| AspenTimes.com

Young AVSC athletes given opportunity to be X Games forerunners

Tabatha Galicia is afraid to fall. It’s probably something the 14-year-old snowboarder from New Castle isn’t overly accustomed to, but considering the stage, it’s a valid fear. After all, it is X Games.

“It’s kind of stressful, because if you fall you know everyone is watching,” Galicia said before training Tuesday at Buttermilk. “I saw some fall yesterday. I’m still stressed out a little bit.”

She’s also incredibly excited for the opportunity. Galicia is one of the few forerunners at X Games Aspen this week, meaning she gets the opportunity to train with the women’s halfpipe snowboarding competitors when they do.

The Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club athlete also will be the first to drop into the pipe before Saturday’s finals as part of her forerunning duties.

“She is helping get the crowd stoked. She makes sure the cameramen and camerawomen know what they are doing and gets all the competitors super amped on her awesome snowboarding,” said Josh Ganz, Galicia’s AVSC coach. “She absolutely loves the halfpipe — that’s one of her favorite disciplines in snowboarding and she works really hard at it.”

There are a handful of young skiers and snowboarders at X Games this week who get to slip the courses — an effort to remove any of the small bumps and ruts that may impede the competitors — but only a small few get to be forerunners. Along with Galicia, 11-year-old Aspen freeskier Hunter Maytin will get to be a forerunner for the men’s halfpipe skiing competition, which includes local star and reigning X Games Aspen gold medalist Alex Ferreira.

“I’m a little nervous,” Maytin said. “It was great hanging out with everybody, getting to meet a bunch of new people.”

AVSC handpicked Maytin and Galicia for the honors this week as they demonstrated certain attributes, such as a passion for the sport, that it felt made them deserving of the role.

“With AVSC, we decide our forerunners based on age, ability and, even more importantly, if they demonstrate our core values: teamwork, integrity and commitment,” Ganz said, saying Galicia showed just that. “She is always trying to help out her teammates and stoke them up and offer suggestions when she can.”

Being a forerunner is a great opportunity for the young athletes. On top of it all, the extra practice sessions under the lights are a chance for them to experience all the glory of something like X Games.

“It’s extra training time, hanging out with the big guys and seeing how they approach it,” said Maytin’s AVSC coach, Greg Ruppel. “He is here to psyche up the crowd. Sometimes at the World Cup they use forerunners to kind of set a baseline, but here it’s just more to give a young kid an opportunity to come out and ski this venue and stoke up the crowd before the main guys get up there.”

The women’s snowboarding superpipe final with Galicia is scheduled for 8:45 p.m. Saturday, while the men’s skiing superpipe final is schedule for 7 p.m. Sunday with Maytin.


X Games notes: Parrot rallies back from cancer, Kenworthy talks Olympics

In the lead up to X Games Aspen 2019, Canadian snowboarder Max Parrot was hit with some life-changing news. The six-time gold medalist announced he had Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the blood cells.

Just like that, his season was over, and his future in doubt.

A year later, Parrot is cancer-free and ready for his X Games return.

“Knowing I wasn’t there last year and knowing that I’m actually here only a couple of months later after beating cancer, that still means a lot for me,” Parrot said during Wednesday’s introductory news conference at Buttermilk. “I actually feel very strong right now. I feel healthy. I feel energetic, as well. I’m getting back to my normal life, which feels amazing.”

Parrot is a 10-time X Games medalist, including five gold medals in big air. He also has four silver medals and Olympic silver from 2018. He’ll compete this week in both big air (finals are 8 p.m. Saturday) and slopestyle (qualifying is noon Thursday) in Aspen.

“The first time I showed up here was a huge dream for me and I remember that as if it was yesterday,” Parrot said. “I already knew how much I loved it, but you get to another level of how much you love doing a sport. Now every day on my board I enjoy it as much as I can. I’m just really positive about it.”


Austria’s Anna Gasser made history by becoming the first woman to land a cab triple underflip during a training session in 2018. The reigning Olympic big air gold medalist and five-time X Games medalist is thinking about bringing that trick to Aspen this week.

That is, if she can get enough speed in the big air contest.

“It would be a big dream of mine to show it here. It’s the biggest stage to show it,” Gasser said. “I never thought I couldn’t do it. It’s been a goal of mine. Snowboarding is all about feeling and at that moment I just felt it.”

Gasser’s lone Aspen gold came in big air in 2018. She’ll be a contender in both big air and slopestyle this week.


Telluride freeskier Gus Kenworthy recently made news for saying he would now compete for Great Britain instead of the United States, especially when it comes to the 2022 Winter Olympics. His mother is from Britain and he was actually born across the pond, so therefore has the option to compete for either nation.

Kenworthy, a five-time X Games medalist who competes in all three skiing disciplines, said he almost stepped up following the 2018 Olympics and the U.S.’s rigorous qualifying format.

“I was just destroyed. My body was completely wrecked,” Kenworthy said. “I was kind of thinking that was going to be my last Olympics and that was maybe going to be the end of me competing and ultimately just decided I have more in the tank.”

Kenworthy has a renewed energy — and easier route — to get back to the Olympics. Although he did say his competitive ski career will probably come to an end in the next couple of winters.

“Speaking to everyone being so much younger, I remember being announced as the youngest guy at this event and I am for sure one of the oldest guys competing now in ski pipe and slope,” he said. “I know it definitely has a time stamp on it. I think I definitely have two more years for another Olympics and a couple more X Games and I’m really excited about that.”


Like Kenworthy, Estonian skier Kelly Sildaru is a three-discipline athlete. She won three medals at X Games Aspen last year in roughly 24 hours, and she’ll go for it again this week. Although she admits competing in big air, slopestyle and superpipe is taxing on the body, which has already been through a lot of competitions in recent weeks.

“Didn’t have much time to rest, and now I’m doing big air, slopestyle and halfpipe again,” Sildaru said. “So I’m feeling tired and my body is feeling quite sore. But I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can.”


See yourself positively, even in the mirror

Last week I wrote about finally feeling well-adjusted and empowered to love myself for who I am. I think I may have yammered on about how my focus has shifted from vanity to thinking more about my health than squeezing into a size 4.

This week, as if on cue, I was at Lululemon in downtown Aspen trying on a pair of leggings, you know, the new high-waisted variety that hide your love handles but then push the fat up and out, like a toothpaste from a tube. I’m not even sure what to call that —rib fat?

I snapped a few selfies in the dressing room, trying to decipher what exactly I was seeing in the mirror. Did I look good? After all, I’m two weeks into Veganuary and maybe shed a few pounds by now, if only I was brave enough to step on the scale. I think it looked pretty good, but you never can tell. I took photos of the front and the back, just to be sure.

I decided to put the leggings in the “yes” pile when I overheard a voice I recognized.

I poked my head out and spotted Lara, an acquaintance I knew from yoga when I taught at the Aspen studio. Lara is in her early 60s and stick-thin.

We hadn’t seen each other in quite some time, so we embraced and started catching up. We were 45 seconds in when she patted my stomach and said, “Are you pregnant again?”

I did my best to make a quick recovery and move on. I turned toward the mirror and said, “No, it’s these leggings! I’m definitely not buying these!” I replied cheerily. Though truth be told, I did like them, and they were on the sale rack.

She pretended to commiserate about high-waisted leggings, just to try to remove the foot that had been lodged halfway down her throat.

Darling readers, you know this is not the first time I’ve been mistaken for pregnant. It happens so often that when I was actually, finally pregnant, it was the best I’d ever felt about my body simply because I could finally just be myself. The thing is, whether I’m 110 pounds or 160 pounds at 9 months pregnant, that’s just the way my body is shaped.

To make matters worse, two weeks into this vegan diet and, truth be told, I’m feeling like I might levitate from eating so many chickpeas. I was also two weeks into doing 50 sit-ups and 50 pushups every day for 50 days leading up to my 50th birthday. Why did I not have rock-hard abs by now?

I tried to let it roll off my back. I should be flattered she thinks I look young enough to still get pregnant! That’s almost as good as getting carded, right?

Still, I couldn’t shake it. Doubt crept in and my inner dialogue completely shifted. Maybe eating vegan was a waste of time and wasn’t working at all. Maybe I was going through (yet another) hormone shift that was causing the perpetual bloat that has mysteriously been with me since I was 10 years old.

These negative feelings began to haunt me at yoga. Suddenly I didn’t feel so good about myself anymore. Instead of looking in the mirror and seeing what I thought was my newest cute outfit from Fabletics (the poor man’s Lululemon), it was as if I was seeing myself for the first time. Why hadn’t I covered up my stomach with a tank top instead of letting it all hang out like that? Why hadn’t I noticed the way the other women my age dressed in class, most of them more covered up? And for god’s sake, why had I never looked at myself from the side view, only focusing on myself from the front? From the side, you could see the way my stomach protruded, and that I was still too thick around the middle to be gallivanting around like I thought I was Kate-fricking-Hudson.

But what had changed? Just a week ago I was feeling so good, so empowered, ready to enter my fifth decade with a newfound confidence. Why did I let one person, someone I am not very close to, take that all away from me?

I guess the answer is also a question: when you look in the mirror, what do you see? And why is our perception of ourselves constantly changing? What is real?

I’m married to someone who was literally born with unshakable self-confidence. It drives him crazy when I beat myself up. he doesn’t understand why I don’t see what he sees.

Why can’t I see what he sees?

For Christmas, Sarah gave me a book called “The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. The theme they keep coming back to is that true joy comes when we think about others instead of focusing so much on ourselves. As human beings, we all share in the same experience of love, loss, joy, pain, suffering and happiness. Now that I am a mother, I know this to be true. Never I have felt happier than being Levi’s mom because the love I feel for him and the love he radiates back to me is so pure.

Levi just had his fourth birthday, and everyone talks about how it goes so fast. I am fortunate I have been able to really be present with him and to enjoy every day. I listen to the song in his giggle, or watching him fall asleep or feeling his warm little hand when he clutches mine or reveling in his arms wrapped tightly around my neck. He makes me feel beautiful because when I see my child reflected in me, I see nothing but joy.

Now if only I could see that when I look in the mirror.

The Princess is trying. Email your love to alisonmargo@gmail.com.

ESPN, snowboarders to honor Jake Burton Carpenter in first X Games since his death

There will be a void at the bottom of the superpipe this weekend as X Games Aspen is held for the first time since the death of Jake Burton Carpenter. But expect the emotions to run as high as the rider above the deck.

The father of snowboarding, Burton, 65, died in November after a second battle with testicular cancer. He was a staple as the X Games grew from the late 1990s to the show it has become and Olympic sports it helped launch.

From his beginnings in a Vermont barn to the top of the industry, Burton’s legacy is undeniable. Riders from around the world joined the Burton crew, and this weekend they’ll honor him, some still with a heavy heart.

“Two years ago at X Games we went for some powder runs in between competitions,” Olympic and X Games gold medalist Anna Gasser said Wednesday afternoon. “With how the weather’s been with the little bit of snow the past two days it’s almost a sign that he’s still here and that he wants us to have a good time.

“Jake was never a boss. He was always like family.”

Watch for Mark McMorris and Danny Davis, two of the current stars on the men’s side and Burton riders who were close to him, to have an extra level of emotion.

When ESPN launches its on-air coverage Thursday night, the first event is men’s snowboard superpipe. Host Jack Mitrani, a former professional boarder who has deep roots in Vermont, became friends with Burton and will do the tribute.

“It just happens that we’re coming on the air first with snowboard superpipe, and so from our perspective, we felt that it was right to hit it and acknowledge Jake right off the top as we’re about to get into our first snowboard event,” X Games Vice President Tim Reed said Wednesday standing in the middle of the Buttermilk venue. “Jack has a long relationship with Jake so he’s the perfect person to say a few words and do what’s right.”

A Rhode Island native, Reed, 45, also has a New England connection with the Burton lore. His first Burton board was in the early 1980s when he was 8 years old, and it was the early version of Burton’s Snurfer.

“I still have it. It has the ‘JBC’ on it,” Reed said. “When I was growing up, our favorite thing at the holidays was our mom let us pick one thing out of the Burton catalog. … Burton was always the New England company.”

The U.S. Open started in 1982 in Vermont, more than a decade before X Games came onto the scene, and Burton was there.

The event, now known as the Burton U.S. Open, goes off each winter in Vail. This year’s event is Feb. 24 through 29 at Vail Mountain.

As the X Games grew, and Reed moved up the ranks from his first gig in Crested Butte in 1998 to now vice president, he’s seen how a Burton sighting upped the atmosphere.

“It was great how much support he gave to the riders who are a part of this. His impact is just undeniable,” Reed said. “You would see him at venue and you could tell everyone was just so stoked that he was here,” Reed said. “It was like, ‘Oh, Jake’s here.’”

Mitrani said Burton’s presence was felt no matter where he went, but certainly he enjoyed being around the riders. Burton was at the X Games pipe last year when snowboarding icon Kelly Clark made her final run.

“I just remember him at the bottom of the superpipe just holding court and having an aura around him,” Mitrani said. “His energy is definitely going to be upon us this weekend.”


Aussie Scotty James goes for 10 straight wins as new format hits pipe at X Games

Scotty James already is in uncharted territory, and he’s got a chance to take it another step further. The Australian snowboarder is one win away from making it 10 consecutive victories in halfpipe competitions, a feat he could accomplish Thursday night at X Games Aspen.

“The pressure definitely still gets the better of me,” James said Wednesday during an introductory news conference at Buttermilk. “It would be amazing to get 10, but that’s not really why I started snowboarding. Winning and all those things and the accolades are amazing, but the biggest thing for me is to stick to my fundamentals.”

Since finishing third at the 2018 Winter Olympics, James has been nearly untouchable. He won every contest he entered during the 2018-19 season, including at X Games Aspen. The 25-year-old has four career X Games Aspen medals, including gold in 2017 and 2019. He won silver in 2018 in what was arguably the greatest X Games halfpipe competition in history, losing with a 98 to Japan’s Ayumu Hirano, who scored 99. James also won bronze in 2016.

“To be that consistent in a sport like snowboarding is just unheard of,” former pro snowboarder and current X Games host Jack Mitrani said of James. “Not even Shaun (White) won 10 straight in a row, I don’t think. Especially with where the level is at, it’s remarkable. I think he’s just really dialed in. The fundamentals of superpipe riding and just mentally, he’s far beyond.”

What could make things interesting during Thursday’s 8 p.m. men’s snowboard superpipe final at X Games Aspen is the new format. Instead of the traditional untimed runs, ESPN has opted for a jam session. The finals will include a 30-minute running clock where athletes take as many laps as they can in that time.

They are judged on overall impression instead of individual runs.

“For the halfpipe, I think it’s actually going to be really good,” James said. “You can kind of start to lose the element of what I feel snowboarding is to a lot of us, which is the opportunity to express our creativity and show people what we think is cool.”

The new format had its trial run Wednesday night during the event’s qualifier. James, as well as last year’s other podium finishers in Japan’s Yuto Totsuka (silver) and Truckee’s Danny Davis (bronze), didn’t compete as they automatically qualified to finals. This left 12 others to vie for the final five spots in Thursday’s eight-rider final.

Under the lights with snow falling in the Buttermilk superpipe, Switzerland’s Jan Scherrer finished first, holding off Steamboat’s Taylor Gold, who took second. Scherrer, a relatively veteran rider and two-time Olympian, never has won an X Games medal.

“I still don’t know yet,” Scherrer said after the qualifier about whether he likes the new format. “It’s kind of weird how we don’t see the scores, but it worked out really good for me, so I’m happy.”

The 12-man qualifier was a 45-minute jam session with each rider getting four runs. Standings were periodically updated during the contest but scores weren’t awarded.

Joining Scherrer and Gold in advancing out of the qualifier are Idaho’s Chase Josey (third), California’s Toby Miller (fourth) and Longmont’s Chase Blackwell (fifth), who was one of five X Games rookies competing Wednesday.

Riders not making finals include Ryan Wachendorfer, David Habluetzel, Andre Hoflich, Derek Livingston, Jake Pates, Joshua Bowman and Lucas Foster, listed in order of finish.


East One Snowmass building close to completion, set to be “substantially” finished in March

Over the first few months of winter, officials have expressed positive engagement and traffic throughout Base Village as a result of having new businesses and spaces open to the public, including The Collective and mix6, Eye Pieces of Snowmass and Straight Line Studios.

But these new businesses that opened for the first time in December are just a handful of what’s planned to come online in Base Village early this year.

The east One Snowmass building, which will include a mix of private residences and local businesses and was initially set to open in January, is still receiving its final touches. The public will see a sort of phased opening of the building over the next several months as each tenant works to finish the build-out of their spaces, said Andy Gunion, managing partner of East West Partners in Snowmass.

On a recent afternoon, Gunion weaved through the hallways and stairwells teeming with people working in the new Base Village building. He showed off a few of the fractional ownership residences, which can have as many as 15 owners and are fully furnished.

Gunion also explained that the contractors working for East West Partners should be finished with all 11 fractional and 19 whole ownership units in the east building, along with their amenities — including a private gym, pool deck and an Inspirato lounge open to all Inspirato members and One Snowmass residents — by mid-February.

The rest of the building “core and shell” should be “substantially completed” by March 1, Gunion said.

“It’s been a really good start to the season,” Gunion said of Base Village. “A lot of people have been waiting to see what this place is going to look like when it’s actually finished, and now they’ve been able to get a sense of what it will be.”

According to Gunion, East West Partners recently sold three penthouse units over a 15-day period, one in the Limelight, one in the Viceroy and one in the east One Snowmass building, which he attributes to the new businesses and spaces added to Base Village this season.

He said the total value of the three sales was around $25 million, and said East West Partners has also sold seven of its 11 whole ownership units in the west One Snowmass building, along with about 20 of the roughly 90 fractional ownership shares in the east One Snowmass building that have been placed on the market so far.

Although he said East West Partners anticipates the newest One Snowmass building to be mostly finished by March 1 — minus some landscaping that can’t be done until spring — he said some of the building tenants might open their doors later.

The new Snowmass Clinic is one of those tenants. Originally set to open in mid-January, the new roughly 6,000-foot acute illness and injury care space will open after the ski season in April.

“We decided we did not want to pursue opening until all of the construction on the exterior is complete,” said Jennifer Slaughter, chief marketing officer for Aspen Valley Hospital, referring to some ongoing exterior brick and concrete work in the new clinic area.

“And we thought well, even if it is completed during the ski season, that’s the middle of our busiest time and closing even for one day isn’t feasible.”

The Snowmass Clinic will continue to operate out of its Village Mall location until after the ski season in April, Slaughter said, and noted that both clinic and hospital officials are excited to move into the Base Village space.

The new Alux Spalon and JUS Aspen locations also are expected to open after March 1, as Gunion said the two businesses are working with separate contractors to build out their spaces. The Snowmass Sun could not reach either business owner for comment.

However, King Yoga, run by local yogi Aaron King, is on track to open by March 1.

King, a longtime Snowmass local, said he’d hoped to open his Base Village studio earlier but is working through some layout changes with East West Partners’ contractors, who are building out his space.

From daily classes for adults and kids, to teacher training for aspiring yogis, King said he has a lot of offerings planned for his Snowmass studio and is excited to open in March.

“In the past, King Yoga has been about me, but I want to help younger teachers find a voice and give them the space to grow,” King said. “I’m really excited to bring King Yoga to Snowmass. It’s a beautiful space and a hidden gem to me.”


Britta Gustafson: Places to unplug

A gaggle of teens quietly scrolling on their phones, sitting near one another yet unable to interact without a vice-device between them.

A toddler sitting in the stroller cruising down Daly Lane fixated on an iPad.

A mom and dad dining at Slice while their headphone-clad kids, faces aglow in blue light, chewing their gourmet pizza like cud munching cattle and staring blankly at screens.

A couple sitting on the sunny deck at Venga Venga, both trying to stealthily sneak a peek at the phones in their respective laps, while trying to feign interest in the person they’re sitting with. I notice this while the person I’m with takes a phone glance and their expression goes blank. Nod as they may, our conversation is lost.

We’ve all seen similar versions of these scenarios, probably many times. I’ve looked up from time to time, at the bank, grocery store, post office, at the bus stop, on the gondola, you name it, to behold everyone around me preoccupied by the grip of a screen. I think we must look like zombies to anyone not assimilated into the new smartphone way of life that almost seems like a wide-spread, culturally acceptable addiction. And I think I should get my phone out and document this (wink).

Now perhaps I’m particularly excitable when it comes to this subject; it even rivals road trips and car karaoke on my personal passion scale. But I guess I’m addicted to this topic. I’m fascinated by watching what could be our own self-destruction happening before my eyes. It’s like living in an episode of “Black Mirror” or “The Twilight Zone.”

But I dial it back because I can hardly go a day without my own phone. Admittedly, I too am hooked. It’s become an appendage that I can scarcely imagine life without.

Are we reaching the point of no return when real life and virtual life are coexisting in different planes but in equal time? We are so obsessed that there is now a word to describe the fear of being without your phone: “nomophobia.”

I was particularly transfixed the other night, marveling at a group of diners who sat down at a 10-seater near me at the Village Tavern. With children ranging in age from about 7 to 17, they situated themselves and each, adults and kids alike, proceeded to pull out devices and all but one began to scroll and peck away. But over at the bar all the regulars sat chatting, collectively watching ski-TV, coming and going. The soundscape was lively. Yet there, in the middle of the room, sat a table of people silently sitting round their food, each tuned into a different screen. Not a sound, save the clinking of silverware, came from their direction. I guess it might seem peaceful? One flashed a glance over at my table where my own kids and their five cousins chattered their way through our meal. And I wondered, with genuine curiosity, did he believe that my children as well ought to be quietly lulled by a screen as they ate?

Technology at the table is a tangy topic. My instinct tells me that phones should not be present at restaurant or home tables, and that we should appreciate our meals in the company of friends and family. But I am as guilty as any of sending or receiving multiple texts throughout an occasional meal. I justify it by telling myself that I’m only able to have that lunch date because my iPhone gives me the freedom to work outside of an office, even if it keeps me virtually on call all hours and everywhere.

And I’ve been in the situation with young kids where I just want to shovel a few forkfuls of food into my mouth while trying to enjoy interesting but uninterrupted conversations with friends, hoping to get the heck out of there before the kids get too antsy. So I can see when a screen might have dramatically changed the experience.

Even when I’m dining solo and I grab an incoming call and try to whisper-talk, I wonder, was it disrespectful to the people around me? To my server? To the cooks who spent time preparing my meal?

Screens during meals probably rob us of opportunities to improve our communication skills, storytelling and making jokes, as well as continuing to help us develop patience, mindful peace and to even exercise our imaginations.

Fundamentally, it seems we all benefit from more human connections, not less. Restaurants, recreation centers, schools, bus rides, most jobs, games, even “social” interactions were all once done without screens and now they are filled with them.

While we have gained some advantages, including new connections, haven’t we lost something as well?

Bombarded by bells, buzzes and chimes that alert us to messages we feel compelled to view and respond to immediately, are we disconnecting from what really matters? Are we losing touch with what makes us feel nourished and grounded; what makes us human beings?

In “The World Unplugged Project,” investigators at the University of Maryland reported that “a clear majority” of students from 10 different countries across the globe experienced actual distress when they tried to go without their devices for 24 hours. One in three people in the study admitted they’d rather give up sex than their smartphones.

Without open spaces and downtime, how will we create, connect and feel alive?

Even computers reboot. Perhaps we should all find some places to knowingly, willingly unplug. Mine will definitely include restaurants.

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 brittag@ymail.com.

Roof fire damages Sinclair Road home in Snowmass

Four people were forced to evacuate from a home on Sinclair Road late Jan. 20 after the roof allegedly caught fire, Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority officials released Jan. 21. No one was injured and the cause of the fire is under investigation.

According to a news release, Roaring Fork Fire Rescue officials received a call reporting the roof of the home at 800 Sinclair Road was on fire at 11:14 p.m. Jan. 20.

Fire officials arrived on scene within 11 minutes, reporting visible flames and smoke from the east side of the building, and quickly extinguished the blaze to prevent its spread, the release said.

Richard Cornelius, division chief for Roaring Fork Fire Authority, said the four people in the Sinclair Road home were safely evacuated with the help of Snowmass police officers, who first arrived on scene.

Cornelius said the people were not the homeowners and were able to secure a hotel room to stay in for the remainder of the night. One person was evaluated for smoke inhalation, but there were no major injuries reported, Cornelius said.

After extinguishing the flames, 21 fire personnel from both Roaring Fork Fire Rescue and the Aspen Fire Protection District completed salvage and overhaul operations to minimize damage to the home. Fire personnel were on scene until 1:46 a.m., Cornelius said.

John Mele, fire marshal for the Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority, is investigating the cause of the fire, which mostly resulted in damage to the home’s second floor bedroom, Cornelius said. He also noted that fire officials were happy to see working smoke detectors in the home.

“We always like to see working smoke detectors because they give residents more time in incidents like this,” Cornelius said.

The news release also stated that the Sinclair Road home is currently uninhabitable and overall loss could not be estimated as of Jan. 21.


Roger Marolt: These are a few of my favorite things

I like to shovel snow from my driveway.

It’s probably 50 feet long and an average of 20 feet wide. If it was any larger than that, my mind might be changed; any smaller and I wouldn’t think one way or the other about it.

As it is, it takes about half an hour to clear the bounty an average winter storm drops. I’m satisfied by how it looks after I finish. I enjoy watching the snowbanks on its edges grow through February and then observing the springtime sun push them down into the greening grass beneath.

It’s a terrific workout for the legs, shoulders, heart and core. Strange as it may sound, when I am out there shoveling, I get a similar sensation to skiing powder. I can’t explain that. It is a personal pleasure.

This is something I want to continue as long as I can. People see me doing it and ask why I don’t get a snowblower. I don’t have an answer other than the obvious one, which is because I don’t. There are a hundred nuances contained in that statement that nobody has the time or desire to hear. It’s easier to let them think I’m a cheapskate.

I like to mow my grass, too. Maybe this makes enjoying snow shoveling easier to believe. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve manicured the same old yard for the past 26 years, yet still try to figure out the most efficient pattern to accomplish the task. It is a healthy combination of concentration and letting your mind wander. With earplugs, the gray noise is magnificent. When you are too occupied to analyze anything, everything makes sense. It all comes together while sipping a Gatorade in the hammock beneath a tree afterward. I hope to never give this up, either.

There are other things I want to keep doing as my midlife crisis becomes smaller than it appears in the rearview mirror mounted on the door of this organic vehicle out of which I take peripheral glances from the drivers seat at life passing.

I want to keep skiing moguls. Yes, I consider this work. I get the feeling people don’t really like moguls anymore other than for an occasional challenge, but I like them more for their personality. They are the extroverted Thursday night partiers to the corduroy groomers’ accounting professor’s office hours. Once I saw a time-lapsed video of a mogul field showing that moguls actually move up the slope throughout the ski season. Descending skiers’ edges scrape snow off the bottoms of one mogul and pack it onto the top part of the mogul below, so it makes sense, still, once you see the moguls in motion seemingly defying gravity, it gives you a feeling almost like riding a wave. They have disappeared from the list of fun things to do in ski resorts from their peak of popularity in the late 1970s when getting through them with speed and creative style was called “hot-dogging.” It was the high point for youthful vigor in the sport. I like the idea of that.

I want to keep going to the gym, too. I don’t need to put weights on the bar until it starts to bend and then depend on a squat rack to keep me from getting squashed if my legs give out which, if you are really testing yourself, is a definite possibility, but I think in the age of yoga, Pilates and spin classes, a little old fashioned resistance training is still healthy. There’s also a vibe I like at the gym. They play music with a good beat. They have televisions on mute. The best places show only sports, not CNN, Fox News, or The Weather Channel. People take rest breaks between sets, and many like to talk during those short intervals. It doesn’t leave time for anything deep. The focus is on tidbits.

I want to keep making up games, physical and mental. I don’t think adults play enough and, judging by our political climate, we certainly don’t use our imaginations regularly. Combining the two is one of life’s simplest pleasures. Just pick something up and twirl it around in your hands awhile. Sooner or later you will do something with it and, if you are paying attention, you can probably make a game out of it. Throw it, balance it, try to set or toss it close to something else, challenge someone to get it away from you, with your eyes closed. Who really knows how a homemade, organic game begins? What I am sure of is that it will. All you have to do is put down your phone and embrace the boredom. A dull moment is a gift. Our human makeup will not allow them to last very long and becomes incomparably satisfied by snuffing them out.

I want to keep tuning my own skis for no good reason whatsoever.

I want to keep writing this column. It is something I have to get done twice every week. I can’t procrastinate forever with it. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. The easy ones bring pleasure; the hard ones are a pain in the neck. And still, there is nothing like a pain in the neck to remind you that you are still alive.

Roger Marolt wants to keep doing other things, too. He will remember what they are the next time he is alone in his driveway with a shovel in hand. Email him at roger@maroltllp.com

Snowmass History: Aspen-Snowmass locals qualify for X Games, 2000

“Local riders pass boardercross test,” an Aspen Times article said Jan. 31, 2000. “On a great day for local snowboarders, Sweden’s Pontus Stahlkloo and Marguerite Cossettini of Australia were the king and queen of the hill, winning the Swatch Boardercross World Tour stop at Snowmass Ski Area in dominating action. … Of the 48 men and 24 women who advanced beyond the time trial, a large contingent was on hand to represent the Roaring Fork Valley. Travis McLain of Snowmass Village led the way for the local riders, finishing eighth despite crossing the finish line on his head in one heat. ‘I had fun,’ he said. ‘I was hoping to do well. I got a spot in the X Games, so I wanted to get in some practice here.’ Just behind McLain in 11th place was Cooper Hall of Aspen, riding in his first World Tour event at the tender age of 17.” Other valley locals included Quincy Kimbrell and John Norman, both of Snowmass Village, and fellow AVSC teammate of Hall’s, Christian Mosiman. “Two other local riders, Lucas Franze and Suzy Parker, also qualified for Saturday’s races but had to withdraw due to a dislocated shoulder and a concussion, respectively, suffered in their second time trial runs on Friday,” the article continued.