Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Mike Kaplan thumbnail

Mike Kaplan

Mike led Aspen Skiing Company for nearly two decades, deepening the connection between company, community, and the environment.

Mike was raised in the suburbs of Chicago, far from the mountains, but his father was a fanatic for winter sports and they traveled to the Rockies, mostly to Taos, to ski every winter vacation. He spent weekdays running slalom and GS under the lights at the 250 foot high Wilmot Mountain, Wisconsin. In pursuit of his ski racing career, Mike attended the Stratton Mt. School, later attending college at CU, where he skied on the B Team and spent winter breaks training at Aspen Highlands.

Armed with a degree in International Affairs, Mike became a ski bum for a winter and headed to Taos, where he learned the every aspect of the ski business.

Mike was a ski instructor in Taos when he met and married his wife Laura. They moved to Colorado in 1992, where Mike earned an MBA at the University of Denver. He landed a job in Aspen, where their old friend from Taos, Henry Hornberger, was the Aspen Mountain Ski School Director.

Working his way up to VP of Mountain Operations, Mike enthusiastically supported the effort to open Highland Bowl and Deep Temerity, among other on-mountain improvements.

Mike’s tenure as President & CEO of Aspen Skiing Company from 2006-2023 spanned the sale and re-acquisition of Snowmass Base Village, the Great Recession of 2008 and the Covid 19 pandemic. Under his leadership, SkiCo became known as a global leader in environmental sustainability and boldly advocated for a carbon free economy while modeling solutions such as the coal methane project in Somerset. He pushed the traditional boundaries of business engagement on social issues after the 2016 presidential election with the locally published Op Ed “We’re Still Here” and the 2017 Wall Street Journal Op Ed about the importance of Mexican Tourism. Thanks to the Crown Family, the mountain experience saw continuous investment and improvements. Mike oversaw the development of Snowmass Base Village (new restaurants and terrain including Burnt Mountain), the upgrading of Buttermilk lifts and base area and the Hideout children’s Center, and the completion of the Aspen Mountain Master Plan, enabling top-to-bottom snowmaking and the Hero’s terrain and lift, as well as the establishment of Aspen Highlands as a top resort in North America. Mike dedicated himself to community engagement, serving on the boards of AVSC, Aspen Community Foundation, and many committees, including the Aspen Airport Vision Committee. He also worked closely with Alta, Palisades, and Jackson Hole to create the Mountain Collective Pass, which ultimately led to the creation of the Ikon Pass and Alterra Mountain Company in partnership with KSL Capital Partners.

Mike and Laura have been married for over thirty years and they raised four kids in the Valley who all participated in AVSC and graduated from Aspen High. Mike’s passion for the sport, the community, and the people he worked with never wavered and is second only to his love for his family and his sincere appreciation to Jim Crown for his loyal support, guidance and friendship.