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Meredith Carroll has been providing her opinion in newspaper and online columns for more than a dozen years, so the time seemed right to start asking her questions instead of her doing the asking. 

Q: My fiancé and I recently visited family in Aspen, and each time we rode the gondola, it seemed as if the other passengers had a burning need to one-up us on their community connections. I was born and raised here and only moved away after college. How does one rise above when being aggressively out-Aspened by a local?

A: Indeed, for some people, advertising their localness trumps pretty much everything else. Of course, the irony is that many of them are neither native to Aspen nor live here full time—they often claim residency by virtue of vacationing during the same week each year—so first of all, congratulations on being able to respectably distinguish yourself. A C9 (for Cloud Nine) trucker hat worn everywhere but in the shower may prove you’ve got the funds to hang in Aspen, but those who hang for the scenery and not to be seen generally do it without needing to substantiate or quantify it. Try just to smile, nod, and refrain from engaging, even if multiple Polaroids of you hang on the wall at the Woody Creek Tavern or if you were Kate Hudson’s classmate at the Aspen Community School.

The best way to validate your status without proof of ID? Simply do your thing and refrain from bragging about knowing the whereabouts of the best powder stashes (because who does that, anyway?) to anyone who asks (or doesn’t). If all else fails, goggles down and ear buds in work wonders.

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