Skico sells Big Burn chairs in one day; $10k raised will support community

Staff report
Skiers and snowboarders ride under the Big Burn lift on opening day in November 2019.
David Krause / The Aspen Times

On Wednesday morning, Aspen Skiing Co.’s Caring for Community Fund started selling the chairs from the Big Burn lift at Snowmass, and by about 5 p.m. all 40 chairs available were sold.

A $200 minimum donation was suggested for each chair and a total of $10,000 was raised, Skico officials said Wednesday evening. All funds go directly to the Caring for Community Fund, which is an employee-led and funded effort to serve the local community from Aspen to Parachute by giving grants to organizations that “help facilitate a strong, healthy, supportive and productive community,” according to its website.

The company is spending $10.8 million to replace and shift the Big Burn lift this summer, which was among Skico’s first generation of high-speed detachable lifts.

Skico plans to proceed with multiple capital improvement projects this summer, including the Big Burn replacement, despite losing a significant chunk of revenue due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The U.S. Forest Service granted approval in December to construct a new six-passenger, high-speed Big Burn chairlift. After 33 years, the previous lift had reached its “operational lifetime,” the Forest Service determined.