Alpine Aesthetic: Look like a pro with Aspen Snowmass’ ASPENX gear debut
Led by Paula Crown, Skico is the first ski resort to drop its own collection (limited edition Prada capsule included).
Some skiers swear by “you’re only as good as your gear” and now, you can literally look like a pro with Aspen Skiing Company’s entry into the apparel business for the 2021-22 winter season — one of many initiatives celebrating its 75th anniversary.
As the first ski resort operator to create its own custom kits, the new ASPENX label is an umbrella brand concept that spans the official Aspen Snowmass uniforms for ski patrol, customer service reps and on-mountain instructors — with a debut of a dedicated line for guests.
“After listening to feedback from our employees regarding their needs, we knew we could apply their expertise to purpose-building an apparel system for the four mountains of Aspen Snowmass,” Erin Sprague, chief brand officer at Aspen Snowmass said in a statement. “These pieces were inspired and designed by some of the best and most experienced professionals in the ski industry and tested in iconic settings, from the Highland Bowl to the Buttermilk Superpipe. Our guests often ask (instructors) about their gear, so we launched the inaugural ASPENX Ajax Line, to offer a version of our professional pieces to our loyal Aspen Snowmass skiers and riders.”
The Ajax Line delivers function and style in its classic, all-black ski suit: the Ajax jacket ($725), insulator ($395) and pants ($525). Each piece is “purpose-built” with a breathable, waterproof exterior and provides advanced ventilation and durable protection for all winter weather conditions. And, the interior lining of the jacket features a topographic interpretation of Aspen from artist and entrepreneur Paula Crown of the Crown family, owners of Skico and The Little Nell Hotel Group.
It was Crown who conceived the ASPENX concept itself, who also tapped one of her personal favorite luxury fashion houses (“I’ve always been a Prada fangirl,” she told WWD, which broke the news last week) to collaborate on a limited edition capsule as part of the collection: ASPENX Prada.
“Prada’s innovative waterproof fabrics and designs (is impressive),” Crown shared with me. “Years ago, we reviewed a ski uniform design proposal from Prada that had been in use at European ski resorts. Production timing and quantities could not be aligned then, but I continued to keep Prada’s proposal in my idea file. In following trends in the industry, I noted Prada’s forward-looking commitment to sustainability and material reuse — (Skico) shares this priority value.”
ASPENX Prada is an extension of Prada Linea Rossa, marked with the distinctive red stripe logo that initially made its appearance in 1997. Each eco-friendly item “is composed of sustainable textile technologies engineered to support active and adventurous living.” The collection’s signature outerwear style — the Extreme-Tex Graphic (from $5,100) — features optimal insulation and waterproof capabilities through a three-layer fabric researched and developed exclusively by Prada, as well as “Graphene” padding designed to regulate body temperature. A complementing selection of ready-to-wear separates, including a recycled double Jersey Graphic sweatshirt (from $1,970), accompany the jackets for a functional and fashion-forward layered uniform.
“With the introduction of ASPENX, I thought it would be timely to reach out to (Prada) family principal Lorenzo Bertelli. Over thousands of miles, time zones and language challenges, we agreed that we should proceed with a co-venture,” Crown added. “There was a lot of trust and belief in the concept. This was an iterative process between Aspen and Milan, which continued over months to take our collaboration to the next level of performance and design. Every detail from zippers to powder gaiters were considered.”
Both ASPENX and ASPENX Prada are available exclusively online and at the brand’s just-opened flagship boutique at the base of Aspen Mountain on Gondola Plaza. Designed by locally-based, award-winning architecture and interior design firm Rowland+Broughton, the ASPENX retail experience is a sleek interpretation of Crown’s vision and in addition to gear, features gourmet grab-and-go items, a coffee and wine bar along with a concierge service and premium ski rentals (special access is offered to hotel guests of The Little Nell).
“We are so thrilled to have played a role in the design of the new ASPENX retail store. Since 2008, with an eye on sustainability and aligning our core values, we have partnered on nearly 20 projects with (Skico), including Element 47, Ajax Tavern, Cloud Nine Alpine Bistro and Aspen Mountain Club,” said Rowland+Broughton principal Sarah Broughton.
Aspen Mountain Club, the members-only enclave adjacent to the Sundeck, has also unveiled a new identity as the ASPENX Mountain Club. The rebrand is accompanied by a top-to- bottom renovation of its exclusive mountaintop space — the club’s first major update since opening in 2000, which was executed by famed Spanish sculptor and designer Luis Bustamante of Luis Bustamante Interior Design and led by Crown as well.
Further tapping into Aspen Snowmass’ renowned, world-class hospitality, the ASPENX store is available for bookable evening events, too, including private dining with Matthew Zubrod, culinary director for The Little Nell (think a 10-course dinner, curated tequila tastings, wine presentations with a dedicated sommelier, or a mixology lesson to create your own signature cocktails).
ASPENX officially opened its doors on Dec. 20 and operates from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. through closing day (April 17, 2022); it will commence summer operations in late May.
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