Tom Hazard came to Buttermilk last Sunday morning to witness the “day-after” quality of the plaza — empty but for a few ambitious uphillers and a massive overstaffing of uniformed Aspen Skiing Company employees. “I walked outside,” he told a fellow employee, “and it felt like it was just another day…”
But of course, it was not. On Saturday night, the governor had told Aspen Skiing Company President and CEO Mike Kaplan (twice) that we had to shut down. And that’s why senior staff showed up to help manage the potential chaos on a Sunday morning coming down — not a day of worship or community or redemption, but what Kris Kristofferson once called “the disappearing dreams of yesterday.”
Over the past few days, we have been parsing through the ethical calculus of a once-in-a-lifetime, maybe once-in-a-century event, trying to make the right decisions in a pathless landscape without reference points. We weighed the loss of jobs by ski instructors who depend for their livelihood on these last few busy weeks in March. We weighed the long-planned vacation a family may have made a year ago. We weighed our employee health; our role in the region and in the country; and what our closing would do to other businesses in the community. And then, the Governor made the decision easier, and we closed.
Now the hard work begins. As Lee Solomon, one of our Food and Beverage Managers said, "maybe now, we’ll finally learn what we don’t know.”
What is out there? What does the future hold? What ought we do now?