What to do about the off-season? With the flow of tourists downsizing to a trickle at the end of March, mud season in a ski town is a tough game of fight or flight. Aspen, like many other ski towns, shuts down almost completely. All but the most essential or locals-focused restaurants and purveyors shutter their doors until the busy season swings back up in June, and business owners and bartenders who slaved through enough double shifts to earn good tips retreat to Baja to surf until Memorial Day weekend. While that sounds excellent, on the flip side of the coin are often lower-level employees stuck in town with nothing to do, few ways to make money, and barely enough change left over from the winter to make it to the summer swing.
Aspen's been talking over what, if anything, it should do as a town to get more business in during April and May. Some argued at the recent city council meeting that the lodges and restaurants should lower their prices to keep a few more budget-savvy travels coming in the doors and employees on the timecard. Others pushed back, saying either that many business owners deserve the break and should if anything push for more high-season business when staff are available and trained, or simply that once the national consciousness shifts to summer, going to a ski town when the weather can still involve heavy snow or rain has "never been very marketable."