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The Locals' Way in Aspen

By Tess Strokes | October 22, 2019 | Lifestyle

Residents share their advice on area etiquette for visitors (and locals).


“Passing” isn’t just a term for trails and can be announced on the Bowl bootpack.

Few actions scream “tourist” louder than resting in the middle of the Highland Bowl bootpack, walking four abreast on the Rio Grande bike path, approaching wildlife, or chatting on your phone while trying to load your skis in the gondola. Here, locals offer sound advice for visitors who want to fit in responsibly.


“The biggest faux pas on the Bowl is, of course, stopping in the bootpack. Everyone should take the time and rest they need—it’s a huge job for most visitors—but it needs to be off to the side of the track. Otherwise it’s akin to stopping in the middle of a freeway and you’re going to elicit road rage from the folks behind!” –John Gaston, co-founder, Strafe Outerwear


“Stay to the right and announce before passing. We all share the trails and a simple ‘On your right’ followed by a ‘Thank you’ or ‘Have a great day’ can go a long way. It’s all of our responsibilities to be aware out there. Make sure you are paying attention so you know when there are people behind you that need to pass, and don’t block the path or trail.” –Lindsey Utter, planning and outreach manager, Pitkin County Open Space and Trails


“Always lock your car doors and keep food out of vehicles. Keep front
doors and ground-floor windows of homes locked. Bring bird feeders inside,
and do not leave pet food outdoors. Never approach or gather around bears or any wildlife, but if you encounter a bear, stay calm; don’t run; back away slowly; and avoid eye contact.” –Kurtis Tesch, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife district wildlife officer


“Private lessons do not get you a private gondola cabin. Your cellphone call can and should be done before you load. Prematurely closing cabin doors will ensure you do not get a private cabin. Pretending to mistake the singles line with your friends will get you split up. Yoga starts at 10:30am, and the gondola opens at 9:55am [in the summer]—relax, you have time.” – Lisa Glock and Janine Bienkowski, Silver Queen Gondola operators


Photography by: Jeremy Swanson courtesy of Aspen Skiing Company