Aspen stakes claim as the premiere human-powered playground as skiers ditch lifts and traffic to walk uphill
“Alpine skiers are getting bored. They are sick of crowds. They are sick of traffic. I think people are ready for a cultural shift," said Erik Lambert, a businessman searching for a mountain to anchor an all-uphill resort.
Come get your sweat on in Aspen.
Surrounded by wilderness, public lands and ski resorts, the City of Aspen is angling for opportunities in the surging world of backcountry skiing, hoping to establish itself as the North American capital for human-powered play.
With a calendar heavy with uphill races and events and a deep stable of conservation-minded locals eager for hard-earned fun, Aspen is trumpeting an “uphill economy” plan as a way to ignite the Western Slope’s outdoor recreation industry and build its next generation of visitors.
Imagine big-name outdoor companies setting up research-and-design hubs in Aspen. Imagine a new generation of vacationers coming to Aspen every season for an array of beginner-to-expert hiking, pedaling and uphill-skiing adventures. The so-called uphill economy plan has simmered in Aspen for years and is now emerging as a pillar for the city’s financial future alongside the booming backcountry ski movement.
“I am very committed to diversifying local economy in a way that attracts businesses and jobs and people who can help us preserve our small-town culture,” said Aspen’s outgoing three-term mayor Steve Skadron, who envisions a network of connected outdoor businesses spread across what he calls Colorado’s “underutilized golden triangle” between Aspen, Vail and Grand Junction.
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