Project Aspen: The Sacrifices We Make

aspen, life, Perspective, Ski Adventures, Travel, Uncategorized


Aspen is a town of quaint luxury located in ski bum grand central station. From the world’s wealthiest to the waitresses, ski instructors, and bartenders that keep this town shaking, Aspen is a melting pot for anyone seeking adventure and an escape from what most people consider the real world. However, do not think I am claiming that Aspen is not the real world, in fact, it most certainly is. The difference is that we made a choice to make this our real world. We decided to embrace the beauty and freedom that comes with living in Aspen. Now, not all of us have embraced a so-called real job or career, but there are some of us that have. So, what does that mean? It just means we get the best of both worlds in absolute paradise.

Paradise, of course, is an objective term. Everyone’s idea of it can and may be different, however, I would argue that few can deny the majestic spell Aspen casts among the residents and tourists alike. Protruding mountain scapes, mushrooming night life, no pun and pun intended, not to mention the beautiful people, all full of life and experiences. With all that Aspen has to offer, it is no wonder that so many make this place their home, or second home. However, with that being said, there are some sacrifices to be made.

  1. If you live here full-time, you probably are not going to work for the world’s largest companies and make hundred of thousands of dollars a year. This does not mean, you cannot meet a CEO and work remotely for them, but your options are limited.

2. Say hello to continuous online shopping. Yes, there is literally no place to go buy inexpensive clothes, makeup, house supplies, furniture, etc. Even my paper towels I have resorted to bringing in the internet to help with this mundane task. The closest town for any of this is about 45 mins away, and nobody, who works, has any real time for this trek.

3. You have no choice but to become more ‘active.’ Not that this is a sacrifice, but even the most unathletic of people need to step their game up, get up in the morning and go on a hike. We live in one of the most picturesque places in the world, if you aren’t ‘getting after it’ in some form or another, you are wasting precious space. Not to mention, everyone around you is climbing fourteeners and hiking hours to go ski untouched lines. You don’t want to feel like a complete bum now, do you?

4. You will be a topic of gossip at one point or another. It’s a small town. Everyone knows everyone. Regardless of your reputation, who you hang out with, or any other variables, at some point in time, your name will be in lights (some not so bright) around town. Just the nature of small town livin’.

5. You cannot leave the house without looking like a normal person. You will always run in to someone you know. Whether you are going to the post office, the market, or simply driving across town, you will absolutely run into at least one acquaintance. This town is too small, and everybody knows everybody, so keep that in mind before you leave the house in pajamas and your makeup from last night.

6. Say goodbye to ripe avocados and delicious produce all year round. This is my tragedy. Being from San Diego, I am used to beautiful ripe avocados and fresh produce literally all year long. Not only can you not get amazing produce unless you trek down to Whole Foods, 30 mins away, it’s expensive. Adios fresh farmer’s market finds.

7. Gym memberships are expensive, and there aren’t any decent ones, so it doesn’t matter anyway. Again, being from San Diego, everyone is a member at some gym. The gyms and classes are amazing and there is a whole world of fitness activities to choose from. Aspen, however has private clubs, which are amazing, but too expensive for anyone normal to buy into. Then you have your specialized yoga and other fitness studios, which are great, but also expensive and don’t offer any variety AT ALL.

8. You are on vacation almost all the time, because people always want to come and visit. Aspen is a vacation spot for most, but the few lucky enough to reside in this jewel of a town, expect all of your friends and family to show up at one point or another. There is always somebody in town, which means, as host, you need to provide the entertainment. Prepare to be exhausted everyday, for months…

9. Getting serious work done takes serious discipline. There is always something going on in this town. Whether you are heading on a hut trip, a camping trip, a show at the Belly Up, or 1/2 off at Kenichi, there is not one day or night that doesn’t tempt you to stray from your money-maker. Living in Aspen is a true test of discipline and focus.

10. It’s a pain in the arse to get in and out of this town. Denver is 4 hours away, flights in and out of this town are not only absurdly expensive, but are cancelled half of the time. So, if you are planning on visiting the Aspen bubble, understand that there is a good chance it’s going to be a hellova process.

Yes, those are all sacrifices we must make, but in my opinion you can throw them all out the window. Why? Because these are all things that make Aspen special. This secluded, yet highly sought after wonderland, is one of the best places on earth. Anyone who disagrees hasn’t visited our sacred little town.

So, to all of those dreaming of living in paradise, where there is a will, there’s a way…



First Weekend in Mammoth

Casual Luxury, Mammoth, Ski Adventures, Ski Gear, Travel

Skis, boots, poles, gear, all packed into the back of my VW Rabbit. I was venturing to Mammoth for the first time. It’s hard to believe this was the first time I had ever skied Mammoth considering i’m from SoCal, but I had always ventured outside the state to have some snowy fun. I was stoked to get up there, check out the town, and get in some turns.

Six and a half hours after leaving San Diego, I arrived. I arrived outside the house where I was staying. It was a ski house that could hold up to 25 weekend ski bums. Weekenders are those that hold 9-5 jobs in the city, and travel in crews up to live the ski bum lifestyle for a just a couple of days. The house was full of them. I had never met any of them before, but we all had mutual friends somewhere along the way. It’s easy to bond with others in that situation when you all have one HUGE thing in common, you’re all stoked to ski. Not to mention the beers by the fire and the mass amounts of Fireball. We did that for two nights straight. Stone IPA, Fireball, beer pong, and whatever else we could find to keep up warm dominated our nights. There is nothing like sitting by the fire drinking beers with a fantastic crew after a day of skiing.

Mammoth really hasn’t been dumped on yet, so there was not a whole lot of terrain open. This turned out to actually be a good thing considering the last thing I needed was to be tempted by an super fun line. My knee was feeling strong, but there was no reason to push it seeing as it was my first day back on skis since my injury last year.

The crew showed me around the mountain, including where to find the best blood marys. Couldn’t have been more fun. We played around in the park a bit, and skied some pretty fun groomers with a few tree lines stuffed in between. Overall very mellow, but the snow was good and the smiles all around.

What I was wearing:

North Face bibs

– Armada Huntley Jacket

Hestra Pro Model 

Mons Royal base layers

– Smith Optics I/Os

– 4Frnt Arethas

All-in-all stoked to go back and explore the entire mountain that is Mammoth.

Rhodes in the Rain (and Sunshine)

Casual Luxury, Greece, Jet setting, Travel

I woke up to the jingling and jangling of bangles. Everyone already seemed to be on the deck, enjoying breakfast in what seemed to be cold, stormy weather. Once I dressed and made my way to where everyone was sitting and enjoying yet another Greek breakfast, I realized there were looks of terror on the faces of our crew. Why? Oh yes, our one day in Rhodes, and we get welcomed by a Tornado. It is apparently beautiful and sunny 320 days out of the year, and we happened to show up on one of the other 45 days. Oh well, what’s a traveler to do, but suck it up and enjoy the ride?

Once we were allowed off of the boat, naturally it started to down pour. We hopped into a car, and took off to what we hoped would be a much sunnier side of the island. We wanted to spend the first part of the day in Lindos, and the second part of the day eating and shopping in the main city. We hired a car with an awesome driver, his name was Mike. He took us on a whirlwind of a drive past the beautiful beaches, the ancient ruins, a little church called the Church of the Virgin Katholiki that holds a very important inconostasis of the Virgin Mary. Thankfully, by that time it had started to clear and the weather was becoming more and more delightful. Along the way, our driver took us on the old route to Lindos that was lined with goats, sage bushes, and plumeria trees! Minus the plumeria, the surroundings were very similar to those of Southern California.

Once we got to Lindos, the streets were packed. it is a town donned in white nestled under the grand fortress or Acropolis of Lindos. The beaches were unreal, which is what this side of the island is known for. All I wanted to do was swim, but we didn’t have the time. Instead we grabbed a Mythos with a view. On our way up from the town, we stopped at the Lindos Ice Bar to check it out. Looks to be a pretty fantastic place to stay cool and drink vodka in your puffy.

We headed back to the main town to have lunch. We had reservations at Alexis Fish Restaurant. Yes, it was, again, glorious. We also learned that there were secret tunnels that went all the way from the Castle (dating back to the Knights of Templar) to the restaurant where we sat and beyond. There was even a glass covering in the restaurant showing the tunnels underneath. Quite neat. That is something that I would have loved to do, is explore the city’s tunnels. I am sure there is a lot of history lurking down there.

Rhodes is one place that I would like to go back to and vacation for a week. I want nothing more than to sit at St. Paul’s Bay and soak up the sun, Mythos, and Greek Salads. Stay tuned for what other islands we visited…

Athens: A Historical and Gastronomical Delight

Greece, Travel

After a long journey from Paris, to Istanbul, and the Grecian Islands, we finally landed in Athens. I had never been to Athens, so I was very excited to see what this city had to offer. Once we left the boat, we were picked up in a car and driven to the Plaka, one of the oldest areas of Athens, sitting at the base of the Acropolis. We stayed at The Grand Electra Palace, a 5 star hotel with epic views.

The Electra Palace Hotel: The rooms were small but modern and nicely decorated. I did not have the greatest view, but there are rooms that have a view of the Acropolis. Service was great, all very polite and nice. The breakfast is fantastic. A huge spread of everything you can imagine. Such a great way to start the day. WiFi is only free in selected common areas, and you must pay if you’d like access while in your room.

Tudor Hall Restaurant at the King George Palace: This was one of the most fantastic restaurants I have been to. Not only was the view spectacular, the food was divine. We sat at an intimate table at the window looking onto all of Athens. Fantastic. I had a Creme of Mushroom Soup with black truffles and made with chanterelles. Unreal. For my second course, I had the lobster. Extraordinary. Others at the table had the Sea Bass, the Grilled Octopus (best I’ve ever had), and some other tantalizing gourmet creations. We ended our delectable feast with some gorgeous little sweet sensations, courtesy of the Chef. Not to mention he signed our menu as we were leaving! All-in-all, a 5 star dining experience.

Psaras Tavern: We ate here twice, need I say more? The food, the atmosphere, the service, and the house carafe of wine were all incredible. Their greek salad was the best I had while traveling, and their tarama wins the prize for all time best Tarama. That is a true accolade coming from me. Psaras is located in the Plaka, and covers about 3 different buildings and tiny streets bustling with both tourists and locals alike. During both our lunches here we sat for over 2 hours conversing, drinking, and enjoying everything the senses could take in. Tip: Ask them to let you choose your fish! The owner will take you through their kitchen, a true Grecian culinary experience if you ask me.

On our last day in Athens we ventured out to the Temple of Poseidon. The temple towers over a magnificent view of the water. A great place for a temple, I’d say. Athena may have one over Athens, but Poseidon had the view. The temple of Poseidon is quite magical and a great place to sit quietly and take it all in. It was the perfect end to an unreal trip. Tip: Take a private car out there. The trip is about an hour outside of Athens, and you definitely would not want to be sitting on a bus. It’s expensive, but worth every cent.