By Tucker Vest Burton, Senior Public Relations Manager, Aspen Skiing Company

After a day of softness that only comes from a steady, falling snow, the valley woke to a glistening bluebird powder day.

Under normal circumstances, the Gondy line would be down to the plaza with locals and visitors teeming for a chance at some spring powder turns. The Bowl would be back-to-back with go-getters rearing for some face shots and beers would be cracked and wine popped at numerous après ski locations around town.

Today, that is not the case. Today, we are in day 30 of the COVID-19 shutdown.

The chairlifts sit empty, hotels are closed, restaurants are shuttered and a hush looms up-and-down the Valley.

This complete shutdown of society has given us a rare opportunity to see things differently or more clearly.

As I was gliding along the skin track today, I found myself asking, what is Aspen? What is Aspen when the resorts close? When the chairlifts stop spinning? When the hotels and restaurants shutdown? What is Aspen when tourism is no longer the center of life?

I think this question, like many of life’s questions, has countless answers for different people. But as I trudged along on the skin track simply enjoying the silence of fresh snow, I couldn’t help but notice how many people were making their way up the mountain as well. I couldn’t help but notice our community.
Aspen at its core is community. Without the champagne, the dance parties, the thrum of a bustling and vibrant tourism destination, it’s a collection of people who chose to move here for many different reasons. When you take everything else away, what’s left is a community.

And a community that needs each other, now more than ever. I need you and you need me.

I need the smiling faces of the lift attendants at the bottom of the Gondy, or the friendly shopkeepers at Grape & Grain, or friend’s high-fives on the mountain, or the brief conversation with the check-out attendant at City Market.

On the flip side, our community needs me and my attempts at saying hi to everyone on the Bowl’s boot pack while grasping for air, or my chitter chatter in the gondola about the weather or snow conditions.

I need you and you need me. And we all need each other together. As a community.
"The chairlifts sit empty, hotels are closed, restaurants are shuttered and a hush looms up-and-down the Valley.This complete shutdown of society has given us a rare opportunity to see things differently or more clearly. As I was gliding alone the skin track today I found myself asking, what is Aspen?"

Tucker Vest Buton
Senior Public Relations Manager, Aspen Skiing Company
This community, under normal circumstances, is a symbiotic microcosm of constant connection that lays at the heart of what Aspen truly is.
And while right now, the world seems dire and our lack of connection hovers over our everyday lives. I still need you and you still need me. So I am going keep skinning on in silence and I am going to keep trying to tap into the vibration of our community, because while I might not see you, or I might not high-five you. I am still here. We are all still here. And we will all still be here, together, day-in-and-day-out, as a community.