Blumenthal: Working together key to sustainability
For those of us who take a more comprehensive 30,000-foot view of the entire upper Roaring Fork Valley as opposed to a narrow view concentrating solely on our fair village, the local papers have been replete recently with commentary concerning the updated Aspen Community Sustainability Report published by the Aspen Chamber Resort Association and Aspen’s mayoral and City Council elections.
Much has been written, both pro and con, as to whether the authors of the report are merely promoting a pro-growth agenda or whether Aspen’s resort-based economy can or should be sustained without ramping up an accelerated development machine.
I’m not here to further debate that issue but to discuss why those of us who live, either full or part time, and spend a substantial part of our daily lives in Snowmass should concern ourselves with what on first blush appears to be Aspen-centric issues.
To open, we are part of a much larger resort-based economy and community wherein both Aspen and Snowmass play complementary roles in our winter, summer and fall seasons.
The cultural and recreational activities that both Snowmass and Aspen offer to our guests and residents jointly contribute to the highly visible, high-quality Aspen/Snowmass brand, which has attracted worldwide attention and respect.
Snowmass has been extremely progressive in developing and nurturing these complementary roles, but unfortunately some of the political, cultural and business leaders in Aspen have been much slower to recognize and build upon this rather unique phenomenon that is made possible by our close proximity to each other as well as our four jointly owned mountains catering to the full spectrum and broad demographics of all those seeking a truly active and inspiring mountain experience and lifestyle.
But surprisingly, nowhere in the sustainability report could I find a single reference to Snowmass, let alone the complementary roles we play to enhance the overall resort economy and experience. This is even more confounding because several key members of the study committee are also key members of the Aspen/Snowmass Marketing Forum, which was formed well over a decade ago at the launching of the Aspen/Snowmass brand. These players actively participated in creating the brand and continue to this day to play integral and instrumental roles in building and nourishing the brand. Could it be that the Aspen chamber itself is so narrow-minded with a nearsighted focus solely on Aspen that they can’t see or appreciate the greater value of our jointly branded complementary entities?
Hopefully their personal and community egos are not such that they can’t see or won’t acknowledge how much stronger and more successful we are under the umbrella of a joint brand.
In the past, many in Aspen appeared unable to spell Snowmass, while some in Snowmass appeared unable to spell Aspen, and they rarely left their respective boundaries. Although a bit facetious, it did appear this attitude was more prevalent until we started working together to build the joint Aspen/Snowmass brand.
Hopefully ACRA’s failure to acknowledge the importance of the relationship between Aspen and Snowmass was not intentional, but if it was, it should be re-examined post haste.
As to Aspen’s election, the results of which are unknown to me as I write this column, its importance to all of us in Snowmass is related to all that I’ve said above concerning the mutual benefits inuring to both Aspen and Snowmass from our joint brand.
Hopefully when all the final election results are announced in early June following the likely runoffs in the mayoral and council elections, the winners will strongly support and further enhance the Aspen/Snowmass brand, which was created and developed by knowledgeable marketing and business professionals in our respective communities.
Notwithstanding ACRA’s failure to acknowledge our place in the valley’s resort economy and the role we each play in maximizing the vitality, vibrancy and sustainability of the entire upper Roaring Fork Valley economy and lifestyle, I’m convinced that our joint brand has significant impact, that it works well and that Aspen and Snowmass are each better off because of it. Let’s continue to grow it together.
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