OH, THE ANTICIPATION
One of the most beautiful, and often poignant, things about living in a mountain town is a heightened awareness of life’s cyclical nature. Take ski season. Though it was just five months ago that I hung up my boards for the short term, the signifiers of the season’s end—rapid snowmelt, the scent of pine trees wafting through warmer air, trails emptying out as visitors stop coming and employees start to leave for long-anticipated vacations—seem much further in the past.
As I write, we’re on the precipice of another winter ahead. Getting your gear ready for the mountain, standing in line to pick up your ski pass, seeing shop racks fill up with shiny new skis and snowboards, feeding off the energy that ratchets up as workers flood back to town and everyone gets down to business—the anticipation for a new season is infectious. No true mountain lover is immune.
As soon as snow fully blankets the peaks—not just the tease of dustings we get during early fall—the slate will be clear, ready to be imprinted with the hopes, desires, and goals of the ski season ahead. Sound a little preposterous? Not if you live in a place where your plans, both personal and social, revolve around the opening and closing of lifts and the vagaries of the weather. Will there be multiple powder days? What new lines will I discover on the Hanging Valley Wall at Snowmass, where I never seem to take the same route twice? Will this be the winter you finally hike to the top of Highland Bowl, master the moguls on Silver Queen, or learn to slide a rail in the terrain park?
Creating a magazine has a similar cycle. Every few months, I get a blank slate on which to work, to fill with stories of the Roaring Fork Valley, its residents, and its secret (and not-so-secret) charms. I get the same giddy excitement planning out an issue as I do mapping out a weekend ski day.
One of this issue’s features takes you behind the scenes on Aspen Mountain after the lifts stop spinning and preparation begins for the next day of skiing. If you’re like me, you’re vaguely aware that opening one of the country’s best-known ski areas each morning involves a lot more than flipping a switch to turn on the gondola, but you probably don’t really know what happens. Writer Tim Cooney, who’s also an Aspen Mountain ski patroller, and photographer Dan Bayer share an insider’s view of the many moving parts that intersect throughout the night and early morning to provide all of us with a great ski experience. It’s just the kind of story—taking a fresh look at something with which we’re all casually familiar—that I love sharing with readers.
Here’s to seizing your own opportunity to create something different, memorable, and fresh this winter!