Pandora’s proposal comes when climate is suffering
The idea of expanding ski areas in a world that will see warmer winters and much shorter ski seasons due to global warming is akin to investing in Cummins diesel engines just as electrical vehicles are poised to dominate the auto industry. In a word, it doesn’t make sense. Hence many of us watching Aspen Skiing Co. with their big plans for the Pandora’s expansion have to wonder what’s going on at the C-suite there.
To be sure, Skico has done some admirable things with their efforts at a zero-carbon energy portfolio, recycling, support of environmental programs, etc. But among the four mountains, we have close to 5,500 acres of skiing already. An acre is roughly the size of a football field, so that means when a tourist arrives, he/she/they have about quarter-billion square feet of terrain to choose from. That terrain ranges from runs on Buttermilk that are so gentle as to induce drowsiness to chutes on Highlands and Aspen Mountain that will challenge the best of the best.
In this day and age of out-of-control wildfires, a sixth massive species extinction (the last one was 66 million years ago, by the way), and horrendous signs of where our natural environment is headed and what it will mean for youngsters, do we really need a ski area expansion here in Aspen? Talking about cognitive dissonance!
If Skico wants to be a good citizen, it should abandon these shortsighted plans. The effort to expand signals a lack of care for wildlife habitat, an unrecognizable compartmentalization of values and some sort of internal company drive to create buzz in the ski industry.
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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
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Kudos to Laurine Lasselle for her well-written, well-researched article interpreting the data from the 2020 census (“2020 census data highlights relationship among resort communities, downvalley locales,” Aspen Journalism).