Aspen Skiing Co. CEO’s post on ‘Dreamers’ spurs much support and an angry call for a boycott

Aspen Skiing Co. President and CEO Mike Kaplan speaks Thursday at the Sundeck during Aspen Chamber Resort Association's annual Afternoon Blend pre-ski season mixer.
Scott Condon/The Aspen Times |

A Facebook message by Aspen Skiing Co. President and CEO Mike Kaplan in support of immigrant “Dreamers” has drawn hundreds of “likes” since it was posted Wednesday but also a call for a boycott of Skico’s resorts.

Kaplan wrote a direct message to the hundreds of Dreamer families and friends in the Roaring Fork Valley and to the 800,000 nationwide.

“Aspen Snowmass values you. We believe you deserve a future in the United States. You are genuine assets to this country. Indeed, you are its bright future. And importantly, you are us — our employees, our guests, our communities, our future,” he wrote.

He continued with a message to President Donald Trump that said the decision to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration policy was “shortsighted.”

“You have made us feel a profound sense of sadness and shame,” Kaplan wrote.

He closed by urging Congress to “stand up for decency” by passing legislation that allows the Dreamers to remain in the country.

Kaplan’s comments were consistent with Skico’s determination to speak out on social, environmental and political issues (see related story).

The post on the Aspen Snowmass Facebook page spurred 471 reactions in the first 24 hours. The overwhelming majority of people expressed support for Kaplan’s opinion. But a spirited debate was carried out in the written comments attached to Kaplan’s post.

“What a great statement by our fearless leader!” wrote Wolfy Draper, a ski instructor for Skico. “We won’t miss the people who go to Vail because of this.”

Maritza Irizarry Silverio noted she tries to visit Aspen every year. “This statement has made me even more proud to have spent my tourism dollars in your beautiful valley,” she said.

But it was far from universal praise for Kaplan. He was criticized from outside the valley and even from within Skico. Cody Machen, who wrote he’s been employed by Skico for five “great” years, said the company should avoid politics.

“I have to say, I hate it when politics gets thrown into the voices of companies that are using their name and service as a selling point,” Machen wrote. “At end of the day a Trump supporter will pay the same price for a lift ticket. Just a thought. Or would you rather all Trump supporters just not visit your resort?”

Diann Loring, who features a picture of Trump on her Facebook page, ran with that theme.

“Shame on you for jumping into the political ring while offending so many Americans,” Loring wrote. “How many of those 800k DACA leaches (sic) you just opened your trap for are skiers?”

Loring went on to call for a boycott of Aspen Snowmass. “Let’s all remember this when we chose (sic) where we will ski this year,” Loring continued. “It won’t be at a ski area that supports DACA over Americans.”

The Aspen Times attempted to confirm Loring’s identity but she didn’t respond to a Facebook message requesting an interview.

Loring got into the Facebook equivalent of a shouting match with numerous other commenters who supported Kaplan’s post. She said she was reposting Kaplan’s comments to several conservative websites to promote a boycott of “Ass-mass.”

Loring wrote she was still waiting for a telephone call back from Kaplan to discuss the issue.


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