Have You Fallen In Love With Aspen Yet?

Have You Fallen In Love With Aspen Yet?

Aspen X Games

As your lungs fill with cool air and you watch the fresh powder hit the mountain your mind goes to a spectacular place, a place of fearlessness and excitement. With these emotions your body is aware of its inner adventurer, realizing it is just you and the mountains and you are ready to conquer them! I imagine this to be the thoughts of a pro winter athlete as they take on the Aspen X Games. You see the skier taking off with speed to hit a jump which flies them into the air sometimes landing backwards and still making it down safely. You see the snowboarder taking each turn up the half pipe with twists and spins and you see the snowmobiles flipping off of the jumps. Each trick is met with a gasp or a cheer in the crowd. The Aspen X Games has everything to offer for your entertainment needs from concerts and views to athletes and celebrities, not to mention being so close to downtown Aspen.

As for Aspen itself, it has held the X Games since 2002 making this year its 15th anniversary! The town is so different from others considering its size and attraction. Most tourist towns are much larger and run down while Aspen continues to stick to their historic character, cleanliness and energizing feel. It’s a place where everyone is excited for the day! And snow is not a hassle, it’s a gift! Their public bathrooms are the cleanest I have ever seen, not to mention the town. Each building looking as if it were on display and the employees are ready to take on the day. Since most of the stores have become utilized for upscale shopping they attract many well-known and wealthy people. However, before you go booking your ticket remember that Aspen is a place of adventure most have not seen before. People that travel there for vacation are not looking to lay down and relax, they are looking for a place to unwind their mind and leap out of their comfort zone.

Which brings me back to the activities, if you have ever skied before and loved it, this is the place for you. They have mountains of every size and shape for you to practice on and they are thousands of feet in the air, which means your ride down the mountain will long and extremely scenic! Which is where they must have come up with the idea of the X Games being held there. The week of the X Games each year is one of the busiest times of the year for Aspen, people come from all over the world to stay in the Roaring Fork Valley and travel to the X Games each day of their stay. Although Aspen does have much more to offer than the X Games like hiking, biking, and even surfing certain times of the year. Not to forget a stop at the hot springs to relax your muscles after all that enjoyment! Aspen will have you full exhilaration and knocking things off your bucket list you didn’t even know where on there.

Cover Image Credit: Ben Ford

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Your Wait time At Theme Parks Is Not Unfair, You're Just Impatient

Your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself.


Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios "unboxed" on June 30, 2018. My friend and I decided to brave the crowds on opening day. We got to the park around 7 AM only to find out that the park opened around 6 AM. Upon some more scrolling through multiple Disney Annual Passholder Facebook groups, we discovered that people were waiting outside the park as early as 1 AM.

We knew we'd be waiting in line for the bulk of the Toy Story Land unboxing day. There were four main lines in the new land: the line to enter the land; the line for Slinky Dog Dash, the new roller coaster; the line for Alien Spinning Saucers, the easier of the new rides in the land; Toy Story Mania, the (now old news) arcade-type ride; and the new quick-service restaurant, Woody's Lunchbox (complete with grilled cheese and "grown-up drinks").

Because we were so early, we did not have to wait in line to get into the land. We decided to ride Alien Spinning Saucers first. The posted wait time was 150 minutes, but my friend timed the line and we only waited for 50 minutes. Next, we tried to find the line for Slinky Dog Dash. After receiving conflicting answers, the runaround, and even an, "I don't know, good luck," from multiple Cast Members, we exited the land to find the beginning of the Slinky line. We were then told that there was only one line to enter the park that eventually broke off into the Slinky line. We were not about to wait to get back into the area we just left, so we got a Fastpass for Toy Story Mania that we didn't plan on using in order to be let into the land sooner. We still had to wait for our time, so we decided to get the exclusive Little Green Man alien popcorn bin—this took an entire hour. We then used our Fastpass to enter the land, found the Slinky line, and proceeded to wait for two and a half hours only for the ride to shut down due to rain. But we've come this far and rain was not about to stop us. We waited an hour, still in line and under a covered area, for the rain to stop. Then, we waited another hour and a half to get on the ride from there once it reopened (mainly because they prioritized people who missed their Fastpass time due to the rain). After that, we used the mobile order feature on the My Disney Experience app to skip part of the line at Woody's Lunchbox.

Did you know that there is actually a psychological science to waiting? In the hospitality industry, this science is the difference between "perceived wait" and "actual wait." A perceived wait is how long you feel like you are waiting, while the actual wait is, of course, the real and factual time you wait. There are eight things that affect the perceived wait time: unoccupied time feels longer than occupied time, pre-process waits feel longer than in-process waits, anxiety makes waits feel longer, uncertain waits are longer than certain waits, unexplained waits are longer than explained waits, unfair waits are longer than equitable waits, people will wait longer for more valuable service and solo waiting feels longer than group waiting.

Our perceived wait time for Alien Spinning Saucers was short because we expected it to be longer. Our wait for the popcorn seemed longer because it was unoccupied and unexplained. Our wait for the rain to stop so the ride could reopen seemed shorter because it was explained. Our wait between the ride reopening and getting on the coaster seemed longer because it felt unfair for Disney to let so many Fastpass holders through while more people waited through the rain. Our entire wait for Slinky Dog Dash seemed longer because we were not told the wait time in the beginning. Our wait for our food after placing a mobile order seemed shorter because it was an in-process wait. We also didn't mind wait long wait times for any of these experiences because they were new and we placed more value on them than other rides or restaurants at Disney. The people who arrived at 1 AM just added five hours to their perceived wait

Some non-theme park examples of this science of waiting in the hospitality industry would be waiting at a restaurant, movie theater, hotel, performance or even grocery store. When I went to see "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom," the power went out in the theater right as we arrived. Not only did we have to wait for it to come back and for them to reset the projectors, I had to wait in a bit of anxiety because the power outage spooked me. It was only a 30-minute wait but felt so much longer. At the quick-service restaurant where I work, we track the time from when the guest places their order to the time they receive their food. Guests in the drive-thru will complain about 10 or more minute waits, when our screens tell us they have only been waiting four or five minutes. Their actual wait was the four or five minutes that we track because this is when they first request our service, but their perceived wait begins the moment they pull into the parking lot and join the line because this is when they begin interacting with our business. While in line, they are experiencing pre-process wait times; after placing the order, they experience in-process wait times.

Establishments in the hospitality industry do what they can to cut down on guests' wait times. For example, theme parks offer services like Disney's Fastpass or Universal's Express pass in order to cut down the time waiting in lines so guests have more time to buy food and merchandise. Stores like Target or Wal-Mart offer self-checkout to give guests that in-process wait time. Movie theaters allow you to check in and get tickets on a mobile app and some quick-service restaurants let you place mobile or online orders. So why do people still get so bent out of shape about being forced to wait?

On Toy Story Land unboxing day, I witnessed a woman make a small scene about being forced to wait to exit the new land. Cast Members were regulating the flow of traffic in and out of the land due to the large crowd and the line that was in place to enter the land. Those exiting the land needed to wait while those entering moved forward from the line. Looking from the outside of the situation as I was, this all makes sense. However, the woman I saw may have felt that her wait was unfair or unexplained. She switched between her hands on her hips and her arms crossed, communicated with her body language that she was not happy. Her face was in a nasty scowl at those entering the land and the Cast Members in the area. She kept shaking her head at those in her group and when allowed to proceed out of the land, I could tell she was making snide comments about the wait.

At work, we sometimes run a double drive-thru in which team members with iPads will take orders outside and a sequencer will direct cars so that they stay in the correct order moving toward the window. In my experience as the sequencer, I will inform the drivers which car to follow, they will acknowledge me and then still proceed to dart in front of other cars just so they make it to the window maybe a whole minute sooner. Not only is this rude, but it puts this car and the cars around them at risk of receiving the wrong food because they are now out of order. We catch these instances more often than not, but it still adds stress and makes the other guests upset. Perhaps these guests feel like their wait is also unfair or unexplained, but if they look at the situation from the outside or from the restaurant's perspective, they would understand why they need to follow the blue Toyota.

The truth of the matter is that your perceived wait time is always going to be longer than your actual wait time if you can't take a minute to focus on something other than yourself. We all want instant gratification, I get it. But in reality, we have to wait for some things. It takes time to prepare a meal. It takes time to experience a ride at a theme park that everyone else wants to go on. It takes time to ring up groceries. It takes patience to live in this world.

So next time you find yourself waiting, take a minute to remember the difference between perceived and actual wait times. Think about the eight aspects of waiting that affect your perceived wait. Do what you can to realize why you are waiting or keep yourself occupied in this wait. Don't be impatient. That's no way to live your life.

Cover Image Credit:

Aranxa Esteve

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the best vacation to go on while you're still young

My experience in the most beautiful country I have ever been to: Greece.


When I was sixteen, me and my family decided to go on a vacation to Greece during our summer vacation. We went with another family that had relatives living in Greece. I always believe going on vacation with another family is very healthy - or else you will get sick of your family.

We first flew from Boston to Athens and then spent two days in the city. We had been warned that since Greece's economy was not doing great, that Athens was going to be kind of a mess. However, we completely disagreed. The city is beautiful and there are lots of things to do. The streets are white marble and the people are very friendly. We went to the Acropolis (because you can't go to Athens and not go) and it was amazing to see how much history the city had. It was an unbelievable city.

After Athens, we went to the island of Santorini. We stayed in the part of the island called Oia, which was known for having amazing sunsets. Santorini is just how the pictures look, beautiful white houses with blue roofs on a hill down to the beautiful blue water. We found beaches and rocks to go cliff jumping off. We even rode donkeys upstairs to get back to the town where our houses were that we rented. That was a little scary, however, as the donkey's hooves slipped on the marble stairs as they carried you up. We watched the famous sunset - well as much as we could because it was filled with tourists with their selfie sticks blocking some of the views.

The next island we traveled to was Zakynthos. It is not one of Greece's most popular islands, but our friend's family lived there so we decided to adventure there. Zakynthos is not a touristy island, it is filled with Greeks that call the island home. The water on this island was the warmest I had ever been in, it was warmer than the air which was already 90 something degrees each day. We got to interact with people that had lived on the island and went to a rowdy dinner with dancing and breaking plates. The island was a perfect way to experience the culture of the Greek people.

Greece is definitely the perfect vacation while you are still young because it is a very active destination with tons of things to do. (I also loved being a 16-year-old and being served drinks without any problem.) I would definitely recommend the beautiful country of Greece to anyone looking for their next destination.

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