Vladislav Doronin’s purchase of the Lift One property in Aspen will likely be pyrrhic. Very large sums of money are now taking control of almost all Aspen institutions, including the other newspaper, which has now conceded editorial control to Doronin.

However, there is one party the billionaires cannot purchase: Mother Nature. Doronin is likely to discover that his “investment” in the Gorsuch Haus proposal has become worthless by the time the project is finished, thanks to climate change. On present trends, the ski season may be a memory in 10 years and the drought may make summer in Aspen little different from summer in Las Vegas.

It is even an open question as to whether the town of Aspen will survive the spread of fires that seem bent on consuming much of the West.

Some may say Doronin’s investment is a warning. Russian investments in Europe today are being confiscated by governments. The non-Russian rich are seeing the value of their properties clobbered.

In Aspen, Vail and other mountain towns, it will be the forces of climate change, not governments, that destroy value.


Philip Verleger