Michelle Obama in Aspen for ski vacation

by Carolyn Sackariason, Aspen Daily News Columnist

First Lady Michelle Obama arrived in Aspen on Friday afternoon and is here with her daughters for a ski vacation.
 
Few details about her trip were available. Sources said she is staying at the home of Jim and Paula Crown, owners of the Aspen Skiing Co. She is reportedly skiing at Buttermilk today, where the Crowns, of Chicago, own a home on the Tiehack side.
 
Several people have known about the “low-key” vacation, with the Secret Service in town for the past few days scoping out places for the family to relax and enjoy what the resort has to offer.
 
Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo confirmed that he has met with the Secret Service and has loaned seven deputies to help protect the first lady and her family.
 
“This is not state visit. ... I think she has the right and privilege to be able to escape from public life,” he said. “It’s a privilege to have the first lady here.”
 
Pitkin County Democratic Party Chair Blanca O’Leary said she heard that Obama was visiting but hadn’t gotten confirmation from the White House. O’Leary added that she’s pleased that the first lady has chosen Aspen to spend some down time with her daughters, Sasha and Malia.
 
Last President’s Day weekend Obama and the girls spent the holiday at Vail and Beaver Creek.
 
O’Leary noted that there are more Democratic supporters locally than our neighbors to the east.
 
“I’m very happy she’s here and not at Vail because we have better ski mountains and there was a higher turnout for the president here,” O’Leary said. “I hope she comes back.”
 
Obama was in Aspen last July when she spoke at the Crowns’ residence in front of about 150 supporters, most of whom paid between $1,000 and $10,000 to attend. The event was a joint fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee and President Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.
 
In her 28-minute talk, Obama thanked the Crowns — whom she described as personal friends — for hosting the event. She touted her husband’s accomplishments, highlighting that he took over an economy “on the brink of collapse” and nurtured it into “one starting to grow again.”
 
During conversation with Obama, O’Leary said the first lady was impressed with Aspen.
 
No public events are scheduled for the first lady’s visit.


sack@aspendailynews.com