Eight Things That Make Aspen Residents Really, Really Mad
Officially, Aspen sits in Colorado’s Pitkin County, but in actuality, it sits in a little reality of its own creation, where modest homes go for pornographically immodest prices, where celebrities live but tend not to be seen, where money flows like melting snow but definitely doesn’t trickle down to the person waiting on your table or pouring your beer. Aspen does not fit into Colorado, not really. Colorado fits around Aspen. Colorado is Aspen’s venue. Aspen is, always, the star.
But as we know, stars can be bitchy. What makes the good folks of Aspen grumble? Well, for starters, the universal truth that money can’t buy happiness. But aside from that? These eight.
Tourism is to Aspen what meatpacking is to Greeley: indispensable. Without tourism, Aspen would revert back to what it used to be: a sleepy old mining town barely hanging on to viability in the current century. People come to Aspen for all sorts of reasons: the shopping, the star-gazing, the general chi-chi-ness of it all. But skiing anchors it, and while every resort town will say, “We sure do appreciate our [insert itinerant population that serves as the economic base of a tourist-based community here],” that also means “We moan and bitch and laugh about you a ton right after you leave the room.”
7. Realistic Property Values
When trailers on a small plot of land go for half a mil, you know you’re in the nightmare world of real estate, when none of the normal rules apply. Aspen boasts some of the most expensive housing prices in the entire U.S., though exactly why is tough to determine. Like much of the truths about Aspen, the cost of real estate just is what it is: demanding and irrational and high. True, the town is gorgeous, but Colorado has tons of little mountain towns just as beautiful and historic. The mountains are great, but it’s a similar view to that of many other communities nestled in the Rockies. Aspen is the Kardashian of Colorado — exclusive because it’s exclusive, with a flashy self-perpetuating fame.
6. Ted Bundy
Granted, no one likes serial killers except those weirdos who collect their paintings and other items of murderabilia, and the less said about those asshats the better. But Aspen has a peculiar relationship to noted ’80s serial killer Ted Bundy, as Aspen was essentially one of his hunting grounds. In 1976, Bundy somehow intercepted 23-year-old Caryn Campbell as she went from the hotel lounge back to her room to get a magazine…and Caryn was found dead and disrobed in a snowbank over a month later. Not a great legacy for a town that wants to attract visitors to those hotels, and to enjoy those snowbanks.
At this point in its history, many of the houses bought and built in and around Aspen aren’t meant for year-round living. If you’re lucky enough to have a pile of money that you want to invest in a property that you might use one weekend every other year, then you’re one kind of Aspen citizen — the kind who gets invited to the Koch brothers’ New Year's bashes in Aspen’s West End. And if you are, you’re probably annoyed by the other kind, which is the hippie old-timers who remember when the place wasn’t so lousy with money, and who write letters to the editor at the local paper bemoaning the Trumping of America.
Keep reading for five more things that make residents mad.
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