Beth Brandon

Are you sick of being cold? Tired of watching out for ice on every corner, only to walk through a 4-inch moat when the sun comes out? Feeling a lull in your ski season? Or perhaps you are generally over winter?

I think you’re free of threat from coronavirus, but you may have cabin fever and should do something about it. Prescriptions include, but are not limited to, field trips past the roundabout, completely throwing yourself into vacation planning, and perhaps a little cowbell. A bit of each should do the trick.

It’s high time you make a plan for a fun excursion a couple months from now. Sure, not everyone can plan a vacation, but, even if you can’t hop on a plane or even go very far, you can still do a little “Treat Yourself 2020!” And for your sanity, and everyone else’s, you should. It’s called “saving,” and while uncommon in this town, it’s actually quite beneficial.

We’re ensconced in winter. Midseason leaves you thinking how much snow you’ve already walked in, and on, and then you stop and think of how much snow you’ve yet to walk in and on. It feels like (what I would imagine it’s like) to stand on Highway 82 on top of Independence Pass in between two gigantic snow banks. A little, “Oh hey, cool, look at that snow!” with a dash of “Oh my God, I’m trapped in SNOW!” The good news is that life here cycles in very particular ways and even though the absence of snow is a way off, there is still an end, in city limits, at least.

Plan a day of shopping in Glenwood Springs. There’s a Marshall’s, Target, a few boutiques, hell, you could wrap the whole thing up with dinner at Chili’s if you like. Any day you choose to make the trip you’re guaranteed a different sky, to and from. When winter clouds sock us in, it can make town feel even smaller than it is. Seeing the sky in a different color and from a different perspective is enough to loosen your white knuckle grip on winter in Aspen. You might even spot some incredi-blue on the way.

An employee of mine was recently venting at work, during which I realized that I’d been travel planning all morning and as a result, felt exponentially better than she did. Reading through my Rick Steves’ “Guide for Paris” made me feel excited. The trip is months away, but similar to Xanax, that guidebook took the edge off. I asked my employee if she’d planned anything for spring yet. Unsurprisingly, she said no. Maybe it’s time to head to the library and check out a book about a country you’ve always wanted to visit some day, then dream a little dream or two. I promise you’ll feel a little warmer just thinking about it. I know I do, though it could be due to the fact that long johns under jeans are now standard at work.

Cabin fever is real, especially when winter is long. I grew up with Midwestern winters and lake-effect snow, which can, in fact, be tough. But mostly, it’s short by comparison. Here we’ve got snow fashion, snow activities, snow watching, snow preparedness, snow excitement, snow woes, and snow regrets. You simply can’t deny it’s snow-going.

Winter is winter and Aspen is a giant cul-de-sac from November to May. If we had six solid months of sweaty summer, we’d be asking for a cold front. It’s a glorious place to be “stuck,” but let’s face it, even if you love to ski or snowboard one can’t help but think, “How long is winter again? Didn’t the groundhog see his shadow?”

This last little storm rejuvenated my ski season lull, but it also reminded me of my knee pain. Winter conditions can wear you down, even when they’re good. Those are the facts. There are a few courses of action to fix said pain, but so far taking a back seat and hoping for the best isn’t working, nor is it advised for skiing Bingo Glades.

The light is lasting longer every day. You can walk your dog, or just yourself, around 5 p.m. and be pleasantly surprised with sunset colors. And despite the necessity for snow boots, that light can be pretty rejuvenating all by itself. If you look really hard, even squint a little, far into the West, you can see painted toenails in flip-flops on the horizon.

It’s all in how you look at it. Don’t forget the cowbell. Always, more cowbell. 

Beth thinks Valentine’s Day may also aid in curing cabin fever and wishes you the best. She can be reached at bethabrandon@hotmail.com.