Skico planner announces surprise retirement
July 8, 2005
Bill Kane, the steady voice and familiar face of development at the Aspen Skiing Co., will soon end a nine-year run overseeing some of the most significant developments in the company’s history.The resignation announcement Friday marks the third major shift in the 59-year-old Kane’s career. He began as a public planner with the Aspen/Pitkin County planning department of the mid-1970s, helping to rewrite the land-use code, implement growth management and design the pedestrian malls in the heart of Aspen’s retail district. In the mid-1980s, Kane joined Design Workshop in Aspen and spent the next 10 years as a private-sector designer and consultant.Since joining the Skico in 1996, Kane has been involved with the rewrite of the Aspen Mountain master plan, which resulted in the construction of the new Sundeck Restaurant, the new Ruthie’s Lift and the return of much of Little Annie Basin to wilderness study designation. During his time at Skico, both Aspen Highlands and Snowmass ski areas also went through significant changes.His retirement will take effect Sept. 9. “I highly recommend wearing lots of different hats and walking in lots of different shoes,” Kane said. “By having different experiences I was able to bring different points of view, which I think results in a better outcome.”Kane said Base Village was his biggest accomplishment at the Skico. He was in on the decision-making at the conceptual stage and in charge of finding a development partner, negotiating an agreement with Intrawest and acquiring the land for the project. “I think it’s going to be excellent,” he said. “The first nine buildings are very well-designed.” Kane also expects people to be pleased with the mix of public spaces within the project, including a children’s center that will be “one of a kind.” Kane will rejoin Design Workshop as a part-timer, advising on projects. He and his wife, Carolyn, a nurse at Aspen Valley Hospital, plan to spend more time traveling and recreating and less time working. They’ve got a trip to Italy planned this fall and another to South America this winter.”We’re at a time of life where it’s time for us to make a change, we’ve slipped into a continuum where we value time more than we do income,” Kane said.Aspen Skiing Co. CEO Pat O’Donnell said he was caught off guard by Kane’s resignation, and he’s not sure whether the company will replace him with someone who has the same job duties. “We’ve got two months, so that helps,” O’Donnell said.”I admire the guy and he’s able to pull it off – he’s retiring,” O’Donnell said.Kane first lived in Aspen in the winter of 1970-71, when he worked at Aspen Highlands. He moved here permanently in 1974 after earning an advanced degree in planning and landscape architecture from the University of Pennsylvania. He and Carolyn live in a modest home in Meadowood that is “an 11-and-a-half-minute walk from downtown Aspen.” They have no plans to move.