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Coping with change – The Aspen experience

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Still, the benefits of that program were enormous. "We got 2,000 shifts from our salaried people," explains Perry, "and that saved us a pile of money. But more importantly, it allowed us to lead by example. Our staff, the community, our guests: everyone saw what we were doing. It wasn't just a one-time occurrence; it happened every week!"

Adding the two frontline shifts to the already-mountainous work pile of a busy ski executive was exhausting, admits Perry. But it worked. "It was tough for everyone," he says. "We made sacrifices. We rallied together. We became tighter as a team." In short, he concludes, it was yet another initiative that really paid off.

And the April '09 editorial in the Aspen Times was quick to put these initiatives into perspective. "It's a rough time to be in the resort business," the story began. "(But) despite the grim statistics," it continued, "here's something else that's remarkable. The experience on The Aspen Skiing Co's mountains didn't diminish one bit this season... this is extraordinary and it shows that the company's commitment to its customers is more than mere lip service."

Here's hoping that other resorts are ready to raise their game beyond lip service too...