Mountain Mayhem: Young professionals with a purpose |

Mountain Mayhem: Young professionals with a purpose

May Selby
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
May SelbyJeff Kuhlman with Cari Britton Kuhlman, founder of AYPA, and their son, Carter.

In 2003, local Cari Britton Kuhlman and a group of young professionals in the area formed the Aspen Young Profession­als Association. Since its inception, a primary focus of the group has been to help recruit and retain a young, vibrant profession­al community in the valley. Another focus has been to enhance the quality of life for its members by providing access to cultural events, hosting social get-togethers, presenting panel discus­sions and even arranging political forums during election season.

Every month, AYPA hosts an event open to members and, often, to their guests. Over the past few months, the group has coordinated a broad range of events. In May, AYPA hosted its sec­ond annual nonprofit fair and wine tasting to introduce members to vari­ous local organizations specializing in everything from social services to envi­ronmental preservation. More than 20 of the valley’s nonprofits were represented, each pouring wine for visitors at their booths and handing out tasting notes.

In June, the group’s fifth anniversary party took place at 39 Degrees Lounge at the Sky Hotel. (The spacious new location for the event served its purpose, as the group has grown over the years, but the former location, the G Spot at the now-closed Genre restaurant, was my all-time favorite setting.) This month, AYPA presented an evening at Theatre Aspen on July 17. As an added bonus, Rustique provided hors d’oeuvres and wine was served in the tent’s reception area, prior to the performance of “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Next month, save the date, Tuesday, Aug. 5, for A Taste of Willits in Basalt. The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with an open house at Joseph Freed and Associates, developers of Willits Town Center, and continue with a progressive tasting dinner at El Korita, Smoke Modern BBQ and Crave Kitchen. The event is open to AYPA members and their guests. To sign up for this event or learn more about the organization, visit

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