The Lester Crown family’s involvement in Aspen |

The Lester Crown family’s involvement in Aspen

— According to Forbes Magazine, the members of the Lester Crown family, of Chicago, have stakes in such high profile investments as the Chicago Bulls, New York Yankees and General Dynamics. The family also owns the Aspen Skiing Co., and, if an announced $1.5 billion sale of Intrawest's six resorts closes in early autumn, they, together with KSL Capital Management, will also own Steamboat Ski Resort.

Lester Crown, about to turn 92 on June 7, has two adult children. His son James Crown is president of the family investment company and the managing partner of Aspen Skiing Co.

Lester's daughter Susan Crown is a philanthropist and businesswoman who founded the private equity company, Owl Creek Partners and served as its CEO. She also founded the Susan Crown Exchange with the mission of helping people acquire skills in digital and social-emotional learning.

The Aspen Times reports that the members of the Crown Family have preferred to remain in the background during their 32-year involvement with Aspen Skiing Co.,letting company executives do the talking.

Jim Crown took an uncharacteristically high profile in the ski town in 2004, when his face appeared in newspaper ads as Aspen Skiing Co. was seeking town approval for a new base village at Snowmass Village.

Asked by Aspen Times reporter Scott Condon in July 2008, "If you could make one change to the ski areas, with finances and politics not being a factor, what would it be?"

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Crown replied, “I would love to wave a magic wand and have the base areas at each of our four mountains be complete, right-sized, guest-friendly, viable developments."

Asked “Why have you supported the Aspen Skiing Co.'s direction in environmental activism?"

Crown, in town for the dedication of a solar farm that Aspen Skiing had invested $1.1 million in, answered, "Enlightened self interest. We have a responsibility as the primary custodians of one of the most beautiful places on Earth. We want people to have access and to love this area, but in a sustainable manner. As owners of the Aspen Skiing Co., we hope to leave this as a thriving business for our children; a long-term view absolutely requires attention to the impact of human visitors on the quality of our environment."

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1