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Aspen Fairy Tales

Want to glimpse Aspen’s past through the fractured lens of popular media?

By Amanda Rae May 1, 2013 Published in the Summer 2013 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Scan the used-book shelves labeled “local” at the Woody Creek Community Center. Decades of magazines and books paint a picture of Aspen as a ski town steeped in snobbery and scandal, a snowy Shangri-La, and every imaginable in-between. The most authentic insight can be found in WC3’s array of vintage periodicals: Look magazine’s eight-page “madcap” Sundeck fashion spread from 1949; “Aspen’s Awful Problem with Surfers on Skis,” as reported by Life in 1965: or Esquire’s 1969 alarm bell, “The Vanishing Ski Bum: Last Stand of an Endangered Species.” An encyclopedia of material by Woody Creek’s finest scribe includes first editions of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Peggy Clifford’s popular, out-of-print Aspen/Dreams & Dilemmas: Love Letter to a Small Town strikes a deft balance between wistful and wicked. Happily, all of this local history is for sale. Even Playboy’s “Women of Aspen,” from February 1983.

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