Guest column: Aspen chamber heads into summer season with plenty of local anniversaries to celebrate |

Guest column: Aspen chamber heads into summer season with plenty of local anniversaries to celebrate

Debbie Braun
Guest column

After a stellar winter season — with record snowfall and record business results — all of us at the Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA) are looking forward to the summer and fall seasons ahead.

As we look ahead to another summer season, we want to recognize and congratulate several organizations on their notable anniversaries.

For 50 years, Aspen Center for Environmental Studies has been “educating for environmental responsibility.” Since 1968 they have been inspiring a “life-long commitment to the earth by providing innovative and immersive programming for all ages.” They are a vital part of the Aspen community, and we congratulate them as we look forward to the next 50 years.

Aspen Music Festival and School (AMFS) was founded in 1949 and is regarded as one of the top classical music festivals in the United States. For 70 years, the AMFS has been bringing music to Aspen’s summer (and winter seasons) with more than 400 classical music events, hosting more than 600 music students and more than 100,000 visitors during their eight-week season.

Celebrating 50 years as a family-owned business, Aspen Outfitting Co. was founded in 1969 by Jon Hollinger. His son Jarrod, who was raised in Aspen, now owns and runs the business providing privately guided activities in every season and sharing his and his staff’s passion for Aspen’s wilderness setting.

Established in Aspen in 1969 — and now with nine offices around the world — Design Workshop is celebrating 50 years of legacy design. For five decades Design Workshop has provided landscape architecture, planning, urban design and strategic services to clients in North America and throughout the world and continues to have an important presence in the firm’s hometown of Aspen.

Pitkin County Dry Goods, Aspen’s second oldest retail store under continuous family ownership, celebrates 50 years of operation in Aspen. Thank you to Gina Berko and David Fleischer for continuing to provide a quality locally owned retail experience.

Established in 1938 by Lou and Had Deane, T-Lazy-7 celebrates its 80th with the Deane family still operating T-Lazy-7. They hosted a community event Saturday to celebrate 80 years of bringing locals and visitors for summer and winter adventures. ( ranch-celebration)

ACRA has a number of new and ongoing initiatives to promote responsible tourism and sustainable travel.

In late 2018, ACRA created the “Aspen Pledge,” an initiative with positive messages on how to visit and play in Aspen. The Aspen Pledge was created to encourage visitors — and locals — to take ownership in maintaining Aspen’s natural beauty for all for generations to come. ACRA encourages everyone to take the Aspen Pledge and be responsible stewards of our land. The Aspen Pledge can be found online at and also is available in print at all of the ACRA visitor’s centers.

Our new “Tag Responsibly” campaign recently launched encouraging locals and visitors to “Tag Responsibly — Take the Aspen Pledge.” As Instagram and other social media channels have encouraged people to travel the world while snapping photos of the most beautiful places discovered, some places in the world are getting over-visited — or people are endangering themselves for that perfect Instagram shot. Instead of using a geotag on Instagram posts, which provides the exact location down to the latitude and longitude, ACRA encourages locals and visitors to use the geotag “Tag Responsibly — Take the Aspen Pledge” to protect our most coveted areas in and around town.

“How to Aspen” is Aspen’s newest resource for visitors seeking local tips on the do’s and don’t’s when visiting Aspen. The campaign offers videos and content that help answer questions on how to enjoy Aspen and the great outdoors responsibly. “How to Aspen” can be found on and on ACRA’s social media channels.

Another summer initiative is “7908 Reasons to Come to Town,” which highlights Aspen’s local business owners and encourages visitors to discover downtown member businesses. Our retail map is distributed around Colorado, at the Aspen Saturday Market, at major local events and at ACRA visitor centers, providing direct referral to Aspen business. For information on the program, visit

ACRA is embarking on two important research projects during the 2019 summer/fall season. ACRA will be conducting spring/summer/fall visitor research in collaboration with Aspen Skiing Co., with 2,000 visitor surveys designed to gain insight into visitor demographics, their trip planning process and their Aspen experience. The findings from this research will be available to our stakeholders at the conclusion of the research season in the fall of 2019. In addition, ACRA is embarking on a yearlong research project, in conjunction with Aspen’s many arts and cultural organizations, to measure the economic impact of arts and culture on the Aspen community.

Enjoy the last couple weeks of spring and take advantage of all the vibrancy that Aspen summer has to offer.

Debbie Braun is the President & CEO of the Aspen Chamber Resort Association.