense that this is never a wrong choice, whether I indulge in it or not. While not always doing what is right, I still know what is right and so preserve the chance of getting there.

This is my prayer of Thanksgiving.

Roger Marolt thinks we should vote to make every day Thanksgiving Day before we even consider rolling back Daylight Savings Time. Email at roger@maroltllp.com.

Sherry brothers relishing chance to play alongside each other for Basalt football

Being two years apart, the opportunity was never there for the Sherry brothers to play with each other on the football field. That is, until this season came along.

Daniel Sherry, a senior, starts at center for the Basalt High School football team. Sam Sherry, a sophomore, is beginning to really make a name for himself at linebacker for the Longhorns. Getting to be there for each other is something both players haven’t taken for granted.

“We are normally on opposite sides of the ball, so I get to watch him play every play and he’s the one I zone in on. When he makes a play, it’s just awesome,” Daniel said. “We’ve never ended up on the same team. So this year has been special.”

The Sherry brothers have been an important piece for No. 9 seed Basalt (9-2) having made a surprising run to the Class 2A state semifinals for the first time. BHS will host No. 4 Delta (10-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday with the winner headed to the state championship game a week later in Pueblo.

Neither Daniel nor Sam had seen much varsity action before this season. Daniel had to bide his time for three seasons before an opportunity finally opened up to start on the offensive line, but that’s also one of the reasons BHS coach Carl Frerichs is so fond of the center.

“He gave it everything he had for four years, but he waited his time,” Frerichs said. “And now it’s finally his time, but it’s not like he ever complained or ever questioned. He just did what was asked and now he’s getting that opportunity to be our starting center.”

Sam claims he was given all of one play on varsity as a freshman last fall. As a sophomore, he’s become one of the team’s best defensive players. According to MaxPreps, he leads the Longhorns with 73 total tackles. He’s also a standout baseball player and is considered the most athletic of the three Sherry siblings.

“He is really good and sometimes it makes me feel less good, but it’s whatever,” Daniel joked. “Sam’s team always wins. He hasn’t lost on a football team until he got to high school, so it’s really cool he gets to continue that and that we, in our rebuilding year, get to keep going and fight on.”

Daniel said he is “more of a school person” when compared with Sam. Like his sister, Megan, who graduated in 2016, once was, Daniel is one of Basalt’s head students this fall. He’s always gravitated toward leadership roles and was happy to follow in his sister’s footsteps in that position. Daniel plans to pursue an engineering degree after he graduates.

“He got the smarts. Megan got smarts, too. But, I mean, I’m not stupid,” Sam jokingly said. “He also helps me with homework a ton, because he’s really smart. I just try to live up to his standards, school-related. I’m going to have to go out for (head student). I don’t want to be the sibling that doesn’t do it.”

Saturday will mark Basalt’s first time playing in a 2A semifinal in school history, a feat to be matched by only a trip to the 1A semis in 1979. The Longhorns have never played in a state championship game, although the Sherry brothers are hopeful to finally help get them there.

The last time Basalt played Delta was on Oct. 18, a 35-6 loss for the Longhorns.

“First game was terrible. I’m excited to come get revenge. We’re all going to sell out. I know that,” Sam said. “This year it’s been fun to be able to step up and be able to kind of prove myself. This team is just great to be a part of and is this community.”

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Aspen’s Davenport, Bleiler react to death of snowboarding icon Jake Carpenter

Jake Burton Carpenter shaped snowboarding into what it is today, and, says Aspen skiing icon Chris Davenport, he saved the ski industry by showing it what it could become.

One of the most influential people in the snowsports world, Carpenter died Wednesday night due to complications from his ongoing bout with testicular cancer. He was 65.

“Jake’s whole vision was to create products to allow people to set themselves free in the mountains,” Davenport said Thursday. “In the late ’80s and more in the early ’90s, skiing itself needed a serious kick in the ass. The sport was stale. I won’t say dead, but we owe Jake Carpenter a gigantic debt of gratitude for jumpstarting the ski industry.”

Carpenter, the man behind Burton Snowboards, was the guiding light for the ski and snowboard industry during that time. If anyone can be credited for making the sports fun and hip and bringing up the next generation, it was Carpenter.

“Throughout snowboarding history there has been a common thread, and one of them is Burton,” Aspen snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler said. “Jake was a luminary in a sport and an industry where the spirit of it has always been innovative. And for him to innovate within that sport itself, it just shows a lot about who he was as a human being. It’s definitely a great loss for snowboarding.”

Bleiler, a four-time X Games Aspen gold medalist in the halfpipe and 2006 Olympic silver medalist, was never a Burton rider, but had a front-row seat throughout most of her career to the Burton brand.

Davenport’s connection to the Carpenter family runs deep. His wife, Jesse, grew up as neighbors to Jake and his wife, Donna, in Stowe, Vermont.

The Davenports knew the family well, and attended their annual fall party in Vermont more often than not. Despite being a professional skier, Chris Davenport’s admiration for the Carpenters and what they built matches that of any snowboarder.

“The thing that really resonates with me about Jake is he stayed so true to the passion of riding the mountains,” Davenport said. “Regardless of skiing or snowboarding, he loved being out there and he loved creating products that made people happy.”

Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards in 1977. While Sherman Poppen is credited with inventing the snowboard — he made the “Snurfer” in the 1960s — it was Carpenter who is largely credited with taking the sport forward.

Only a few days ago, Miah Wheeler stumbled across a relatively unspoiled ’80s-era Burton Performer Elite snowboard in a Carbondale store. The longtime snowboard program director for the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club, Wheeler, whose go-to board is a modern Burton, had to scoop it up.

Now AVSC’s development director, Wheeler was born in 1976 and fondly remembers Carpenter’s constant push to make snowboarding into the sport it is today.

“He was a snowboarder through and through,” Wheeler said. “Snowboarding and skateboarding certainly have that anarchic feel to it. When FIS was pushing to get snowboarding into the Olympics, it felt like they were asking us to change our identity and who we really were. He really pushed back against that.”

Carpenter also made the push to get snowboarding into the ski resorts. Even Aspen Mountain once scoffed at the idea of allowing snowboarders on its chairlifts, with Aspen Highlands being among the first to open its runs to both, prior to being acquired by Aspen Skiing Co.

Without Carpenter and his passion, snowboarding — and possibly skiing — may not have survived into this century.

“He made his money and he made his impact with a snowboard company, but his legacy is so much greater than that. He propelled the ski industry,” Davenport said. “He’s one of the real icons who is a total legend. He basically built a sport from scratch. How do you get any bigger than that?”

acolbert@aspentimes.com

Aspen ski racer Wiley Maple prepares for another season on the World Cup

Wiley Maple has had plenty of reason to quit and he knows the end is closer than the beginning. But the 29-year-old Aspen ski racer also believes he still has enough left in the tank to keep chasing his dreams on the “white circus” that is the World Cup.

“As soon as the effort-to-fun ratio starts changing, that’s when it probably becomes less worth it,” Maple said. “Last year since I felt so healthy and was skiing pretty well and just felt like I got robbed, a big part of continuing to go is feeling like I haven’t even slightly reached my potential. So I keep fighting for the results and the feeling that you want to feel on a World Cup downhill. And it’s still fun, so that’s probably the biggest part.”

Maple, who finished 30th in the 2018 Olympic downhill, is once again not officially on the U.S. Ski Team but nonetheless is set to embark on another World Cup season. He made his World Cup debut in 2011 and has had a tumultuous but wildly entertaining run since. Injuries have cost him a couple of seasons in there, his relationship with the national team has been on and off, and luck hasn’t always been on his side.

Yet, Maple still finds he has plenty of fight in him. His 2018-19 season included plenty of good skiing, but the results were rarely there. His only World Cup points came when he finished 28th in a downhill in Val Gardena, Italy. But Maple also feels he wasn’t that far off the pace, had he only gotten a few more breaks.

“For the most part I was skiing pretty well last year,” Maple said. “Pretty dry year for me. But the skiing was there. Luck wasn’t on my side, it seemed.”

Maple’s season ended with the traumatic loss of his ski technician and best friend Sam Coffey, who died in May while vacationing in Mexico. Coffey likely would have joined Maple on the World Cup for a second season this winter, but instead Maple has turned to fellow Colorado ski racer Will Gregorak to aid him. Gregorak is a former U.S. Ski Team member who last competed in 2015.

Still, Maple knows Coffey’s influence won’t be far away.

“I think about him every day still,” Maple said. “He’s going to be on my skis. He’s part of my skis, because he put in some of the work for those skis, and obviously he’s part of me because he helped create who I am.”

Nothing is guaranteed for Maple this season. He plans to head to Lake Louise and Beaver Creek over the coming weeks for the season’s first speed races, although he’ll have to earn a starting spot during training for each race.

He’s spent the past few weeks training at both Copper Mountain with the rest of the U.S. Ski Team and at the Stapleton Training Center at Aspen Highlands. Maple said he’s happy with how training has gone, but won’t know how that will carry over to actual races until he slides out of the starting gate.

“It’s hard to know where you are at, just based off the training camps and stuff,” Maple said. “Some of the training camps go really well and you feel like you are totally in there, then others you just seem a little bit behind or whatever. It depends on where you are training and who you are training with.”

Before Maple heads to his first races, he will host a fundraising event from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Red Onion in Aspen. There will be a silent auction with roughly 40 items to bid on that will help fund Maple’s latest World Cup endeavor.

acolbert@aspentimes.com

‘Million Dollar Quartet,’ Village People, Crystal Palace among newly announced Wheeler Opera House winter events

The Wheeler Opera House announced its full roster of winter events Thursday evening, adding concerts, theater, magic and film events to its previously unveiled December and Aspen Laugh Festival lineups.

Newly announced concerts in the lineup include the ’70s pop icons The Village People on Feb. 15 ($68-$128); rock band Guster, performing an acoustic show on March 4 ($39); a Classics Albums Live production of the Beatles’ “Abbey Road” on March 25 ($45); the Queen tribute act Killer Queen on March 27 ($50-$65); and the Austin-based folk trio Steel Betty on March 29 ($15/free for Wheeler Wins members). The nonprofit Wheeler Associates also will present a performance by country great and Aspen favorite Robert Earl Keen on Feb. 26 ($40-$50).

On the comedy front, the “Chelsea Lately” alum and “Champions” star Fortune Feimster will headline on Jan. 11 ($35/free for Wheeler Wins members), stand-up legend Paula Poundstone will return March 12 ($48) and “America’s Got Talent” star Piff the Magic Dragon plays March 13 ($40).

Following last winter’s popular reunion, the cast of Aspen’s iconic Crystal Palace dinner theater will return to the Wheeler stage for two nights on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 ($50).

The Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “Million Dollar Quartet” will come to the theater on March 6 ($65). Stars of Broadway’s “Jersey Boys,” “Motown: The Musical” and “A Bronx Tale” will be featured in “The Doo Wop Project,” playing Feb. 8 ($45-$50). The theater also will host the Metropolitan Opera’s “Met in HD” live broadcasts in January through March.

Family-friendly events include the two-person circus and variety at The Great DuBois: Masters of Variety, recently featured in the film “The Greatest Showman,” on Jan. 10 ($17.50 child/$25 adult); Cirque Zuma Zuma on Feb. 16 ($28 child/$45 adult); the fairy tale production “Wilde Creatures” on March 7 ($17.50 child/$25 adult); and the Enchantment Theatre Company’s “Peter Rabbit Tales” on March 19 (17.50 child/$25 adult)

Magicians and illusionists in the lineup include Justin Williams, star of the Netflix series “Magic for Humans,” on March 21 ($40) along with the previously announced Adam Trent show Dec. 29 ($25 child/$50 adult).

The theater will produce a winter edition of its Aspen Mountain Film Festival, as well, with two days of adventure film screenings Feb. 28 and 29 ($20). Additional adventure film programs include “The Longest Wave” on March 20 ($15) and An Evening of Ocean Film on March 22 ($15),

The historic theater unveiled the lineup to its Wheeler Wins members Thursday night and opened early members-only ticket sales immediately. Tickets go on sale to the public Monday at noon at the Wheeler box office and aspenshowtix.com.

“Year after year, we strive to bring the best lineup to our community,” Wheeler director Gena Buhler said in the announcement. “This year is no different — a combination of the types of programming you know and love, mixed in with (what we hope will be) new favorites like Aspen Mountain Film Festival Winter Edition, and a Tony award-winning Broadway musical.”

These newly announced shows come in addition to previously announced events including “A Very Electric Christmas” (Dec. 8), Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy: A Celtic Family Christmas (Dec. 19), “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas Live On Stage” (Dec. 22), “ABBA Mania” (Dec. 25), “Best of SNL” Featuring Alex Moffat and Mikey Day (Dec. 27), the New Year’s Eve celebration featuring Yonder Mountain String Band (Dec. 31) as well as next year’s Aspen Laugh Festival (Feb. 18-22) headlined by “Daily Show” host Trevor Noah.

The full lineup winter is online at wheeleroperahouse.com.

A Wine Destination Turns 30: The Little Nell Reaches a Milestone

It was late November 1989, and Aspen was full of anticipation for the coming ski season. The Silver Queen Gondola had opened two seasons before, taking skiers to the top of Aspen Mountain in 14 minutes — cutting the previous base-to-peak time in half. There was controversy as the community fought over a measure to ban the sale of fur. In New York, a developer by the name of Trump was planning his Christmas vacation to Aspen. One that would include both his wife, Ivana, and his girlfriend, Marla Maples.

And at the base of Aspen Mountain, a new hotel was preparing to welcome its first guests for Thanksgiving. The Little Nell, a 92-room, five-star luxury hotel designed by the local architectural firm Hagman Yaw, opened Nov. 23, 1989. While it has changed many things in Aspen and the world of skiing, setting a standard in ski-in-ski-out luxury hotels that is mirrored at virtually all top-tier U.S. resorts today, it is its role as a premier wine destination that distinguishes it from other mountainside properties.

Over the last three decades, The Little Nell (TLN) has become a revered destination for a number of different wine constituencies. Its Wine Spectator Grand Award, one of fewer than 100 granted worldwide, has made it a must-stop for traveling wine connoisseurs since it was first awarded to the hotel in 1997. A staggering run of master sommeliers in the wine program (there have been 10 who have worked the floor in the hotel’s various restaurants) have made it the “Cradle of the Masters.” Those who aspire to be players in the wine community regard TLN as an ultimate proving ground and, for years, the Court of Master Sommeliers held both their educational events and final exams in TLN meeting rooms and restaurants.

Then there are the winemakers themselves, many whom have made the pilgrimage from around the globe to pour their wines for guests at TLN over the years. Peter Gago, the winemaker at Penfolds in Australia and the custodian of the famed Grange, has brought his bottlings from the Barossa. Vintage Dom Pérignon has been popped in TLN Wine Room by the Champagne’s former cellar master, Richard Geoffroy. And this past year saw the new world of minimalist wines represented when Raj Parr poured pinot noirs from the Sta. Rita Hills and Oregon.

And I nostalgically recall a La Paulée des Neiges wine event in 2013, held in the newly christened Element 47 restaurant, that saw a passel of Burgundy’s finest producers, including Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comtes Lafon; Etienne Grivot of Domaine Jean Grivot; Jean-Pierre de Smet of Domaine de L’Arlot; Christophe Roumier of Domaine Georges Roumier; Pierre Meurgey of Maison Champy; and, from Crozes-Hermitage, Alain Graillot, pour their wines for an elite clientele. The accompanying meal was prepared by famed French chef Daniel Boulud. Sigh.

Pretty heady stuff. But why has this small boutique hotel sitting at 8,000 feet, miles from the nearest major city, become such a go-to for the wine world?

The answer traces back to the financial commitment made by the owners, the Crown family of Chicago and Aspen, to build a cellar that would rival the world’s best. That cellar, really not much more than a glorified, chilled storage room down a steep flight of stairs for the early years, grew under the stewardship of a cadre of young, energetic sommeliers.

Somms like Richard Betts, Bobby Stuckey, Jonathan Pullis, Sabato Sagaria and Carlton McCoy channeled their passion for wine into a place that holds over 20,000 bottles, serving a wine list of over 100 pages. Their commitment to service emphasizes a tradition that every bottle poured receives appropriate attention.

Today the wine program is under the auspices of newly named wine director Chris Dunaway, who looks forward to continuing the legacy of The Little Nell as a wine mecca. He will also oversee the wine cellar room that morphed into a destination speakeasy under past wine director Carlton McCoy.

On Friday, Nov. 29, The Little Nell is hosting a celebratory 30th anniversary dinner with the title “Dining Through the Decades” to commemorate its special culinary and wine history. Executive chef Matt Zubrod will be joined by chef George Mahaffey who, during his tenure at what was then called “The Restaurant at the Little Nell,” won a James Beard Award as Outstanding Chef: Southwest in 1997.

“When I arrived in October of 1992, The Nell was yet in its infancy,” Mahaffey recalled about his experience there. “I think that, all in all, we, a team of 300, did well. I have memories of hard work, and of our collective brilliance, of personal failures, and memories of laughter and tears, and of the many guests who also helped to make it so special.”

Pouring wines alongside Dunaway will be Stuckey, who worked with Mahaffey at TLN in the ’90s before going on to open Frasca Food and Wine in Boulder, his Friuli-inspired wine centric restaurant that has also won a Beard Award for Best Wine service. He is looking forward to his return, stating, “I am so honored to be able to be back to The Little Nell for their 30th anniversary. Twenty-five years ago, when I went to work at The Little Nell, Eric Calderon, Connie Thornburg and chef George Mahaffey created an environment that created the food and wine and hospitality professional that I became. That era created many things about me that I pull on every day. I’m so excited to be back for the dinner.”

There will be stories. Wine will flow. And just like in 1989, everyone will be full of anticipation for another ski season to remember.

REI Ups ‘Black Friday’ Ante

For the fifth year running, REI will close its stores and pay all of its 13,000-plus employees to “Opt Outside” for Black Friday, which is the day after Thanksgiving.

But the company now says it — and its members — need to do more.

REI announced new commitments to reduce its environmental impact. And it’s asking members to pledge to follow a 52-week “Opt to Act” plan for the year to come.

REI wants to mobilize its members, in conjunction with its employees, to take action throughout the next year. The Opt to Act plan provides resources for members to find local cleanup efforts across the country and commit to simple acts that reduce individuals’ carbon footprint.

Click here to read the full story from Gear Junkie

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com

Mountain Mayhem: AltsGiving

In the spirit of giving, Alt/Aspen, a new co-working startup and luxury ski locker room, hosted an open house Friday, Nov. 15. As a play on their name and the upcoming holiday, the after-work reception was dubbed AltsGiving and served as a gathering for the community to tour the newly renovated space at a fundraiser for Mountain Rescue Aspen.

I first caught wind of this new business over the Food & Wine Classic in June when CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg recorded his “Travel Today” podcast there. I’d also seen the signage and construction, but didn’t anticipate the impressive outcome until arriving at the party last Friday.

Commanding the majority of the second floor of the 520 E. Cooper Ave. building, the bright and spacious environs feature private offices and conference rooms toward the back and sleek ski locker room facing the street.

For the AltsGiving event, owner Wit Solberg greeted guests who enjoyed hors d’oeuvres from Topper’s Catering; drinks poured by one of Aspen’s top bartenders, Alex Guevara; and bite-sized, boozy cupcakes from Aspen Cupcake. DJ Stanton provided the beats and Maggie Silvers captured mementos with her photo booth.

A $5 donation was requested as admission, though most added more to the collection jar. Incentive was to support the worthy cause, as well as a chance to win from a tall stack of prizes, including restaurant gift cards, ski and snowboarding gear, a bountiful gift basket from Tall Fello Limoncello, a yearlong lease on a luxe ski locker and more.

Cheers to this new business and the inclusive nature of starting an early Thanksgiving tradition!