A year ago today, on the 19th of June, a date long known as Juneteenth and as of this week an official holiday in America commemorating the last pockets of slavery being eradicated, Aspen Snowmass’s ownership and I published an open letter to the community, “We Commit.” Paula, Jim, and I felt it was important to obligate ourselves and the company to learning about racial injustices. We promised first to listen and to educate ourselves, with a goal of determining our role in promoting a productive and civilized conversation about justice.

I feel good about what we’ve done in the past year. Many employees took the time to read and listen to podcasts and articles that discuss race in America. Listening to “Seeing White” was a revelation for me. I know it was for other employees, too. What started as an idea of a community read of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me” became a collaboration with Aspen Words and Roaring Fork Show Up to create a series of Little Libraries that are planted around town. The anti-racism books we stocked flew off the shelves. So we’ve been adding amazing fiction, kids stories, poetry, and biographies by Black authors.
Update on Racial Justice efforts by Aspen Skiing Company
We built a relationship with Quincy Shannon, a community leader in Denver and the president of Ski Noir, a Black ski club. Ski Noir’s leadership came to Snowmass, but Quincy also insisted that the relationship not be a one-way street. At his invitation, I and other executives went to Denver for two days. Quincy showed us around the Five Points district. It was eye opening, moving, and, truly, a privilege. We stepped into another culture and saw incredible displays of kindness, dignity, and a deep commitment to community.

We have a lot more work to do. And we’re not stopping, which is why I am writing: To invite you to join me in this ongoing journey. Quincy will be presenting at the Little Nell Grand Salon on June 30 at 6pm. He’ll help us understand that the long-stated and defended ideals of America are not yet realized in many places in the Black community.
On June 29 (10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.) and on June 30 (noon) at the ABC office, Wayne Hare, a former Aspen Snowmass patroller and leader of the Civil Conversations Project, will hold sessions on “Falsehoods and the Fabric of Our Nation: the Intersection of Race and Life in America.” America has what Toni Morrison has referred to as a “Master Narrative”—the story that America was settled by European immigrants, that “true” Americans are white or European in ancestry, and that everybody else is “other.” He’ll speak to this and more, so employees can sign up here. We’ll send information about talks in Ketchum later this year.
I view this ongoing education as a real world example of the first half of our purpose statement, “Inspire journeys within to advance possibilities for all.” The “journey within” in this case is the process of learning and then reflecting. As lofty as the purpose statement may sound, it can really be that simple. The new perspectives that arise from those moments of contemplation can lead to a greater empathy, a sense of purpose, and a motivation to act.

Will that lead us to “advance possibilities for all”? I believe it will.
Update on Racial Justice efforts by Aspen Skiing Company
Mike Kaplan
President & CEO

Related Content

Racial Justice - our stance at Aspen Snowmass
Racial Justice