Aspen covered as a place for the rich and richer |

Aspen covered as a place for the rich and richer

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Do people out there in America think that Aspen is full of rich people? Well, if you read the town’s press coverage, as we frequently do using a media database, the answer is “yes.”

The Duluth (Minnesota) News-Tribune reported on Oct. 23 that a recent survey found that the rich are still planning to go on vacation. And the story, which also was distributed on the Knight Ridder news wire, started out as follows:

“People of Aspen, Colo., do not despair. Denizens of Palm Beach, Calif., chin up. According to a report released Tuesday by the American Affluence Research Center, the rich, though glum about the economy, will still jet about the country next year.

“The gilded set indicated they were rather gung ho about domestic vacation spending but not so pumped about traveling overseas.”

The American Affluence Research Center is in Pincrest, Fla. We thought perhaps it was in The Little Nell hotel.

High-attitude resort

The Age newspaper in Melbourne included Aspen in a Sunday, Oct. 19, travel story about the best U.S. resorts. “Our pick of the resorts: Aspen, Vail, Jackson Hole, Breckenridge, Beaver Creek,” wrote Robert Upe. “The skiing and snowboarding at each is world class. We like Aspen for its ‘we are best’ attitude, superb restaurants and night-life …”

Oh, so that’s what that attitude is.

Supermodel resort

Also on Oct. 19, and also in Australia, the Weekend Australian newspaper told its readers “Don’t assume the world’s ritziest destinations are out of reach.” The list included Aspen and a slew of European resorts that are difficult for most ski bums to pronounce.

“These are the supermodels of world travel ? glossy, greedy and glamorous by association.”

Aspen’s write-up included the following:

“Why the reputation? Filthy lucre and lots of it. Weekenders from Wall Street park their Lear jets cheek by jowl with Los Angeles media moguls for whom the town has been labeled Hollywood on Ice. Aspen’s image is fueled not just by world-class skiing on four immaculately groomed mountains but by the apres-ski diversions, beginning with the Manhattan-meets-Paris shopping (the Aspen Chanel boutique is the highest grossing per square metre on the planet).”

And you thought it was just a purse museum.

We are apres ski

The British National Post newspaper recently ran an interview with New York fashion designer Michael Kors, who uttered a line that applies not just to Aspen-inspired fashion, but to perhaps the whole of Aspen itself.

Kors said at one point “I’m not a skier. The funny thing is that this year our whole fall collection was Aspen-inspired, but it’s more of an apres-ski look than actual skiing.”


Whose fortune?

Hey, remember this summer? Fortune magazine does. It held a big “Brainstorm” conference here, and the magazine’s Oct. 28 issue is chock-full of photos and stories about the event that you were most likely not invited to.

Justin Fox and Julie Schlosser write that “for a couple of days this summer Fortune brought together 178 CEOs, scientists, teachers, politicians, think-tankers, activists, investors, former Presidents, and nobility of various gradations to the basement of a hotel in Aspen, Colo.

“Yes, a windowless basement, in Aspen. Is that perverse or what?

“But what actually happened up there in the Rockies? The photos on the preceding pages ought to give you some idea: People gave speeches, and they had conversations. Happily, some of those conversations took place outside the basement of the St. Regis, most spectacularly in a mountainside mansion formerly owned (and decorated in appropriately garish style) by international man of financial mystery Victor Kozeny; CEO and Brainstorm participant Richard Braddock recently bought the house.”

What? You weren’t invited there either?

“This is very much a personal impression, but most of the people in Aspen appeared to believe that things were working themselves out, that naughty behavior was being punished, and that, after some more pain and suffering, the U.S. economy would right itself,” Fox writes. “There was also a small but vocal minority convinced that U.S.-style capitalism is leading the world to ruin. But that didn’t make for much of a debate.”

No, it usually doesn’t on Red Mountain.

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is]

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