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The Other Sides of Aspen: Party All Night


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The participants have spent years honing their skills. They’ve upped their stamina levels, learned to deal with sleep deprivation, and figured out precisely what combination of liquids and other substances will keep things rolling all night. The racers in the 24 Hours of Aspen, right? Nope. We’re talking about another type of endurance athlete: the partyers. One reveler’s highlights from the 1998 event:

7:46 p.m. The racers have been hammering laps since noon when the evening’s first fur coat boards the gondola for the sold-out, $100-per-ticket Hard Rock party at the Sundeck.

9:00 p.m. In the gondola: “I’m meeting Cindy Crawford and Chevy Chase at the Caribou Club…call me on my cell phone and I’ll come get you in,” says Jerry, a 21-year-old who drove from Vegas in his new Hummer.

9:59 p.m. The first party foul: A young blond woman pitches her cocktail into the chest of a man wearing a puffy wool beret, black leather jacket, tailored black pants, black leather boots, and a silk scarf. The two leave together a short time later.

10:30 p.m. Despite the preponderance of models, leather pants, silicone breasts, and a stunning Jodi Foster, the annual Hard Rock party isn’t living up to its billing: “Last year, there were drunk chicks in furs puking,” complains one veteran.

11:34 p.m. The U.S. men’s team¿Aspen locals Tyler Williams and Chris Davenport¿whips past, on lap 32, fueled by a large gondola delivery from Takah Sushi.

12:25 a.m. Four volunteers load a passed-out drunk into the gondola, luggage-style.

12:41 a.m. Reports confirm that the Pennywise punk show at the Double Diamond is a success: “Chins and heads got split open, and there was blood everywhere.”

12:43 a.m. As Williams and Davenport enter their gondola car, a crowd of spectators surges forward and crashes through the metal barrier to pound on the car. The boys are in second, 20 seconds back.

1:08 a.m. A man urinates on the sidewalk outside the Double Diamond. Racers, meanwhile, urinate in buckets on the gondola.

4:07 a.m. The boozy crowd at the bottom of the course cheers as an Aspen local arrives with a huge black wok and begins pounding it against the bleachers.

4:20 a.m. The railing of the bleachers breaks.

5:06 a.m. On lap 53, the U.S. men take the lead, by three seconds.

8:21 a.m. Like the racers, the all-nighters are energized by the sun, and pick up the pace.

12:20 p.m. The U.S. team has won the race in 77 laps. The racers pop champagne corks and start dousing each other, and the emcee announces that “Everybody’s invited over to the Aspen Club Lodge¿the party’s just beginning.”

Go back to The Other Sides of Aspen.