Kudos and Kindness from Aspen Times readers (April 16, 2017)
Five-star performance by Skico
As we come to the end of another ski season, it is well past time to congratulate Aspen Skiing Co. for a great job! We are incredibly fortunate to have the best ownership, most ski-oriented management team and the absolute best resort workers in the ski business. All we can do is say thank-you to one and all.
So, thank you!
From the Mississippi Delta to Aspen
This town is amazing! I am involved in taking the Aspen High School students from the high school’s experiential education program to the heart of the Mississippi Delta to understand the history of civil rights issues and its turbulent times. I have hosted these kids for the past three years and int March, for the first time, we brought 10 high schools students from Mississippi to visit Aspen.
Their trip here was life-changing not only for those students but also for all of those involved. So many people and businesses in this town stepped up to be involved and support my effort. I want to thank Aspen Skiing Co., Obermeyer, Alpine Bank, Home Team BBQ, Inn at Aspen, Krabloonik and Aspen High School. Individually, Mike Kaplan; Gina Pogliano; Mary Ryerson; Tharyn Mulberry; Kathy Klug, my cohort in this endeavor; and Shannon Duffy, the physical education teacher at the Aspen High School who I could not have pulled this trip off without her.
The host families and their parents, the ski instructors and everyone they met along the way who made the students feel so welcomed. Everyone went home with great memories and most importantly a vision for a better future than they could ever imagine. That was my goal, so thank you, Aspen!
This letter is in appreciation of the feature article last weekend honoring Lavelle Saier (“Aspen ski instructor retires after 51 years on the slopes,” April 9 2017 The Aspen Times). Over the past 30 years, I’ve had the pleasure of being her boss, trainer and friend.
In 1987, when I arrived here, I was the director of the Buttermilk Mountain Ski School where Lavelle was based. Being the new young boss, I had intended to adjust things from a management perspective that I truly thought would improve our staff performance and ultimately the guest experience. One of those changes was to strictly schedule the pros to a six-day work week, presumably keeping the staff “fresh” (many of whom worked seven days per week all season) during the 22-plus week season. Almost immediately after making this announcement, Lavelle came to my office shouting, “How dare you make me take a day off during the winter. Who do you think you are anyway?”
So late in that ’87-88 season, once again trying to be the conscientious young boss, I shadowed Lavelle teaching a beginner on Panda Peak on April 7. And to my chagrin, I watched Lavelle teach the most engaging and compassionate lesson I’d ever seen … even after doing so for at least 120 days straight.
This is only one example of Lavelle’s talent and true gift that she shared with every person she taught, many of whom have become lifelong friends. Thanks again for recognizing Lavelle’s career because she truly deserves to be acknowledged as one of the best ever. She has touched thousands of people’s lives during her long and very successful career, and I want to publicly thank her for touching mine as well.
Director of Mountain Planning,
Aspen Skiing Co.
Breaking the language barrier
Several families in Aspen decided to help a Hispanic couple who worked for them to buy a home. It was 2009, and the quiet transaction worked out well. After more than a decade living and working in our valley, the family could put down roots and feel like they had a secure and stable place in the community.
As first-time homeowners, they had signed all the legal documents. But like most immigrant workers, they didn’t understand real estate and property taxes. Years passed, property taxes went unpaid, legal notices weren’t comprehended and so went unheeded. Eventually, yet suddenly, they lost the house.
By the time I (as a friend) realized the situation was unraveling, it was too late. The house had already been sold at auction. The family was uprooted and forced to re-enter the rental market.
As a new tutor for English in Action, I now understand how transformative one hour a week of tutoring can be for adult students and their families. The one-on-one tutor/student relationship goes much deeper than the practice of English. Over time, pairs get to know one another’s hopes and struggles. Bridges are built, friendships emerge, stigmas fall away.
I can’t help but wonder how things may have turned out differently if a member of this family had the services of an English in Action tutor. They would have been better able to read confounding legal notices. They would have had an advocate in their corner to explain the nuances and consequences of property taxes. They would have had a lifeline. Quite possibly, the family would still have a house and a home.
Being an English In Action tutor changes lives, often in unexpected ways. And all it takes is an hour a week. To learn more, go to http://www.englishinaction.org.
Fourth-graders make the most of their lemonade
Aspen Valley Land Trust extends a huge thank-you to the Aspen Elementary School fourth-grade classes who made Aspen Valley Land Trust and Ascendigo the nonprofit beneficiaries of their Lemonade Day on March 23 at Gondola Plaza. The kids did an outstanding job planning, coordinating and selling lemonade as part of a program to teach financial literacy sponsored by Youth Entity and facilitated by Miss Kim of the Aspen School District.
The fourth-grade classes of Denise Vetromile and Katie Fox selected Aspen Valley Land Trust and Ascendigo as recipients, respectively, and Monday donated $200 of their proceeds to each organization.
Aspen Valley Land Trust is excited to apply this funding directly to facilitating programs at the Chapin Wright Marble Basecamp, a property the land trust bought last year to provide local schools a place to conduct outdoor education. The Aspen Middle School developed a cutting edge program here nearly 50 years ago, and today, with help from donors, Aspen Valley Land Trust is proud to make this opportunity accessible to other schools up and down the valley.
Thank you to Youth Entity associate director Heather Hicks, Kim Knol, Denise Vetromile, Katie Fox, Aspen School District Superintendent John Malloy, Aspen Elementary Principal Chris Basten, Aspen Skiing Co. (for allowing the kids to do business in the plaza), Aspen Middle School (for developing such a wonderful outdoor education program at Basecamp), the parents who donated supplies and baked goods, the community members and visitors who supported Lemonade Day and, most importantly, thank you to all the students who participated and made this event fun, educational and successful!
As Aspen Valley Land Trust celebrates 50 years of land conservation, we are ever grateful and honored to live and work in such a caring and committed community — and one that is so willing to invest in its future.
Board and staff
Aspen Valley Land Trust
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I was disturbed by Aspen High School Principal Sarah Strassburger’s April 11 guest commentary: “State board of education representative off mark on Aspen High Survey.”