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Chatting with Rich Burkley, the Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development of Aspen Skiing Company

The Editors | October 15, 2019 | People Feature


Colorado native Rich Burkley moved to Aspen 30 years ago and started as a purchasing clerk for Aspen Skiing Company. Since then, he’s held at least seven job titles within the company and now heads up strategy and business development. Translation: He plans the company’s future. For now, that means projects like the ongoing discussion over the Lift 1 side of Aspen Mountain, expanding terrain and navigating a ski resort in a warming planet.

But he’s as active in town as he is on the mountain. Any day of the week, catch him hiking (in the summer) or skinning (in the winter); eating out; and enjoying one of several cultural opportunities, from concerts at Belly Up to museum events.

What is your favorite thing about Aspen?
I love the variety and choices we have for skiing (inbounds, endless out of bounds), food, activities, events, music, art and all aspects of life.

What is your favorite ski run?
I try to ski all of our named trails once each season. Last year, I was into Burnt Mountain; I kept doing laps on A-Line, Rio and Split Tree (great snow, few people, long vertical).

What is your call for food or drink?
I’m a passionate omnivore. Some nights it’s sushi at Kenichi; another it’s the chicken board at Meat & Cheese. I like that we are seeing new Asian restaurants too.

What is the best way to start the day?
Skinning, and, some days, it’s my only skiing. I try to spend at least one day a week on a snowboard.

As a father, what do you suggest doing with kids?
In summer, I enjoyed taking my kids to No Problem Park (they’re grown now). They loved playing in the water and building dams. I also had fun taking them on local hut trips, usually Lindley, and they thought the idea of skiing back to a cabin was pretty cool and adventurous. I would pack all their stuff in a sled. Oh, and never underestimate the power of the fountain to entertain kids for hours.

How would you describe the Aspen uniform?
The Aspen uniform is what you were wearing for the day’s activity repurposed into the evening. My wife hates that, and I’m forbidden from wearing base layers to dinner. I do like that you can eat at the Nell or Betula in shorts and flip-flops.

Tell us one secret about Aspen that you’re willing to divulge.
Lately, I’ve been addicted to the chorizo/green chile breakfast burrito at Louis Swiss—at $9, it is amazing. Also, the hiking out of Lenado is very cool, and no one is on the trail. Plus, the Holden Marolt Mining & Ranching Museum at the entrance to town is a must-see for learning about our town’s history.

Tags: People

Photography by: rich burkley