New Skico executive says Aspen should be proud | AspenTimes.com

New Skico executive says Aspen should be proud

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The new public face of the Aspen Skiing Co. is officially on the job.

David Perry is wrapping up his first week as the new senior vice president in charge of marketing and sales for the Skico.

And while it is not fair to call anyone “the new John Norton,” Perry will be filling many of the roles in the community that the former Skico chief operating officer played during his 11 years with the company.

Norton is now the CEO of the Crested Butte ski area. Perry came to Aspen after serving for two years as president of Colorado Ski Country USA.

Prior to his stint at Ski Country, Perry was vice president of marketing and sales at the Whistler/Blackcomb ski areas.

Perry, 47, will be joining the Skico’s core group of top executives, which includes CEO Pat O’Donnell, who was once head of the Whistler ski area and hired Perry in 1992 to be Whistler’s director of marketing and sales.

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The Skico’s executive “planning group” also includes Mike Kaplan, senior vice president of mountain operations; Dave Bellack, senior vice president and legal counsel; Don Schuster, senior vice president of real estate development; Eric Calderon, senior vice president and general manager of The Little Nell hotel; Bill Kane, vice president of planning and development; and Bobbie Burkley, vice president of marketing.

Perry’s responsibilities include overseeing all marketing and sales efforts, as well as communications, ticketing, special events and sponsor relationships.

In addition, he’ll be a visible public face for the company in the community, serving as chief spokesman and sitting on the boards of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and Stay Aspen Snowmass.

And he has come to town fired up about the resort.

“My perception, as the enthusiastic newcomer, is that, to be blunt, the folks in Aspen/Snowmass need to be a lot more proud of what we have.” Perry said. “We need to shout that from the treetops in a unified voice because this place is absolutely incredible.”

Perry lists the resort’s consistent quality snow surface, sunny weather, good lodging, vibrant towns and “wonderful mountain environment” as its chief competitive advantages.

“Aspen/Snowmass has these elements, in combination, better than anywhere else,” Perry said. “Maybe folks in Aspen/Snowmass don?t get out enough, because if you are able to step outside and take the perspective that I have, and compare this place to every other place, you would be as enthusiastic as I am.”

Perry said he believes the Skico has been on the right track the past couple of years, at least in terms of trying to attract younger visitors back to town by lifting the ban on snowboarding on Aspen Mountain, bringing the ESPN Winter X Games to Buttermilk, trying to extend the season with the Spring Jam event in April, and solidifying the brand and reservations system under the Aspen/Snowmass umbrella.

“I applaud and support the moves that Aspen Skiing Co. and the communities of Aspen and Snowmass have made recently, and I said this publicly when I was at Ski Country,” he said.

Perry, his wife, Kathy, and their two young daughters are settling into a home in Basalt.

His office is at Aspen Highlands, which suits the former ski racing coach and ski instructor just fine.

“I’m a skier and a snowboarder, and I love to be on the mountain,” he said. “And I’m going to use it as an excuse that my first year, I’m going to need to be on the mountain a lot to meet people and get shown around by the locals.”

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is bgs@aspentimes.com]