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Riccardo Savi/Aspen Institute

As more people get vaccinated and temperatures warm up across the country, people have nostalgia for the before times — before the pandemic, that is. Recent data suggest that nearly two-thirds of Americans are intending to travel for vacations, and some are planning overdue family gatherings. Others still are getting back into specific summer habits, and looking forward to the many summer-long festivals the region has to offer.  

Courtesy Theatre Aspen
Courtesy Theatre Aspen


Years before Beth Malone found fame on Broadway for her work in the musical “Fun Home,” and a Tony Award nomination along the way, she called the Roaring Fork Valley home. Malone, a Colorado native, came to the Aspen area in 1992 to perform at the now-closed Crystal Palace. 

Courtesy Aspen Film

Women filmmakers are getting attention at this year’s Aspen Film Shortsfest, which also happens to be the organization’s 30th annual short film festival. Nearly 3,000 films were submitted for this year’s Shortsfest—80 were chosen for this year’s virtual event, and 55 of those selections were directed or co-directed by women. That’s over two-thirds of this year’s featured Shortsfest films. 

Aspen Historical Society


Dr. Duane Vandenbusche was designated as Colorado’s State Historian this past Colorado Day, Aug. 1, 2020, a title that he will hold until Colorado Day this year. Vandenbusche is also the state’s longest serving professor; he started teaching at Western State University in Gunnison in 1962, and he has authored a handful of books that have become the go-to classroom texts for Western Slope history. This week, he will join Aspen Historical Society for a virtual event covering Aspen and the state’s colorful ski history.

Courtesy Jody Guralnick

Aspen-area artist Jody Guralnick is one of the first exhibiting artists in the Denver Botanic Gardens’ Freyer-Newman Center. The center is the final piece of the organization’s $116 million redevelopment plan that has taken a decade to come to fruition. The indoor-outdoor space encompasses 100,000 square feet of classrooms, art galleries, research labs and a library billed as “a physical manifestation of the Gardens’ celebration of the fusion of science and art.” 

Courtesy Aspen Gay Ski Week

Since debuting over 40 years ago, Aspen Gay Ski Week has distinguished itself as the country’s longest running gay ski week. It’s also the largest normally with about 5,000 people descending on Aspen for a week filled with pool parties, après-ski gatherings, events at the Belly Up music venue, and a downhill costume competition on Aspen Mountain.

But this year isn’t normal as COVID-19 cases rise, and Aspen Gay Ski Week, Jan. 17-24 will look a little different. Organizers are calling this year’s celebration “Aspen Gay Ski Week Lite,” and the more social components of the annual pride festival will be scaled back to online events as Pitkin Country increases restrictions.   

Courtesy Carbondale Clay Center

Before COVID-19 hit, arts and cultural events and institutions made up 12 percent of the Pitkin County economy, according to a 2019 study recently released by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association. That equals nearly half a billion dollars in economic output, and it is higher than the statewide average. The monetary value ripples up and down the valley, and data from 2018 point to over 3,000 jobs within the Roaring Fork Valley coming from the creative economy.

Alex Hager

The ski mountains are open and Christmas is less than a month away. In Aspen, many businesses reliant on tourists and the dollars they bring during the snowier months will face a bevy of new challenges in a mid-pandemic winter.

Courtesy Aspen Center for Environmental Studies

A new coffee table book from The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies documents Aspen’s surroundings through photos and essays. The book is called “The Hidden Life Around Us,” and includes over 400 species of plants, animals, bugs and fungi surveyed at the organization’s 25-acre Hallam Lake Nature Preserve in Aspen.

David Hiser

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of Hunter S. Thompson’s historic race to become sheriff of Pitkin County, the new documentary, “Freak Power: the Ballot or the Bomb,” debuts on Friday, Oct. 23. While the film chronicles the gonzo journalist’s 1970 campaign in Aspen, parts of it feel eerily similar to today.

Courtesy Aspen Film

When Aspen Film kicks off its 41st annual FilmFest on Thursday, Oct. 15 , it might be nostalgic for local filmgoers; the festival is hosting its opening and closing night screenings in-person at Aspen’s Isis Theatre.

Daniel Bayer Photography


Have you ever fallen in love with a place, and seen it change before your eyes? That’s the question local writers were asked for the Community Office for Resource Efficiency, or CORE’s, month-long storytelling workshop in August, in partnership with the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies (ACES) and Lead with Love. Local storyteller Alya Howe worked with writers to develop their own tales for the workshop’s theme, “Climate of Love,” which explores climate change in the Roaring Fork Valley. 

Courtesy of Anto Sweetapple

The scheduled start of the Colorado ski season is only about three months away – and with snow falling on the tops of nearby peaks just this week, it’s hard not to wonder what a winter on the slopes is going to look like during a pandemic. 

Strange Dirt/Courtesy Skye Gallery

Denver artist Marsha Robinson goes by Strange Dirt, and her first solo exhibition just opened at Skye Gallery in downtown Aspen. The collection is called "Sanctuary," and features an array of flora, fauna and bugs drawn by the self-taught artist. 

Daniel Bayer Photography

Have you ever fallen in love with a place, and seen it change before your eyes? That's the question at the root of the Community Office for Resource Efficiency's (CORE) storytelling workshop, which runs throughout the month of August (August 6-27).

Courtesy Julieta Cervantes/Theatre Aspen



Carolee Carmello is a Broadway star and a three-time Tony Award nominee. Monday evening (August 3), she headlines Theatre Aspen’s Celebrity Concert Series. It’s her first time back in front of a live audience since COVID-19 shut down performances around the country, including her tour of “Hello, Dolly!” She spoke to Aspen Public Radio about Monday's show.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

For a ski rental shop at the base of Aspen Mountain, winter means big business when the resort opens. But right now, it’s pretty hard to say exactly what challenges will come with a mid-pandemic ski season.

Courtesy Reina Katzenberger

Artists and cultural organizations were financially hit especially hard early on during the pandemic. Their lost revenue is still piling up due to cancellations of in-person exhibitions, concerts and shows.

Reina Katzenberger isn’t immune from that trend. She’s a mixed media artist who grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley. In 2014, she opened The Project Shop in Carbondale.

Jeremy Swanson/Aspen Skiing Company



This is Week in the Arts—a curation of virtual events, exhibits and reopenings around the Roaring Fork Valley.

Theatre Aspen kicks off its summer season at the Hurst Theatre in Aspen’s John Denver Sanctuary this week, with Broadway star Beth Malone on Monday, and the theatre company’s cabaret series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. 

Courtesy Skye Gallery/Intersect Aspen

Despite COVID-19, the art fair formerly known as Art Aspen is returning this year—that is, with a new name and a virtual platform. The annual event is now called Intersect Aspen (July 22-26), and will be hosted entirely online due to ongoing public health protocols. Participants who log in for the event, however, can still expect to see a huge mix of galleries, and featured artists and their work.

Courtesy Aspen Historical Society/Ross Daniels

Aspen Historical Society has been slowly reopening its museums since social distancing guidelines started easing in late spring. The Wheeler/Stallard Museum opened in late June, and on Tuesday, July 14, the museum unveils its newest exhibit "Decade by Decade: Aspen Revealed."

Courtesy of Theatre Aspen


The details of Theatre Aspen’s 2020 summer season are still being worked out due to COVID-19. Taking center stage, however, are essential workers and local leaders who have served the community during the pandemic.

Julio Diez


Aspen-based company Detailing HQ usually provides cleaning and paint touch-ups for cars. But now, owner Jake Greene is offering disinfecting services for essential businesses and workers on the frontlines of COVID-19.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

On Tuesday, voters in fourteen states will pick their preferred democratic candidate to face off against likely GOP nominee President Donald Trump in November’s general election. Colorado is among the states holding a primary on Super Tuesday.

Aspen Public Radio analyzed a year of individual contribution data from the Federal Election Commission, a government agency that keeps track of campaign finance information.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Presidents Day weekend marks one of the busiest on the calendar for Roaring Fork Valley hotels, and this year is no exception.

The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association says the long weekend lines up with Valentine’s Day and attracts Front Range visitors looking for a romantic getaway. Lisa Langer, the chamber’s director of tourism promotion, says she heard from about nine hotels that plan to be at or near capacity for part of the weekend.


Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

Four teams carved elaborate snow sculptures in downtown Aspen over the weekend, competing in Wintersculpt, part of the Wintersköl celebration. One team made up of students at Aspen Middle School called themselves “Need for Green."

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

The City of Aspen hosts a “Feedback Forum” next week, where officials are hoping to get public input on four different city projects. The open meetings will be held on Dec. 4 at the Limelight hotel in Aspen.

Alex Hager / Aspen Public Radio

It’s a dark October night in Aspen, and there’s a chill in the air. That’s not unusual for late fall in the Rockies. But tonight, there’s even more reason to feel a shiver. We’re on a journey through decades of macabre mountain tales with a tour called “Aspen’s Dark Side.”

Aspen introduced the Food Sales Tax Refund in 1970, and while the amount reimbursed has increased, many feel it doesn’t go far enough.


New wildlife ordinance has teeth

Jun 8, 2018

After a series of incidents between humans and wildlife - particularly with bears -  it is now illegal to harass wild animals in the City of Aspen. The new ordinance doubles fees for harassing wildlife within city limits.