by Christine Benedetti
After 45 years, Peter King is saying goodbye to Aspen Skiing Co. In May, the Aspen Mountain manager will step down from his post to retire. But first, he recounts his tenure in the Roaring Fork Valley, from arriving here as a ski bum in 1971 to climbing the company’s ranks—from ski instructor at Buttermilk to one of SkiCo’s most coveted positions: leading its crown jewel.How do you feel leaving on top?
I started out at Buttermilk, and it was really special. What a marvelous place. It's so rewarding to watch people start as never-evers and fall in love with skiing and be blown away with how fun the experience is. The 12 years here [at Aspen Mountain] have been fabulous. I often feel I have the best job in the world.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
As a ski instructor [and former Buttermilk Ski School director], being able to introduce people to the sport and help them along and get them into it and share the love that I have for the sport with other people. You really feel good when it hits someone and they can do it...
I certainly wasn’t doing a lot of the work, but I’m proud of World Cup and the level it rose to during my time. Jim Hancock’s team on the hill, the entire organizing committee and the community worked so hard and it culminated a year ago with the very successful World Cup Finals. That was probably the biggest event we’ve had here in alpine ski racing since the ‘50s. … I thought in all my years here, it captured the hearts of the whole community more than any other event.