Mike Kaplan, President/Chief Executive Officer of Aspen Skiing Company wrote an open letter to give guests a peek at what the upcoming ski season will look like.
"I’m looking forward to refocusing on the core of what this sport is all about, what this place enables: a chance to connect deeply—with nature, with our physical selves and movements, and even with our sense of purpose and our roles in society."
Here is the full letter:
We’re a month into summer here in Aspen Snowmass, and it’s been unlike any the Roaring Fork Valley has ever experienced. The pandemic has been incredibly difficult, but it’s also created valuable new perspectives. Our country is struggling through economic and social disruption not seen in generations. Understandably, many people want a return to “normal”—but perhaps we can do better than that.
On our journey there, we all try to make the best of the current situation. One way is by getting back to the core of what’s important in our lives. For me, being in the mountains, going up and downhill, soaking in nature, getting closer to family and doing whatever I can to help my community have all taken on a heightened importance. As I bike or hike around familiar trails, I’m seeing new things, listening to perspective-shifting podcasts and wondering what our future holds—what will come back and what will be forever changed. Compared to those almost existential questions, the one I’ll attempt to answer here seems pretty straightforward: What’s the plan for the 2020-2021 ski season?
The short answer: We don’t have all the answers yet, but we are doing everything possible to anticipate how to open on time and stay open all winter. Of course, we must do it safely on behalf of our employees, our community, our guests and our partners, which I believe is possible with the right protocols in place. We’re learning valuable lessons during our summer operations, which are going quite smoothly to everyone’s enjoyment. Yes, there will be new procedures this winter, some of them annoying, and a handful of the exuberant social activities we are famous for will be greatly subdued. But there is an overarching opportunity in this new normal that I’m trying to embrace.
Like everything in our lives pre-COVID, skiing and snowboarding had become somewhat frantic. Many of us were caught up in the conquests—tracking our bowl laps and vertical—rather than fully appreciating the moments. I’m looking forward to refocusing on the core of what this sport is all about, what this place enables: a chance to connect deeply—with nature, with our physical selves and movements, and even with our sense of purpose and our roles in society. No doubt, next ski season will be more of an old school experience, but that could also translate to less noise, fewer distractions and, hopefully, more meaning."