Aspen, CO, Dec. 17--At a time in which ski resorts are oft busy blowing snow and developing promotions to attract skiers, Aspen Skiing Company took a small timeout to promote goodwill. In conjunction with Refugee Direct Aid, a non-profit group aiding Kosovo refugees, Aspen Skiing Company gathered 5,000 old, Aspen Ski School uniforms to distribute amongst the war-ravaged, rural villages of Kosovo.
After fleeing to the safety of refugee camps during the war with the Serbs, many ethnic Albanians have now returned to their homes to find them completely destroyed and all their possessions gone.
"There were over 400 villages burned to the ground in a matter of three months which means there are roughly 300,000 people living in Kosovo that face possibility of winter without homes," says Chris Lane, of the Aspen Skiing Company's Environmental Affairs department.
Last month, Lane and fellow Aspen employee Auden Schendler went to Kosovo to deliver the uniforms and to see the direct result of their efforts. The volunteers were able to distribute uniforms to 750 families.
"The entire village looked like a cranberry Smurf cartoon," said Lane after handing out the uniforms.
"We can't think of a better purpose for these solid, cold-weather clothes," says Auden Schendler. Even more goodwill resulted from the Aspen uniforms because one was auctioned to NATO troops and it provided enough money to buy the entire village of Zatric new shoes for the winter.
In 1995, The Aspen Skiing Company also donated uniforms to Bosnia refugees.