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Aspen Snowmass Isn't the Same Without You


Aspen Snowmass Isn't the Same Without You

A letter from Aspen Skiing Company CEO, Mike Kaplan

Dear Aspen Snowmass Guest,

March 14, 2020 is a day I’ll never forget. I was atop Highland Bowl, soaking up the view and contemplating my run down, when I got a message that the governor of Colorado wanted to restrict operations. I was thinking takeout-only for the restaurants, perhaps closing gondolas but keeping chairlifts running. I never thought that run would be the last of the season and all Colorado ski areas would be shut down that afternoon by state order.

Since then, I’ve experienced many losses but also gained a lot of perspective. As time slowed down and the Roaring Fork Valley community turned to skinning uphill for our turns, the mountains reasserted themselves as impervious, and the snow continued to come. But what was glaringly absent, creating a sense of emptiness, was the fact that you weren’t there. You and the community of Aspen Snowmass loyalists are not just the lifeblood of this place; you are an integral piece of its spirit. Because of that, I want to share some of what we’ve been doing in your absence.

Once the shutdown hit, Aspen Snowmass’ employees pivoted from ski resort operations to full-time community service almost overnight. Our events team went from putting together Spring Jam concerts and Big Air competitions to creating and overseeing a seven-day-a-week food-delivery system for 1,200 schoolkids who are in free and reduced lunch programs. Then, in a scramble for the ages, a cross-departmental group figured out how to get 320 internet-less kids online before distance learning started—and did it with no phone numbers or parent names for the households.

The Limelight Aspen hotel turned itself over to the local Incident Management Team, which had run out of space. Aspen Snowmass is getting cash to food banks; coordinating food delivery to senior citizens; donating buffs to our hospitals so they can conserve medical-grade masks; and using our purchasing department to procure thousands of diapers and feminine products.

For me, there’s a particularly remarkable piece to all of this: I didn’t have to ask anyone to do any of it. The team simply saw the need and immediately stepped in. Of course, like everywhere, we are forever indebted to our local health-care workers, first responders, and essential business workers. We look forward to providing them with some much deserved downtime in our properties once the pandemic is behind us.

I’m also happy to report that we’re looking positively to the future. There will be an end to all of this. We’ll appreciate being together in the mountains like never before. Until then, I’d like to say thank you for your support and understanding during these unprecedented times.

Next week, we’ll announce 2020-2021 season pass prices and policies. If you had a pass last year, you’ll see that we’re offering credits to make up for the shortened season. Additionally, we’ll have a refund policy that makes committing to the 2020-2021 season risk-free. As for summer, we’re working on operation plans that will align with state and local regulations for crowd size and social distancing. We’ll let you know as soon as those details are confirmed.

Until then, Aspen Snowmass just isn’t the same without you.

Sincerely, Mike Kaplan

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