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VP Pence’s Aspen visit lets the air out of a local balloon biz

Author: Kara Mason - January 4, 2018 - Updated: January 4, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence (

Vice President Mike Pence, who has said the Trump administration is a best friend to small business, seemingly squashed one Aspen company’s busiest time of year when he vacationed in the area last week.

Above It All Balloon Co. had to cancel rides because of security issues, according to the Aspen Times, which first reported the story Dec. 30. Owner Pam Wood acknowledged high winds also played a role on one of the days the VP was in town.

“I understand the security aspect,” she told the paper. “But let the little wheels on the track make a living so the rest can roll.”

An area of three nautical miles over where Pence and his wife were staying was considered “national defense airspace” and grounded the flights, costing Wood somewhere between $10,000 and $20,000. Other aircraft were also prohibited from flying over that area.

Wood also claims the veep and second lady’s trip, which she says she was only notified of the morning the Pences arrived, hurt her staff’s pocketbooks, as they make tips from balloon riders and depend on that income.

The Pences reportedly stayed at a private estate off Owl Creek Road outside of Snowmass Village, the Aspen Times said. Normally, when the Obamas would vacation in the area, they’d stay at West Buttermilk, which was further from the balloon launch site.

Kara Mason

Kara Mason

Kara Mason covers southern Colorado, Aurora and statewide issues for She also writes for the Aurora Sentinel.