Aspen and Keystone CEO, environmental pioneer

Passing Date: 
Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Bob Maynard, a chief executive of several Colorado resorts and an early advocate of corporate environmental activism, died of natural causes at his home on Orcas Island, Washington, on November 11, at the age of 93.

Born in Oakland, California, Maynard was introduced to the wilderness by Earl Warren, his scoutmaster, then the district attorney of Alameda County and later Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. Maynard got a summer job in Yosemite Valley at 16, and later spent a year in the Navy.

After his return from the Navy, Yosemite National Park beckoned. For the next 24 years, Maynard rose through the ranks of the Curry Company in Yosemite, from busboy to manager of Badger Pass Ski Area and the Ahwanee Hotel, and finally vice-president of operations. In Yosemite he was most proud of convincing the park to close some roads to cars, bringing in propane shuttle buses, and starting the Yosemite Mountaineering School and Yosemite Institute.

During his early days at the park as a bus boy, Maynard helped out a future icon in ski films. “Bob would feed Warren out of the back door of the kitchen at Yosemite from people’s lunches that had come back uneaten!” recalls Laurie Miller, Warren’s wife and a friend of the family.

In 1973 Maynard moved to Colorado to become the CEO and President of the new Keystone Resort. During his 13-year tenure, Keystone grew from about 50,000 skier visits to more than one million per year. His innovations included expanding convenient locations for lift-ticket sales, a daily grooming schedule for the majority of ski runs, greatly increasing snowmaking-covered terrain and the introduction of night skiing, an innovation for a large Western resort. He left to be president and CEO of Sundance Enterprises at Sundance, Utah.

In 1988, Maynard became the President and CEO of the Aspen Skiing Company. During his nine years at the helm, he brought from his days at Yosemite a deep appreciation of corporate activism and leadership in customer service and environmental policies. He prioritized green programs at Aspen, a pioneering concept at the time in the ski industy.

Other milestones at Aspen during his tenure include the acquisition of Aspen Highlands and the construction of The Little Nell Hotel and later the Snowmass Lodge and Club, in addition to ownership of the Aspen Meadows, which hosts the Aspen Institute, and the Aspen Music Festival.

Maynard emphasized to the staff the importance of little things—like providing free tissue at every lift—in addition to being a passionate advocate of the big things at a ski resort, such as supporting employee housing. He was inducted into the Colorado Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame in 1993. 

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