Skico’s new rule hurts local families |

Skico’s new rule hurts local families

(This letter was originally sent to Mike Kaplan, senior vice president of mountain operations for the Aspen Skiing Co.)

I am writing to you in response to the letter from Danielle and Jay Hammond, published Monday in The Aspen Times.

Like the Hammonds, I think I speak for many young (athletic and local) families in the valley. Your new law barring infants in backpacks on the ski hill has completely changed (should I say ruined?) our winter.

My husband and I have three kids, ages 1, 3 and 5. Thank goodness we had one delightful family ski day on Ajax during opening weekend before you announced the new rule. It may be our last until our baby is old enough to be on her own skis in two years.

Like the Hammonds, we can no longer enjoy our favorite sport as a family. We have spent five years skiing with babies in packs, and not only feel competent in our abilities, but also enjoy skiing as a complete family. Do you really think anyone who is not a solid skier would even consider carrying their child while on skis?

If your concern is “the other skier” hitting the parent and infant, then let me point out one more thing. Skiing is dangerous. It is also exhilarating.

Hazards exist for the elderly, for 30-year-olds and for 3-year-olds. But we all make choices. Parents should be able to decide whether the rewards outweigh the risks for their children. Who might be more at risk ? a 3-year-old on skis or a 6-foot adult carrying a pack? Perhaps you could cite an instance or series of accidents on local hills where an infant in a pack has been injured?

I have lived in Aspen my whole life. The best things about our ski town are those that make it unique ? the character of a place and its relationship with the environment and community. I applaud much of the Skico’s progressive and independent actions, but believe that this decision does not represent its best efforts.

All in all, the Skico does a great job catering to locals. The fact that uphill traffic is allowed here is incredible. We do not take it for granted.

Nor would we take for granted being allowed to carry our babies while teaching our young children to ski. Perhaps a possible solution is to allow packs on the more beginner/family-oriented mountains?

Kirsten Newhard


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