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Kudos & Kindness (Feb. 7, 2021)

A toast to Mac Smith

Like so many devotees of Aspen Highlands and its iconic Bowl, I wanted to add this old fart’s two-cents to Scott Condon’s fitting tribute to Mac Smith on his retirement as director of Highland Ski Patrol (“Mac Smith turns over the reins of Aspen Highlands Ski Patrol,” Feb. 2, The Aspen Times).

What a remarkable legacy this gentle giant leaves for all who love the vertical playground he was so instrumental in protecting, preserving and most importantly, expanding. I was lucky enough to poach the Bowl with the patrol on the 10th anniversary of the deadly slide to write an article for Aspen Magazine the year before the bowl was reopened and another about skiing Five Fingers, just beyond the Bowl, with Chris Davenport and Dick Jackson a few years later. My bride, Christine, and I worked as mountain mascots (ambassadors) at Highlands for seven years and could always count on Mac being our first guest at the annual Ski Tuner’s Ball during its 30-year reign.

Mac’s remarkable vision and dedication has provided our valley with a unique monument to the sport of skiing. A tip of the hat and vote of gratitude to the big guy with the broad smile and big heart from two of your biggest fans.

Christine and Gerry Goldstein



High praise for Ajax groomers

The skiing on Aspen Mountain is amazing! A special shout-out to the people who groom the mountain. Thank you.

Rob Gile



Aspen generosity shines through

The generosity of our community continues to amaze us. Pathfinders is an organization that helps people with cancer and other debilitating illnesses. One of our programs is to bring meals to people while they are in treatment and recovering.

Nancy Paley and Lisa Lambert have generously started a program that helps not only us but the restaurants. They have given gift certificates from restaurants for us to use for our clients. Our clients are thrilled and it is helping our restaurants — a win -win. We are so grateful.

With gratitude for being part of such a great community …

Allison Daily and Debbie Kreutzer



Molding character, one buddy at a time

“The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” — Steven Spielberg

It has been almost a year since I became a big buddy and what a journey it has been! My little buddy and I have gotten to know each other while playing tennis and soccer, making pizza, playing chess, attending a pottery class, making a kite, launching a rocket, reading/discussing “A Little History of the World,” ice skating, and car singing Queen’s “Radio Ga Ga,” all while maintaining safety protocols during the pandemic.

I know from personal experience how important and enriching is to have a mentor in one’s life. After graduating college in Sofia, Bulgaria, I embarked on a long journey that eventually let me to Aspen. Throughout my journey, mentors inspired me to keep learning, stay disciplined and focused, and always purse my dreams. These mentors have shaped my character, helped me grow, and enabled me to learn a lot about myself. Through my experience, I learned how important is to give back and inspire others to be their best selves.

Now more than ever before, staying connected is instrumental in our lives. Becoming a mentor has positively impacted my life. I am so thankful for the professionalism and support of the Buddy Program team and for the smooth application process. They made my experience great and I feel extremely grateful to be part of the program. I hope that sharing my experience will inspire people to learn more about the Buddy Program and help positively impact and shape children’s lives.

Vangel Yurukov

Snowmass Village


Aspen Chapel Gallery thanks supporters, helps Holiday Baskets

The Aspen Chapel Gallery wishes to thank everyone who patronized the annual holiday Small Wonders show. Through sales at the gallery and the sponsorships, we were able to give Holiday Baskets over $3,700 to help with their goal of providing gifts and food for over 250 families.

We also would like to thank our sponsors who made the show possible. The Big Wrap, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty, Hensley & James Peterson, Sam and Peter Louras, Barbara Reid and David Hyman, Jessica Salet, and Alice Davis

Finally, thank you to the 29 participating artists whose creative efforts made such a unique and delightful show.

Tom Ward and Michael Bonds

Co-directors, Aspen Chapel Gallery

‘No Truth No More’

To make things true you just gotta believe

Any theory anybody, anywhere might conceive

Though it ain’t worth a dime, if it kinda makes cents

Lots of folks’ll come to its defense

You know, like Margie Green; ya gotta love’r

Her mom and dad are sister and brother

Well, that’s not for sure, but why not?

A lie told well won’t never be forgot

Just keep sayin’ it over and over again

Louder and more and never give in

Margie’s mom and dad are sister and brother

That’s the truth; it is — ain’t no other

Patience and persistence is all it takes

Till nobody knows what’s truth and what’s fakes

‘Specially if ya don’t believe in no science

Then, who needs truth, or factual compliance

Or evidence or data or info or logic

Just deny anything that’s at all pedagogic

Make it up as you go along

Say it loud and often and say it strong

And what you get is the party of Lincoln

Craven and dumb, without no thinkin’

Greg Lewis

Woody Creek

Solis family grateful for community outpouring

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank infinitely all those wonderful people that showed their love to my nephew Alex, making very generous donations to help with the funeral costs and other associated expenses.

Really we don’t have words to express our gratitude because it’s been an enormous help to the wife and children.

These actions show us one more time the love and relation that we have with many people, no matter their religion, color or sex, who show us their love in this way.

God bless you greatly to all of you.

Jose Solis

Quiero aprovechar este espacio para agradecer infinitamente a todas aquellas personas que mostraron su cariño a mi sobrino Alex haciendo muy generosas donaciones para ayudar a los costos del funeral y gastos asociados. Realmente no tenemos palabras para expresar nuestro agradecimiento, ya que ha sido de una gran ayuda para la esposa e hijos.

Esto nos demuestra una vez más el cariño y la relación que tenemos con mucha gente sin importar su religion, color o sexo, y que nos mostró su amor de esta manera.

Dios les bendiga grandemente a todos ustedes.

José Solís

Doyle has Aspen’s big picture in mind

While an election is the last thing anyone wants to think about, an important race for two Aspen City Council seats is coming up March 2. I will be giving my support to John Doyle. No matter what issues come to council, I know John will research them thoroughly and have a solid understanding.

John is a 40-year local and has seen our small town change. John is willing to step into the difficult position of being on City Council. Preserving Aspen’s small-town character for the local people who live here and most importantly for our children. Beyond our community, we all know Aspen is unique and special because it’s nestled below seven 14ers and surrounded by three wilderness areas.

John understands people come to visit and live here because of the environment. Preserving and protecting our most precious resource from unnecessary development, keeping our workforce close and supporting small local businesses in the right locations will be more important than special interests or short-term gains.

John has vast personal work experience to understand our local economy. John Doyle would be a tremendous asset to Aspen as a calm, thoughtful intelligent voice on City Council.

Pierre Wille


Overreaction to pandemic erodes freedoms, economy

You would think this is the black plague. In 1918 with the Spanish Flu, the death toll was about 50 million. However, the population was 1.6 billion. That worked out to 3.125%. The total current world population is about 7.8 billion, which means even a death count of 2 million is only 0.0002564%. The data is by no means justifiable to destroy the world economy and eliminate all our freedoms.

Tom Anderson

Aspen Village

Red level reveals white privilege

The following public letter is to Snowmass Mayor Bill Madsen and Garfield and Hecht attorney Chris Bryan.

I am very disturbed to read the comments you both made or wrote at the recent Pitkin County Board of Health meeting. While I understand your intentions to support the restaurants, how you went about it I found appalling. I hope as influential representatives of Pitkin County that you shocked yourselves, as well as everyone who heard you comparing racism to the board’s decisions. Regardless of whether you agree with the board’s choices, racism has no place in your arguments.

Chris Bryan, using a Martin Luther King Jr. quote that was meant to wake white people up to their part in systemic racism to pressure the board to do what you feel is right for your clients, is abhorrent. Bill Madsen, likening the murder of George Floyd at the hands of white racist policemen to the board’s treatment of the restaurants, I found viscerally disturbing.

Giving you both the benefit of the doubt, at best your comments reek of white privilege and white superiority. I pray it was deep ignorance and callused insensitivity to systemic racism and police brutality and not conscious racism.

I sincerely hope you will both take this opportunity to educate yourselves and do much better going forward. I’m currently reading Ibram X. Kendi’s book “How to Be an Antiracist” in my continued quest to wrestle with my own role in white supremacy and systemic racism, as a white woman. I just purchased the book from Explore Booksellers for each of you. I will drop them off personally to you this week, so you know that I mean you no ill will, just a deep hope from my heart to yours that we all want to learn and improve.

Sheridan Semple


We feel your pain and fear, Red Ant

I want to congratulate Elizabeth Milias for the remarkable insight found in her Aspen Times column on Jan. 31 (“A Confederate Flag, a swastika and a MAGA hat”).

As I read it, I kept thinking that I had not yet read such a concise and accurate local opinion description of the nation’s congressional Democrats’ frustration with their Republican colleagues since the events of Jan. 6. Your words that the incendiary comments posted on social media made you “horrified, threatened and … fearful” could have come straight from the lips of Nancy Pelosi and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And Skippy Mesirow wasn’t even threatening your life!

Substitute in your piece Ted Cruz or Josh Hawley for Skippy and Kevin McCarthy and Marco Rubio for Torre and Ward, and you might get yourself an invitation to appear on “The Rachael Maddow Show”! And I especially liked your line stating that Skippy’s claim to desire “a post-partisan nation through bringing people across ideologies rings incredibly hollow.” Didn’t Chuck Schumer say that?

Congratulations again, Elizabeth. The Red Ant also is a “gift that keeps on giving.”

Don Bird


Snowmass mayor owes an apology

I am writing to denounce the comments made by Snowmass Mayor Bill Madsen in the Jan. 28 Pitkin County Board of Health meeting. When I heard the mayor say, “To hearken back to the George Floyd scenario, we have put our foot on the throat of the restaurant industry and they can’t breathe,” I was deeply disturbed.

To make a comparison between temporarily impacting the income of the restaurant industry and the murder of an unarmed Black man at the hands of police is beyond reprehensible. Some people in our country are fighting for their paychecks while others are fighting for their lives, and to compare the two shows a blatant misunderstanding of the issues of race and inequality that plague our nation.

When a leader makes an offensive comment like this, it doesn’t just reflect poorly on him, it reflects on the Board of Health as well as our community, and it erodes the trust that we put in our elected officials. Our board members owe it to the citizens that they represent to be better informed and I am calling on Mayor Madsen to apologize. I also am asking for the Board of Health to speak out against the mayor’s comments in order to regain our trust.

Dan Perl


Skippy deserved wrath of Red Ant

Elizabeth Milias and I approach politics as polar opposites and frequently spar. But we are totally aligned on insisting that local government be conducted in an informed, intelligent and respectful manner.

When a local public official steps out of line (and history has provided numerous examples), the offending conduct must be called out and corrected. Her Red Ant column should be welcomed and not condemned (“A Confederate Flag, a swastika and a MAGA hat,” commentary, Jan. 31, The Aspen Times).

And importantly, Aspen City Council needs to take public action so that going forward not only Skippy Mesirow, but those who follow as newly elected council members, understand that there are clearly defined limits to acceptable behavior. Elizabeth has rightly called out the offending conduct; is there someone willing to step forward and lead the way to correction?

Neil Siegel



Doyle will fight for Aspen’s working class

I most recently encountered John Doyle when he represented “the other side” in the debate over the future of Lift 1A. While we differed over what the future of the historic base area should look like, it was clear to me we both shared a passion for Aspen and its future. John understands the pressures that working locals face today, and has a sophisticated sense of the trends that exacerbate them.

I am glad he is running for Aspen City Council and hope he wins a seat. His lack of allegiance to the powerful interests that drive Aspen’s economy and politics will make him a better City Council member. Aspenites have a chance to elect a longtime resident who will stand up for the locals. Vote John Doyle.

Allyn Harvey