Here to help you navigate the sometimes impractical mountain life is the word of a true local’s local and a keen observer of life in the 81611.
Take a cue from The Great Outdoors (1988) and don’t feed (or take selfies) with the bears that come to town to forage during the late summer months.
How should I balance food and wine at the Food & Wine Classic?
On its face, you’d think the question was about food and wine intake. It’s not. It’s literally about balancing beverages and plates of food, most notably at Grand Tasting-type events. The opportunity to double, triple or even quadruple fist will present itself; you just have to take it one glass and plate at a time, with the exception of the longer lines when you have time to consume multiple drinks. Also, if you’re dedicated to swiping swag, wait until the latter half of the event so you don’t get bogged down holding seven sets of free sunglasses.
I work out all the time back at home but people are still passing me on hiking trails. How do I keep up?
The short answer is, you don’t. While I’m sure your CrossFit class at sea level may be strenuous, the altitude and Aspen residents take things to a higher level. Pitkin County regularly makes the list of the country’s most fit counties, and that person who jogged by you while you were laboring up the trail on a mountain bike may have been a sponsored alpine or even Olympic athlete. Think of that friend who’s always on a cleanse and trying new exercises like “Pilates over an open flame,” and that’s your typical Aspen fitness junkie. It’s in the best interest of your health to just chalk it up as a loss.
How much should I tip “street performers”?
While Aspen has its allotment of transients, you’ll notice they’re not the ones setting up shop on street corners. It’s a different breed of hustler, aka broke Aspen Music Festival and School students. While these students are a part of hundreds of shows at the festival, they often hold impromptu concerts on the Hyman Avenue Pedestrian Mall and other places, making Aspen a surreal paradise of fountains and Beethoven in the summer months. Any tip you give them will most likely go to their beer funds, which hopefully will go to their bartenders. Recommendation: modest generosity.
What treats can I feed the bears?
*Face palm* Please don’t feed the bears. They’re several hundred pounds of muscle and it’s imperative they don’t become accustomed to human food. During the fall bears are in hyperphagia phase, storing up for winter hibernation by attempting to eat 20,000 calories a day. Lock your doors at night; they know their way around a Sub-Zero.
Photography by: PHOTO COURTESY OF THE EVERETT COLLECTION