Aspen Skiing Company, a certifiable progressive and green company affectionately called “SkiCo” by the local progs of Aspen, boasts of their concern for people over profits, even as they uncannily make lots of the later at the expense of the former.
SkiCo operates the four ski mountains on National Forests around Aspen, where they charge people $175 a day for transporting them up the mountainsides on lifts powered by electricity generated by burning fossil fuels (elsewhere, of course) so that the people can slide back down. They do so while simultaneously decrying the use of fossil fuels by others, in order to buy indulgences from the global warming priests.
SkiCo’s sliding-down-the-mountainsides gig is a feeder for an adjunct hospitality gig. They operate a hodgepodge of restaurants on the mountains where you can get a half-decent hamburger for, well, if you have to ask then you can’t afford it, and also get a bottle of wine to bolster your confidence if not sharpen your skill for the descent on crowded snowy slopes.
The hospitality gig also includes running a Five Star hotel called The Little Nell, conveniently located at the base of a gondola that takes skiers up the mountainside. At the Nell, you can enjoy New Years Eve but it’ll cost you an arm and a leg. Turns out, you can also enjoy a night in early March but it might cost you your life.
Seems a certain guest at the Nell tested positive for Coronavirus immediately after returning home to Australia. The guest was part of a group of Aussies who socialized around Aspen, as visitors do, especially Aussies. (Bless their hearts!) Tests on nine of her companions came back positive as well.
Fine, those things happen these days, and so far in this story I’m not blaming SkiCo. I’m not blaming the Aspen Times either, as they duly reported events in the newspaper. But then things got dicey.
The public naturally wanted to know exactly where these people had been, and when. That information was surely known to health and law enforcement officials, but SkiCo wouldn’t inform the public.
Nor would the Aspen Times. Either they didn’t bother to find out, or they did find out and decided not to tell us. Notably, SkiCo is of course a major advertiser in the Aspen Times.
So all of Aspen was left wondering if they’d shared a restaurant or public toilet or elevator or enclosed gondola with persons infected with Coronavirus.
Not only did this information blackout leave the people of Aspen wondering about their personal safety, it left health authorities without the information necessary to track the chain of infection.
And so now, in addition to the Aussie infections, we have confirmed cases of intra-community infection in Aspen.
It gets worse. The governor of Colorado declared a state emergency last week about the same time the president declared a national one. On Thursday, Vail announced it was closing Vail Mountain to skiing due to concern about the virus.
SkiCo refused to do the same in Aspen even after the governor’s declared state of emergency, notwithstanding that the confirmed cases in Aspen were far greater than those in Vail. The President of SkiCo said this: “We see it as a vital public service to stay up and running.”
To which I would say, if this were not literally a potential issue of life and death, “HAHAHAHA.”
Really? Keeping the ski lifts running is a “vital public service” during a national and state health emergency?
SkiCo is of course in business to make money, notwithstanding its self-serving protestations to the contrary, and I suppose they stood to make even more money by staying open when archrival Vail was closed. But is this the best rationale they can offer?
Either they’re stupid or they think their customers are.
After SkiCo refused to close the Aspen ski areas voluntarily, the governor finally used his emergency powers to order them to do so. SkiCo then issued a press release announcing that it would comply with the governor’s order because “We were told to shut down so we’re shutting down.”
How noble. I guess we’re supposed to congratulate SkiCo for complying, reluctantly, with an emergency order from the governor designed to protect the public from a declared pandemic.
At SkiCo and the Aspen Times, they say they’re for people before profits. But apparently not when there’s a public health emergency with threats to the public that might lessen those profits. It’s so much easier to, for example, ban plastic straws, as SkiCo did in its restaurants last year with considerable congratulation from itself and from the Aspen Times.
It’s in times of crisis that a person’s true character is revealed. Judge for yourself the character of SkiCo and the Aspen Times.