Rants & Essays
Anka Does Aspen
Aspen, Colorado - the glamorous town where movie stars have
vacation houses and the place where Marla and Ivana faced off on the slopes.
Tacky celebrities in a ritzy, decadent resort with breathtaking scenery? I'm
there. Besides, when I heard there were five men to every woman I was ready for
some high-altitude heavy breathing.
The last time I went to a ski resort my sexuality had not
yet sprouted yet I vividly remember how handsome the ski instructors were -
Swedish Sven dolls with tanned faces, white teeth and enormous cheekbones. But
on my first day in town, as I sat outside the Aspen ski school, most of the
instructors I saw looked like leather-faced playboys from 1975 - "lifers" who
tried to hit on me using out-of-it icebreakers like "Do I give private lessons?
You bet!" This was the first sign that this might not be my scene. The second
was seeing Regis Philbin prance by in a snowsuit.
After this sighting, I walked around the charming old mining
town lined with quaint Victorian houses and authentic-looking Marlboro men in
western wear. Since it was too late in the day to ski I decided to do the
apres-ski scene at the Little Nell, the pickup spot that I was told was the
place to be seen. The parade of fashion was delightfully appalling, including
such Dynasty-circa-1985 getups as the big ol' fur coat with red cowboy
hat and white boots. The place looked like a plastic surgery convention: There
were more lifts in the room than on the slopes. Many women were wearing the
ubiquitous skintight ski pants I came to call "snatch huggers." One sexy ski
bunny's pants were so tight and her lips so puffy I thought she'd had a labial
Blinded by all the neon snowsuits I stumbled outside and saw
three sweet Kurt Cobain look-alikes with amazing facial hair carrying
snowboards. As I stood there salivating over them one of the men I'd met inside
approached me again. He was sporting a yellow ski suit with zebra stripes
accessorized with a reconstructed, ski-jump nose. When he saw me looking at the
three dudes he said, "I don't care much for snowboarders." When I asked why
not, he said, "Well, for one thing they don't dress very well."
That night I heard about one of the big society parties of
the season, an extravagant bash thrown by one of the town's several
zillionaires. Last year's party was rumored to cost $250,000. (It was also
rumored to have naked chicks in the hot tub.)
Naturally I wasn't on the guest list so I cordially invited
myself. After being rejected by five surly security men I resorted to sneaking
in with one of the parking valets. The room was an odd mix of debs in tasteful
black dresses with their tuxedoed husbands and Hollywood types in their fifties
with Anna Nicole Smith clones. There were so many women dressed in skintight
peekaboo lace dresses with no bras that I didn't need a metal detector to find
the gold diggers. There was also a pack of Pamela Anderson wannabes with lip
implants and matching boob jobs. In fact, everyone's breasts were so perky that
night, I was afraid their balloons might pop in the high altitude.
Making my way across the room I saw Diana Ross descended
upon by a throng of hungry paparazzi, one of whom pushed me into a hors
d'oeuvres table in his fury to snap a picture. Then a guy - one of the few gay
men I met in Aspen - scraped dip from my elbow with a cracker and said,
Upstairs I watched a suit from L.A. vacuum a whole mountain
of powder up his nose. When he approached me I asked him, "So what brings you
to Aspen?" and he said, "I'm here to get laid." Then, as if I were a man, he
said, "There sure are a lot of great tits here." Yeah, I thought, the best
money can buy.
The second day, repulsed by the ski scene, I hit the
Alternative Edge, one of Aspen's snowboarding stores. There I met Heidi, a
boardin' Betty who was also shopping and helped me pick out my deliberately
unmatching, oversized total shredder outfit.
The next morning I went for my first snowboarding lesson
taught by a cute female and an even cuter guy. I was with five other people
who, like me, all kept falling down. In fact, the hardest part of snowboarding
is getting back up because you are strapped to a fiberglass board with bindings
and cement-like boots. The most exhilarating part is cruising down the mountain
once you've learned how to balance on the board using your toes and heels to
carve out turns. Snowboarding is like a cross between skateboarding and
surfing: it's rock 'n' roll, which is why I like it. It takes determination and
a few days to learn, which is why I diligently continued even after I fell
face-first into the snow and my "waterproof" mascara started dripping down my
cheeks giving me that attractive Tammy Faye Bakker look.
On the third night I met Heidi for dinner and she helped me
pick up a cute snowboarder named Andy who had muscles and long black hair that
made him look like a Native American Fabio. As he passed the restaurant we
waved at him through the window, blowing kisses and giggling like complete
idiots. When he put his face up to the window we invited him in. I hadn't met a
guy that easily and innocently in years. After making this love connection we
went to the pool hall where the shredders hang out. Here we saw Johnny Depp
with Kate Moss and Uma Thurman with a regular-guy looking date.
This is when I realized that Aspen was like one big high
school, with everyone divided into cliques: jock yuppies from L.A., wealthy oil
people from Texas, friendly locals, celebrities (Kurt Russel, Jack Nicholson,
and one of the chicks on Melrose Place), ski instructors (sometimes
known as "sleazies") and anti-chic snowboarders. The skiers and shredders hate
each other. Skiers, who think they rule the slopes, like being comfortable and
prosperous and are convinced that they're superior. They think snowboarders
have a bad attitude, no money and no manners. Snowboarders think skiers are
obsessed with money, are anal retentive and suck.
On my fourth day in Aspen, but only my second day on the
slopes, I went snowboarding with Andy who offered to give me "private lessons."
On the chair lift we were screaming because the powder looked so sweet. He
kissed me on the cheek. I was so moved by the beautiful scenery that I let my
tongue slalom down his throat.
As I stood on top of the extremely steep mountain I looked
down and visualized how sexy I would look in a full-body cast. Then I thought
of Heidi's warning: "Snowboarder guys won't think you're rad if you're not a
good rider." That's when I flew down the slope, trying to keep up with Andy,
who was ripping like a pro. He was patient and had to keep from laughing only
once when I fell repeatedly going down a bumpy, gnarly hill which we named
Afterward Andy and I went to do the scene at the "rider"
version of apres-ski - a woody bar whose ladies' room was plastered with
graffiti such as "I saw Michael Bolton on Bunny Hill and he looked really bald"
and "I did the men's room at Aspen Highlands."
The next day, after another lesson, I was finally cruising,
experiencing the cheap thrill of snowboarding. It was almost orgasmic: an
exhilarating whoosh of squatting and hip-twisting with all this white stuff
flying in my face.
That night Andy and I took a tour of the town in the
Ultimate Taxi, a ridiculously souped-up cab covered with blinking lights.
Inside it was a party on wheels with a spinning mirrored ball, a fog machine
and a microphone attached to the dashboard for spontaneous karaoke. We asked
for the antiestablishment tour and our disco driver obliged us by cruising
around the relics of Aspen's counter-cultural past, including the psychedelic
Mushroom House, where ex-Playboy Bunny Barbi Benton once lived; a large
teepee-shaped house built by a bunch of hippies in the '70s; and a house with
an enormous middle finger on the roof - a perpetual message from one man to his
Back at the romantic Hotel Lenado Andy did the
rustic-mountain-man thing and built a fire. Despite the tacky tourists I liked
Aspen's earthiness, but at that moment what I liked most about Aspen was Andy.
Especially when he addressed me in his New Orleans drawl as "darlin'" - a first
for the urban Anka. As the flames crackled I played with his hair; he hugged me
and told me how I needed a man who would be sweet to me. I admitted I hadn't
experienced that in a while.
Then we talked about the Zen of snowboarding. Apparently,
either the conversation or the fire got him hot because he took off his shirt.
Howdy, six-pack! Then I took my shirt off and introduced him to Anka's
Darlin's. Suddenly our conversation shifted to the "pure physicality" of
boarding. Things started to snowball. Andy avalanched me with passionate
kisses. As the windows fogged up I felt a ski pole rub up against my leg and
then knock on the door of my love lodge.