Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Australia Day in the Highlands

Just as cane toads have infested Australia, so too have Australians overrun the world.

Further proof of this Aussie invasion emerged today, when even here in Colorado's Rocky Mountains the slopes pulled out all the stops to celebrate Australia Day.

They're clearly no strangers to Australians in these parts, but it was surprising to see so many Americans getting in the Australia Day spirit.

It started soon after sunrise when the local television channel had Neil Perry on to discuss Australia's (ahem) contribution to global cuisine.

After declaring that Aspen was his second most favourite place in the world after Sydney, he then tried to explain the concept of Vegemite to the bemused hosts.

Clearly bedazzled by our culinary offering, one of the hosts then enthused that there would be meat pie tasting competitions and barbecues across the slopes today.

Adding to the festivities, the ski lifts started an hour earlier today (because god knows we just love an early start).

Sadly, I was not out of bed in time to take advantage of this.  But when I did stumble into my ski boots, it was to catch the bus to nearby Aspen Highlands.

Aspen Highlands

Here, the lifts were adorned with Australian flags, INXS was blaring on the speakers and an inflatable kangaroo was keeping watch.

Further up the hill, many skiers had Australian flags tucked into their helmets.   I was surprised to find that many of these flag wavers weren't actually Aussies, but happy to get into the spirit anyway. One lady was from Austria - that's kind close enough to count.

Cruising into one of the lifts, the attendant, looking resplendent with an Australian flag (hopefully temporary) tattoo on his face, offered me a Tim Tam.

"It's like a Twix," he reliably informed me.
One of the key things you need to know about Australia... we have the highest price of electricity?

Aspen Highlands covers a ridgeline, with runs falling off the spine.   There's a lot of double diamond and diamond runs here, but for me it was the rolling blue lines that kept me occupied.

Looking at the map, I initially thought I would only spend a morning here, but the sunshine, uncrowded lift lines and endless Australiana had me captivated for the entire day.

Pulling in for lunch presented another opportunity to re-connect with the Motherland.  Dingo Burger anyone?  Mmmm, just like the ones we have at home.

The afternoon allowed more exploration of the mountain, assisted by a guy dressed as a kangaroo.

The guy in orange is a kangaroo... obviously
As I unclicked my boots at the end of the day, I had the startling realisation that Americans celebrate Australia Day better than we do.

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