Big day out | AspenTimes.com

Big day out

Nate Peterson

Aspen, CO Colorado

SNOWMASS ” Got asked to go riding with the Aspen Skiing Company’s senior executives Tuesday morning at Snowmass. Typically I’m circumspect of such media schmoozing opportunities because there’s almost always some catch involved. I ended up going because I genuinely like Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle ” a guy I call more than my own mother.

Full disclosure: The day out also included lunch at Gwyn’s High Alpine. As any savvy media rep knows, free food attracts journalists the same way full trash cans lure mangy bears.

The invite made it clear this wasn’t an opportunity for formal interviews, just a chance to get in some turns and shoot the proverbial you-know-what with “the big shots.”

Great, I thought, these guys probably have Christmas bonuses that match my salary ” what are we going to talk about, their stock portfolios and housekeepers?

Turns out, beneath the expensive, custom-made Polo outfits, the Skico execs are a bunch of lifelong ski bums at heart. Making turns with them was kind of like snowboarding with my friends growing up, complete with wisecracks, gaper jokes and a little friendly competition.

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While making fresh tracks down Long Shot, the bigwigs acted more like big kids while a photographer lined them up to snap some stock shots.

As new Skico President and CEO Mike Kaplan pushed off for his photo op, shouts of “Keep your tips up” and “Nice Texas tuck” trailed behind him.

At lunch, I learned that Auden Schendler, the Skico’s director of environmental affairs, and Rich Burkley, the vice president of mountain operations, are both ham connoisseurs. For about 10 minutes, they entertained our table of eight with their expansive knowledge of pork.

Schendler said “the cream of the crop” is an overused figure of speech.

What about “the tenderloin of the prosciutto,” he said. Compelling stuff indeed.

Anyone else hear a new Skico slogan?

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