Giving the people what they want – thanks, Skico |

Giving the people what they want – thanks, Skico

Now that the weather seems to have turned the corner to summer, and the cold, gray pseudo-spring is behind us, it’s hard not to feel a sense of happiness and relief. The sunny skies over the last week or so have lifted nearly everyone’s spirits, and we must acknowledge the Aspen Skiing Co. for adding to the fun by opening Aspen Mountain for two late-spring weekends.

This unexpected, just-for-the-fun-of-it gesture gave locals an excuse to dress up in their ski boots and shorts, and attracted attention all around the state. In fact, our story about the re-opening on The Aspen Times website drew thousands of hits, no doubt from skiers and snowboarders both inside and outside the valley.

The Skico has staged enough post-season re-openings in recent years that locals now ask about the possibility anytime there’s a snow surplus at season’s end. And around the state, it reminds everyone that Aspen is not just a playground for the wealthy, but an authentic mountain town that loves to ski.

We don’t have solid numbers yet for just how many people bought lift tickets, drove in from neighboring towns or stayed overnight in local lodges, but the local buzz was huge and the running joke on the mountain Memorial Day weekend was that the lines at Ajax Express (the only chairlift in operation) were the longest of the year. This may not have been a financial success, but it was a public relations bonanza.

Even national news outlets from CNN to the Boston Herald carried the story, which certainly helped to imprint Aspen on the minds of viewers and readers far and wide. And the single-day price for non-passholders was an affordable $32 – also a good message to send.

Thanks to the Skico for a proactive and completely unnecessary effort that brought a lot of smiles to individual skiers and riders, and certainly lifted the Aspen brand head and shoulders above the competition.

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