Origin Story of Aspen Peak

Leigh Vogel | September 23, 2019 | Culture People

The original editor-in-chief of Aspen Peak looks back 15 years to 2004 and recalls the story of how it all began.

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The Costners graced the second issue cover

I wasn’t unlike many others who visited Aspen in the summer and never left. While I gained my footing as a local in 2004, Jason Binn, founder of Niche Media, asked me to meet with two members of the Gotham staff as they were exploring the idea of launching a magazine in Aspen.

The three of us met at the J-Bar on a cold night and brainstormed. Within days, I had a palette of Gotham and Hamptons magazines in the back of my big-tire Bronco and the launch work began.

Binn came out to Aspen and set up meetings with every person he knew, every person I knew, every friend that had a friend, and the magazine network started taking shape. It was speed meeting at its most intense. A sofa at The Little Nell served as basecamp, and by day two we had secured writers and photographers, and had met with Alex Halperin, who ultimately became publisher. Many of the people we met turned into lifelong friends and the eclectic family that made this thing tick.

We met with business owners, store managers, hotel managers, chefs, event planners and writers. We had one meeting on the street that included a pitch on the philosophy of life and ethics, taking into account space and time. (An iteration of this last idea made it into the book.) We covered beautiful parties, shops and landscapes, and, at some point, slated a story on a man who walked his goats (Wynken, Blynken and Nod) along local trails. Looking back through the first issue, with Kate Hudson on the cover, I marvel at the abundance of talent in Aspen.

A small, one-room office space was secured and we lined up desks against walls and worked. We planned, laughed, perhaps cried a few times and launched Aspen Peak. Successfully.

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Summer covergirl Kate Hudson on Aspen Peak's first cover



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