News Release

Chris Kiley skiing in deep powder

Chris Kiley, Aspen Skiing Company Q&A

For more than 50 years Design Workshop has provided landscape architecture, planning, urban design, and strategic services to clients in North America and throughout the world. We are committed to creating special places that meet today's needs and are sustainable environments that will live on for generations. We wouldn’t have been able to work on all these incredible projects without our clients. Today, we would like you to meet one of these amazing clients – Chris Kiley, Senior Vice President of Planning & Development at Aspen Skiing Company. Aspen Skiing Company is a long-time client of Design Workshop and our relationship with Chris goes back over two decades. Here's what he had to say about the work Aspen Skiing Company is doing and his experience working with Design Workshop.

Tell us about your journey to get to your current role at Aspen Skiing Company.

It has been a long and winding journey but I’ll give you the quick version. After getting a degree in City & Regional Planning from Cornell University, I got a job working on the planning, design and construction of Moda Arena, formerly the Rose Garden, in Portland, Oregon. This gave me formative experience in event operations and guest service in an urban, infill setting. Yet, I felt the call to be a ski bum so I moved to Aspen, Colo. for a winter. I ended up lucking into a job at Aspen Skiing Company as their first transportation and employee housing planner based on my experience in Portland. Thereafter six years in Aspen, I went to graduate school at MIT to study urban design and real estate development, came back to Aspen and worked for Design Workshop and again at Aspen Skiing Company as a project manager before following my wife to Los Angeles. After more than a decade spent working in LA on a series of really cool adaptive reuse and historic preservation projects, we felt the call of the Roaring Fork Valley and moved back to raise our two young girls. Today, I’m the Senior Vice President of Planning and Development, running the department I once worked in as a junior level planner.

How are your passions in your role at Aspen Skiing Company complemented by Design Workshop?

At Aspen Skiing Company, our vision is to help our guests renew mind, body and spirit in order to inspire a better world, and we are passionate about delivering meaningful improvements to the ski areas to help further those goals. We are committed to building projects that inspire, that educate and that stand the test of time. Design Workshop’s Legacy Design process that puts a focus on thoughtful, sustainable design aligns with our company’s desire to be a steward of the Aspen and Snowmass ski experience. Design Workshop also brings decades of experience shaping some of America’s most noteworthy ski resorts so they are an excellent partner to have on our side, drawing from best of class examples to help us utilize best practices while we seek to push the envelopes of innovation and sustainability. Our relationship is symbiotic. Design Workshop has been working with Aspen Skiing Company for decades, so it is a true partnership that together creates the beautiful, built environment that so many enjoy in Aspen – with a particular appreciation for the intersection of the built and the unbuilt environment.

How is Aspen Skiing Company tackling affordable housing as part of their resort infrastructure?

Aspen has long been a leader in the recognition that affordable community housing is a key component of a sustainable resort economy. But we haven’t solved for it, and the problems only become more pronounced as more and more people choose to live in beautiful resort environments like Aspen Snowmass. Like other mountain towns, affordable housing continues to be one of our top priorities. We can build beautiful resorts and ski lifts, but if we cannot provide housing for the employees who operate them, no one wins. The Aspen area faces geographic, social, political, economic and construction constraints that make building new affordable housing very challenging. Fortunately, Aspen Skiing Company and partners like Design Workshop are committed to solving the challenge with creative, long-term solutions.

We are collaborating on thoughtful ways to design and program housing sites in unconventional ways: from identifying transit-oriented sites that allow for maximum density without overwhelming resources or the surrounding environment, to identifying construction methods using sustainable materials that can be built off-site to address the lack of construction workers available in Aspen. We explore means of delivering housing in a creative yet rational and replicable way. Design Workshop and our other partners are helping us to address this huge challenge, and always with an eye towards ensuring sustainability, livability and community in everything we deliver. Yet what we are doing is only one small part of it. To truly address the affordable housing crisis in Aspen, it is going to take all employers, local governments and businesses to collaborate on long-term solutions that can shift the paradigm away from ‘yes housing, just not here’ to ‘yes, housing here please’.

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