Aspen Peak - - Con­tents - L’dor va’dor.

mostly slides that my mother, Leila, shot with her ever-present camera. To­gether, they’re a 60-year chron­i­cle of five closeknit Chicago clans. I had to find and buy a vin­tage slide viewer, and sort­ing them was daunt­ing. But it was less like jump­ing down a rab­bit hole and more like run­ning a downhill race, with huge com­pres­sions and sur­pris­ing jumps.

In the sum­mer of 1962, fol­low­ing a fate­ful in­vi­ta­tion from fel­low Girl Scout troop leader Mary Millard, Mom loaded the sta­tion wagon with her four chil­dren in the back, drove over In­de­pen­dence Pass when it was still a dirt road, and coasted into Shangri-La. The bait Mary had used was a sug­ges­tion that Leila au­dit pi­ano mas­ter classes at the As­pen Mu­sic Fes­ti­val. But no mat­ter: Mom fell in love with As­pen.

We were city folk—not at all a rock-climb­ing, ad­ven­tur­ous, out­door bunch. We blun­dered our way into a life­long pas­sion for hik­ing Hunter Creek, fish­ing Ma­roon Lake, ski­ing As­pen Moun­tain, hunt­ing mush­rooms, pic­nick­ing at Crater Lake, and bike riding ev­ery­where we could. We had to ease our way into it, be­com­ing one with As­pen.

As I or­ga­nized and cu­rated three hun­dred-pound boxes of slides of her chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, I dis­cov­ered gen­er­a­tions of oth­ers that Liela had turned on to As­pen via trips from Chicago—be they high-school-spon­sored or rock-hunt­ing-fo­cused. Some slides are of the early As­pen air­port and a Greyhound bus shack that dou­bled as the Rocky Moun­tain “Scare­ways” ter­mi­nal, where my father flew in on week­ends dur­ing the sum­mer, when we’d spend the whole sea­son in the valley. In the win­ter, when­ever we could, we chap­er­oned ski groups from Chicago that (clev­erly) paid for our fam­ily trips to the moun­tains.

Has the town changed? Yes. For my­self, I no longer sling soup at the Sun­deck, as I did when I moved to As­pen full-time in 1976. I’m no longer the only (though I am still the first) woman ski pa­troller on As­pen Moun­tain, a last bas­tion of ski-world male supremacy. (Ha! At least I changed one thing…) But my friend­ships have re­mained con­stant. I still ski my fa­vorite lines and moun­tain bike the Fairy Trails, where Leila adopted a gor­geous gypsy hip­pie fam­ily that lived in a teepee there. Their chil­dren were all beau­ti­ful tow­headed for­est crea­tures.

As with a long mar­riage, a town slowly be­comes a dif­fer­ent per­son to the one you mar­ried. I’ve rolled with the changes and been changed along the way; protested change and em­braced it. I’ll con­tinue to love and chron­i­cle this town as my mother did—and as I know my chil­dren will con­tinue to do.

Downhill Racer.

from left: Su­san Wa­genknecht’s Snow An­gel hats jumped out and floored me at the SIA trade show in Den­ver; en­joy­ing the World Snow Polo fi­nals at Rio Grande Park with my hus­band, Dan Sad­owsky, and our Aus­tralian shepherd, Phoebe (hers is the only real fur!); I ran into cin­e­matog­ra­pher and ski­ing leg­end Joe Jay Jal­bert at the Ho­tel Jerome ball­room, which hosted a World Cup week­end event cel­e­brat­ing 50 years of pro ski rac­ing in As­pen. Fun fact: Jal­bert was Robert Red­ford’s dou­ble in the 1969 classic

alexan­dra halperin

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