Aspen and Afraid


Delaney Tullar

The calm of Aspen during off season.

With the off-season switch flipping back on, I believe some things should be addressed. As we know, the town of Aspen only caters to tourists. When our favorite dining spots close for the off-season, they forget that locals eat too, leaving them frantic and clueless about where they should grab a bite for lunch. The mass number of people finding ‘perfect parking’ will close just as Gucci and Prada open their doors. And drivers, watch out and brace yourselves because apparently, visitors are aware of the look both ways rule, but maybe that rule doesn’t apply on Rodeo Drive.

As we face massive local discrimination, I have developed a few tips for a helpful survival if you’re looking to make it to the new year.

Adapt to a new attitude. Encounters with tourists in town are not a time to get frustrated. You are more likely to have a positive experience if you maintain an energetic and optimistic attitude. So the next time you hear someone say, “What times do the bells ring?” as they refer to the Maroon Bells, take a breath, hold in your laugh and reply with the uttermost kindness.
Find a safe space. In some cases, time spent alone will make all the difference. When choosing your safe space, think quiet. Sometimes going into a calm environment after just having a freakout about the mass amount of people standing in the middle of the road posing for friends and ex-boyfriends to see on Instagram can calm the nerves and help relax.
Look for short lines. When going out to get lunch or any other meal during the day, you must find good time slots where the lines won’t be as crowded. Remember, long lines lead to short tempers. And I know everyone can agree that 9:00 am is the best time for lunch.
Be aware of your surroundings. Occasionally, people think that bears in Aspen walking around don’t bite or attack. If you encounter this situation, let others know that bears are not related to puppies.
The most important of all, bring a friend. By having a friend by your side, you can laugh about the entertainment happening around you. Whether it’s the many dogs dressed in Louis Vuitton matching their owners or the lines of white range rovers with new york, Dallas, and Miami plates parked on every corner.

For extra precaution, here are five items to keep on you at all times.

Bear spray, but not to use on bears. If a tourist is mad and seems like they could pounce on you at any moment, don’t be a friend to whip out the bear spray. Remember, self-defense.

Sunglasses, Nothing says don’t talk to me more than a sizable dark pair of sunglasses. I can almost guarantee no one will come up to you asking for directions to the closest local’s favorite. Be sure to keep good posture when wearing them. These sunglasses also come in handy for my favorite activity, People watching.

A ski pass, local identification, or school apparel tends to do the trick. The few remaining establishments that value the importance of locals will offer a local discount. Please use this to your advantage.

Stress ball, when the tourist you’re talking about how they have been coming here the last three summers and “don’t like the change.” Grab your stress ball and continue to smile. They will be gone next April.
Lastly, always keep a spare $100 bill, “Aspen 20,” just in case the bus is late and you have to grab a light snack.

All that being said, please remember, without this special population that flies in and calls this place home for as long as their short-term rental will allow. We wouldn’t have nearly as expensive retail stores and restaurants that we can’t afford to enjoy. Let us just remember to stay grateful, Aspen, and good luck.