`Salsa on Slopes’ targets Hispanic skiers | AspenTimes.com

`Salsa on Slopes’ targets Hispanic skiers

Three local businesses are teaming up in an attempt to generate new skier visits from the most obvious but overlooked source: the Hispanic community.

“Salsa on the Slopes,” a skiing, eating and drinking celebration aimed at Hispanics living in the valley and other parts of the state, is slated for this Saturday at Aspen Highlands. It includes a day of skiing and races, apres ski at Iguanas and dancing at the Double Diamond.

The idea for the event came from the management at Entravision Radio, which owns two Spanish-language radio stations in Denver and one in Basalt.

“It made sense,” said Paul Kurkulis, station manager at KPVW, 107.1-FM, in Basalt. “It’s an idea whose time has come.”

After he and his fellow managers decided to give their idea a try, Kurkulis contacted a number of ski areas around the state about hosting the event. They found the Skico most eager and ready.

“Aspen took the initiative and said they wanted to do it right away,” Kurkulis said.

“I think that there are good people behind it and good support, we’re not having to reinvent the wheel,” said David Perry, the Skico’s vice president of marketing.

KPVW has been promoting the event locally, while its sister stations, KMXA-AM and KJMN-FM, otherwise known as La Consentida and Radio Romantica, have been promoting it on the Front Range.

The other piece in the puzzle was Stay Aspen Snowmass, the local reservations agency that put together lodging and equipment rental packages to lure Denver-area Hispanics from the Front Range.

“The challenge of getting people up here is one of the obvious obstacles,” Kurkulis said.

But even if Aspen Highlands and the Double Diamond aren’t overflowing with people as a result, he thinks it will have a positive effect on Aspen’s future skier numbers.

“People will know that Aspen is Hispanic-friendly,” Kurkulis said.

“Clearly the Hispanic community is one the ski industry has traditionally not paid attention to,” the Skico’s Perry agreed.

But Perry said ski industry groups have long known that the latest population boom is both larger than the Baby Boom of the 1940s and 1950s and more ethnically diverse.

Perry said finding ways to get Hispanics from the valley and around the state onto skis or snowboards is important to future growth in Aspen and resorts.

In his previous position with Colorado Ski Country, Perry found that programs aimed at getting school-age children onto the slopes were not used as much as hoped by either the Hispanic or African-American communities in and around Denver.

Perry and everyone else involved is hoping for better success with this weekend’s events, which are open to people of all ethnic backgrounds.

“I hope it’s well received,” Perry said. “We would like to do more things in the future.”

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