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October 24, 2013
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Aspen Skiing Co. cans carbon-heavy promotion

Aspen Skiing Co. has decided against launching a promotion at its five-star Little Nell Hotel that featured a heli-ski trip to Silverton and a private jet trip to Ojai Valley Inn and Spa in California, according to Auden Schendler, vice president of sustainability and environmental affairs.

“It’s not aligned with our values,” Schendler said.

Curbed.com, a national website that focuses on interior design, décor and real estate, first reported on the pricey package Oct. 17. Writer Megan Barber reported that the package for four was priced at $79,000 for six days of lift tickets at Aspen-Snowmass, early access to Aspen Mountain, three nights at the Little Nell’s 2,000-square-foot luxury Pfeiffer Suite and three other nights at the hotel, along with assorted other goodies. The vacation special was paired with a trip from Aspen to Silverton in a helicopter and a trip to Ojai by plane for a three-day golf outing and pampering at the spa, Barber reported.

Skico officials were surprised word of the promotion leaked out, according to Schendler, because there was no definitive decision to go with the package. “We’ve never advertised it,” he said. “We haven’t sold one. We’re not moving forward with it.”

Various Skico officials have pondered ways to draw attention from the Little Nell’s customers to Ojai Valley Inn and Spa, another resort owned by the Crown family, owners of Skico, he said. The Nell package was one of the ideas discussed, but no packages were sold, Schendler said.

The Aspen Times brought the package, and specifically the helicopter and jet trips, to Schendler’s attention late Tuesday. Skico is regarded as a ski-industry leader in fighting climate change. In addition to continually striving to reduce its carbon footprint, Skico is focused on lobbying for national legislation to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

In that light, a package promoting helicopter trips and private jet trips for small parties wasn’t appropriate, Schendler said.

“It’s not the right approach,” he said.

Skico doesn’t tell people how to travel to and from Aspen-Snowmass for a vacation, but it doesn’t want to provide a package that promotes one of the most “carbon-intensive” methods of travel, he said.

Skico CEO Mike Kaplan, officials at the Little Nell and the Skico’s sales team reassessed the proposal Wednesday and decided not to pursue it, according to Schendler.

“We didn’t fully vet it,” he acknowledged. He noted Kaplan said Skico isn’t perfect and occasionally has to reassess an idea.

scondon@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Oct 24, 2013 12:53PM Published Oct 28, 2013 01:23PM Copyright 2013 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.