Skico: Limelight Hotel on track, ‘The Aspen Way’ includes Snowmass |

Skico: Limelight Hotel on track, ‘The Aspen Way’ includes Snowmass

Snowmass Ski Area.
Anna Stonehouse/Snowmass Sun |

Aspen Skiing Co. is “going big” in Snowmass and believes it is “the place to be,” Skico president and CEO Mike Kaplan recently told the town’s elected officials.

“I mean that. And (as) you walk around and talk to people, I’m hearing it as well, whether it’s new families that moved here, Chris Klug, people coming up here to do their mountain biking every day or as much as possible,” Kaplan said. “You guys have a great story here and we’re on board and looking forward to seeing Snowmass be all it can be, because I think it’s happening before our very eyes.”

Kaplan and other Skico officials appeared before the Snowmass Town Council on Oct. 16 to give an annual update on some of its happenings, such as its new marketing campaign and progress on the Limelight Hotel.

The Limelight is on-track to meet its November 2018 opening and Skico is actively seeking a general manager and a sales manager for the Snowmass property to start Jan. 1, according to hotel managing director Richard Stettner.

Skico intends to add a few more positions between the first and second quarter of next year, with the majority of the staff starting in September or October, Stettner said.

“We think we’re taking all the best lessons that we’ve learned from Limelight Aspen and Limelight Ketchum,” Kaplan said of their first two hotels, Snowmass Village being the third.

“We’re trying to take what’s core to that brand and that experience, being the community living room,” he said, “creating a real sense of vitality in there, with live music and a real focus and emphasis on bringing the community in.”

Stettner echoed Kaplan’s sentiment, adding that they “learned a lot from the (Limelight) Ketchum property.”

“I think we transferred six internal (Skico) employees up to Ketchum, which helped us develop that culture and that brand.”

The Limelight Snowmass, however, will cater to families and children more so than its other locations, Kaplan said.

“We’ve made some changes to the plan, some tweaks, where there’s really a kids’ room,” he said.

As part of the update, Skico also discussed its new marketing campaign, which is centered around four key principles — love, respect, unity and commit — that are branded “The Aspen Way.”

Kaplan first explained why Skico felt the unusual approach to its marketing is critical, offering, “Within the business context of what’s going on in today’s political climate, we feel strongly that we need to speak up for those things that pose, honestly, an existential threat to our business and our way of doing business.”

He later pointed to climate change and the international perception of the United States as examples.

A few of the council members applauded Skico’s off-piste approach, including Snowmass Mayor Markey Butler, who described the message as powerful and “absolutely awesome.”

Town Councilman Bill Madsen dubbed one of Skico’s clips as “outstanding,” but questioned why Snowmass wasn’t included in “The Aspen Way” message.

“At the risk of putting you on the spot,” he said, “there must have been some discussion about including Snowmass in that as well.”

Skico vice president of marketing Christian Knapp told the council The Aspen Way is an extension of the Aspen Idea as well as an ethos for the Roaring Fork Valley.

“While (The Aspen-Snowmass Way) would’ve worked, I think it would’ve been more cumbersome in terms of having a really tangible, tight hashtag,” Knapp said. “And everywhere you see this communications, it’s always going to be attached to an Aspen-Snowmass logo.

“But we do believe that The Aspen Way, the Aspen Idea, that ethos, is bigger than just the town of Aspen.”

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