Golden Years

Aspen Goes Gray

The demographics don’t lie: Aspen is aging. How can town keep ahead of the geriatric curve?

By Barry Smith February 1, 2014 Published in the Midwinter/Spring 2014 issue of Aspen Sojourner

0214 aspen goes grey main o7ufxm

Image: Thomas Cobb

Aspen isn’t getting any younger. Aspenites aren’t either. According to the 2010 census, 65 percent of Aspen residents habitually referred to any and all late-night talk shows by the generic term “Carson Show.” As this trend continues, there’ll come a time when Aspen will be considered the premier ski destination among great-grandparents nationwide. Granted, “Aspen old” isn’t like “the-rest-of-the-world old.” Just ask anyone in his thirties who’s had an octogenarian pass him while mountain biking up Smuggler Mountain. So just because Aspen gets older doesn’t mean its citizens won’t still be out there tearing it up. Still, as the Aspen population collectively enters its golden years, there are bound to be some changes happening around town.

0214 aspen goes grey geritol el9nc2

Free sunscreen at the ski lifts has always been a great idea. Can’t get enough solar protection at altitude, after all. But with advancing age comes the need for more than just an SPF top-off. In the future, look for additional dispensers as you get off the chairlift: Metamucil, Geritol, Brylcreem, Preparation H, blue rinse, insulin. No shoving, folks. Plenty for everyone.




0214 aspen goes grey toilet euso7m

Creature comforts become more of a priority as one ages. A gondola ride to a whippersnapper may seem like nothing, but as extreme seniorhood approaches, some new upgrades will need to be made. Look for reclining seats and bathrooms in your encapsulated trip up the mountain.  





0214 aspen goes grey horse jmdqta

Watching people bash themselves all over the mountain during the Winter X Games may pass as entertainment for those who don’t bruise while putting on a turtleneck, but falling forty feet and hitting your face on the frozen snow isn’t so “rad” when you’ve outlived your insurance coverage. As the X Games slowly back away, look for the Ex-Lax Games to step in and fill this slot, with new slopeside competitions that emphasize safety, practicality, and not being a “goldang fool.” But it won’t be without exciting moments, as just a few minutes of watching the Horse ’n Buggycross will prove. 

0214 aspen goes grey heater powvpe

Warming huts will no longer be exclusive to the slopes, but will be strategically placed along major streets as well as the mall. It’s cold out there, people. Shut the door! 





0214 aspen goes grey dennys d4avnj

The Guccis and Pradas of the world have often felt that having a presence in Aspen is important to their brand. As the graying of Aspen continues, other corporations will begin to take note. Expect to see high-end offerings from Denny’s and Cracker Barrel. All-you-can-eat sushi buffet, anyone? How about a $2,000 antler checkerboard from the gift shop? 



0214 aspen goes grey tony bennett shgugh

Once wisdom and maturity have fully squeezed out youth, frivolity, and the illusion of immortality, the after-hours entertainment options will begin to reflect such. Belly Up will begin booking far more shows from artists such as Prostr8-Xam, Bonedensityscan-N-Harmony, and Public Enema. 




0214 aspen goes grey tickets c9yt0z

AARP discounts on parking tickets! About time!

Show Comments