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Connecting the World through Skiing

  • Maker + Place 315 East Hyman Avenue Aspen, CO, 81611 United States (map)

Connecting the World through Skiing

Entrepreneurship in Ski Communities


Please join us for an event with the Aspen Buffs: CU Alumni, Forever Buffs, and the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado Boulder.

We will explore the current state & future of business and entrepreneurship in ski communities, including the challenges & opportunities presented in a climate of ski area consolidation.

Register for this event here

Program overview:

5 p.m.: Networking, Cocktails, and Meet the Aspen Entrepreneurs and CU Faculty & Staff
6 p.m.: Moderated panel event
7 p.m.: Questions and follow-up conversations until 8pm

Free and open to the public.


Sharon Matusik - Dean, CU Leeds Business School
Mike Kaplan - CEO, Aspen Skiing Company
Matt Doyle - FATMAP, Colorado
Rudy DeFelice - Mammoth Mountain 


Skippy Mesirow - Aspen Entrepreneurs

Meet the Panel:

Rudolph DeFelice, Sr. VP Business Development of Mammoth Mountain Ski Area
Rudy once held a respectable position as a large firm lawyer, but a planned 3-year dalliance in the entrepreneurial world - now in its 17th year – revealed his true calling. He’s founded and led venture backed tech companies and held several intrapreneurial roles, introducing entrepreneurial business lines and disciplines in established companies. His current work at Mammoth is focused on creating the conditions for a thriving tech and creative culture, including coworking, venture acceleration and bundled products designed to appeal to millennial and tech customers. He has raised over $11M in venture capital, sits on several Boards, has given a TEDx talk, been interviewed on national TV a few times, published an Amazon Best Seller on breakout growth and is working on his backhand. He’s an alumnus of the University of Connecticut School of Law and Harvard Business School.

Matt Doyle, FATMAP
After spending the better part of a decade in the healthcare industry, Matt Doyle decided to follow his dreams and part ways with his cushy corporate marketing job to create his own ski app. Dubbed “skiGenius”, Doyle set out to build an interactive ski guide app to help skiers plan itineraries based on their abilities and terrain preferences. Shortly after launching the app, Doyle left to join forces with FATMAP to help usher in the next evolution of outdoor mapping. After spending a year leading product development and bringing FATMAP to market here in the US, Doyle now oversees North American operations for FATMAP; managing user acquisition, map production, and product localization initiatives. FATMAP provides outdoor enthusiasts with the most detailed 3D outdoor maps available on the planet. Available in the palm of your hand with expert information from local guides and advanced terrain intelligence tools, FATMAP enables users to seek out adventure like never before.

Mike Kaplan, CEO and President of Aspen Snowmass
Mike is President and CEO of Aspen Skiing Company, which includes oversight of the four mountains of Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk, as well as the hotel division, including The Little Nell and Limelight hotels. Mike started with the company in 1993 after earning an MBA at the University of Denver. After six years in management of the Ski & Snowboard Schools of Aspen/Snowmass, Mike was promoted to VP of ski operations in 1999, chief operating officer in 2005, and to CEO in November of 2006. Mike learned the ski business under the tutelage of the Blake Family, Jean Mayer, and the rest of the crew in Taos, New Mexico, where he worked from 1986-1992. He grew up outside of Chicago and spent his youth as a ski racer on the Wilmot Junior Race Team, and graduated high school from Stratton Mountain School and college from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a BA in International Affairs. Mike is very active in the community as Treasurer of Aspen Community Foundation and is a member of the United States Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) Foundation Board of Trustees.

Sharon Matusik, Dean and Professor of Management & Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business
Sharon Matusik is the Dean and Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado. Dr. Matusik’s research focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation, knowledge assets and venture capital. For example, she has looked at topics such as how markets value innovation activities of firms, what accounts for variation in profitability levels of entrepreneurial firms, how the diversification of a venture capital firm affects its performance, the development of risk capital markets around the globe, and gains from innovation activities in emerging markets. Her work has been published in top international academic journals, and is widely cited in the management field.

Skippy Mesirow, Co Founder & Director of Community Relations of Aspen Entrepreneurs - Moderator
Skippy Mesirow is a CU Grad and a community builder at heart. Captain of the Boulder Freeride Ski Team and 2008 Skier-X National Champion Skippy has been in Aspen for 13 years now. Skippy is the Co Founder & Director of Community Relations for Aspen Entrepreneurs, a RFV non-profit focused on creating the next generation of leaders by investing capital, expertise, and resources to help young entrepreneurs succeed locally in the retail, hospitality and service industries. In addition, Skippy he helped found and was a two term Chair of the Aspen Next Generation Advisory Commission, a city commission dedicated to advancing the policy interests of the 18-40 demographic who live or work in Aspen. He was a founding member of the Aspen City of Wellbeing, a non-profit shifting culture towards a state of optimum wellbeing. Skippy is also the Chair of Aspen's Planning and Zoning Commission, was a City Council Candidate in 2017, and finds time in his day job as the managing director of SkyRun Vacation Rentals and Property Management.

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