Eight Things That Make Aspen Residents Really, Really Mad

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4. The Winter X-Games
ESPN’s foray into ’90s-era culture — you know, back when everything from sports drinks to skateboarding was EXTREME!!! — has been going on since 2002. Every year, Aspen invites athletes and their fans from all over the globe to participate in and witness the best in winter sports of the extreme variety. The money from the event is welcome in the city coffers, clearly, but the population requires some extreme priority shifting, too, from the pampered exclusivity to something more befitting the skateboard-groupie aesthetic. Aspen doesn’t really welcome the X-Games so much as it tolerates them temporarily and begrudgingly.

3. Politics
There’s a tension in Aspen that comes from not being able to talk about things of substance in general, because the population straddles the ends of the political spectrum. The only folks who might sit in the middle political ground are generally there out of apathy, not moderation. If an Aspenite has a political affiliation, it’s going to be a strong one — either on the conservative right or on the liberal left. There’s not a lot of in-between and very little common ground, so people generally default to just standing around talking about their mutual admiration for John Denver.

2. The Ungroomed
This refers to everything from the aforementioned shaggy old-time residents who still embrace the ’60s-radical, shower-occasionally, Hunter S. Thompson Gonzo School of Aspen to dogs whose owners don’t take them to get pampered and poofed on a regular basis. “If your dog’s hair ribbon is looking bedraggled,” one Aspen homeowner suggested, “that means it’s time to get back to the salon.” This statement assumes a lot, so let’s take it one bite at a time: One, that dogs need hair ribbons. Two, that said ribbons shouldn’t be bedraggled. Three, that the word “bedraggled” is still in wide use and conversationally appropriate.

1. Global Warming
Because if anything pisses off the people of Aspen, it’s the rest of the world threatening their little part of it.

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Teague Bohlen is a writer, novelist and professor at the University of Colorado Denver. His first novel, The Pull of the Earth, won the Colorado Book Award for Literary Fiction in 2007; his textbook The Snarktastic Guide to College Success came out in 2014. His new collection of flash fiction, Flatland, is available now.
Contact: Teague Bohlen