“I told you ‘bout the fool on the hill / I tell you man he’s living there still / There’s another place you can be / Listen to me...”
Open the lifts again for skiing — I dare you. I know it’s not going to happen, but I remain recklessly optimistic. There’s still plenty of skiing to be done, but it’s only for those who are willing to work for it. I decided to take some time off from skiing when the lifts closed; one whole day to be exact. Then nighttime found me with a headlamp on, skinning up then skiing down the mountain. I know, how pathetic.
Walking up the hill with skis attached to your feet, or “skinning” as it’s commonly known, is the only sensible option at this point. Two days in a row after the mountains formally closed I was rewarded with fresh groomed corduroy from top to bottom. Really guys, you shouldn’t have.
There’s something about that word “skinning” that I find unsettling. I’d be willing to bet that the same guy came up with the word “spinning” for road biking, and the term “kit” to describe the signature spandex clown suit I yearn to don. When he was done inventing those brilliant words, he probably came up with the word “freshies” to describe powder. I have a gut feeling he’s British. I said “he” — is that presumptuous?
According to a recent local online poll that asked if people were still skiing three weeks ago, 76 percent of the respondents were “over it” before the lifts even closed.
Congratulations are in order to the face of “New Aspen.” Your conniving plan of sucking the joy marrow from the bones of our town is working like a charm. My sinking suspicions are finally being realized — there are many here among us that are wasting valuable space in our town. I guess I knew it for a while now, but just didn’t want to admit it. Move to Aspen and then try to change it, get rich or die trying.
My advice to those who responded “over it” — spend some quality time in Olathe and try telling the locals you’re “over” all the corn there. Or maybe go the extra mile and set up shop in Hawaii. Try telling the locals you’re “over” the ocean and surfing. Go to a cow town and tell the local ranchers you’re “over” cattle. Technically you can’t be “over it” if you never really got it in the first place.
An old pal of mine who grew up here and graduated from Aspen High said it most eloquently with a spiteful twist — “Aspen used to be a mining town, and then it was a ski town, then a real estate town. Now it’s a morgue.” Jokes on him though — he doesn’t even live here anymore. I get the feeling he stays loosely attached through Facebook or some other vicarious means, probably while changing diapers. People who move away from here and then complain about town are just hilarious to me.
I barely saw anyone skiing around Highlands with bowl pins on their outfits this year. I heard that they’re doing something different next year, or something about the series coming to an end? Regardless, I wonder what exactly you had to do to get one of those things this year. If it’s what I think, I’m not even remotely interested.
It’s going to be hard to let go of skiing this year. In retrospect the Aspen Skiing Co. made the right decision to pull the plug a week early. We ended on a positive note; a rewarding powder day. The mountain was admittedly getting a bit dangerous. The snowpack actually became translucent in spots, and impromptu pond skims sprouted up in flat spots. Skiing down was a lot like linking a patchwork quilt with ribbons of snow. Word on the street was that there were an inordinate amount of ski injuries toward the end of the season. You just hate to hear that, unless you’re a knee surgeon — then you can always use a brand new pair of Pirellis on your Beamer or Audi. One day I thought I heard popcorn — it was the sound of blowing ACLs.
What’s more dangerous — backcountry skiing right now, or ordering fish at a restaurant during off season? When we get back into a more predictable freeze thaw cycle, the skiing up Independence Pass is going to be a blast. Spring skiing is a wax game, and one of timing as well. Without wax you’re facing certain torture. Add in bad timing and you could be looking at a whole other level of suffering that you never even knew existed. The early bird, with freshly waxed skis, gets the worm. It’s always a good feeling to go up the pass for the first time of the year. Soon enough we’ll be jumping in the river, and hitting the road to see shows at Red Rocks.
In the meantime, everyone take the snow tires off of your cars, and turn your sprinklers on — that’s the only real way to make it start snowing again. Otherwise we’re doomed to put our skis away for good and molt out of our winter skin.
Contact Lorenzo at email@example.com.