Challenge Aspen Staff
CEO & Co-Founderhouston@challengeaspen.org
As Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Houston has built Challenge Aspen into one of the world’s premier disabilities programs. Houston works closely with the Board of Directors to establish Challenge Aspen missions, goals and objectives and to prepare operating and capital budgets. It is also a critical part of Houston’s job as CEO to establish and develop close working relationships in the community, expanding disability networks and raising funds to maintain the organization’s budget.
CEO & Co-Founder
Director of Operationsanne@challengeaspen.org
Anne has been a Colorado girl since 1980, when she moved from Connecticut to live in the Rocky Mountains and pursue her love of skiing. Anne first landed in Telluride, where she stayed for 21 years, before moving to Aspen in 2001. Anne is a true outdoor fanatic, with an extensive background in the ski industry. Anne has worked in everything from retail sales management, ski instruction, advanced ticket sales, private lesson ski school coordination and managed a high level adaptive race program. All of these experiences give Anne a strong foundation of what it takes to run a successful organization. Anne starts her day with a hike or bike ride to work and ends it with her headlamp on, running, hiking, cycling or skiing home! Anne also enjoys spending time with friends and family, heliskiing or rafting with her son, and traveling to one of her favorite vacation spots, Maui, Hawaii.
Director of Operations
Database & Reservations Project Assistant×
Database & Reservations Project Assistant
Sarah grew up in Boulder, Colorado and is thankful to call the Rocky Mountains her home! Sarah attended American University in Washington, DC earning a B.A. in Public Communications. During Sarah’s college years she worked for a nonprofit organization that developed art therapy programs for institutionalized youth, was a preschool teacher and an AmeriCorps trainer for early childhood educators. Sarah also enjoyed her days exploring the beautiful state of Alaska as a hiking guide. In Sarah’s free time she loves to share her favorite grizzly bear stories as well as hike and run with her big ol’ mutts, Boomer and Odie. Sarah also enjoys car camping, exploring National Parks (she’s already visited over 25!) and stopping at food stands for authentic tacos while on long road trips.
Director of RECdeb@challengeaspen.org
Deb moved to the Roaring Fork Valley almost 4 years ago, from her hometown of Boulder. She received her teaching certification from Western Washington University and a master’s degree in sports administration from Seattle Pacific University. As a middle school PE teacher she was challenged when she first encountered individuals with cognitive disabilities. Learning about cognitive disabilities has opened her eyes to how much individuals can do, when their teachers/instructors are creative and prepared with open minds.
In addition to serving as the Executive Director for Extreme Sports Camp, Deb has also taught skiing, guided local adventures and instructed spin classes at several local gyms. While growing up on skis she also managed to find her way to the water and sailing more than 30 years ago. She has been a member of the US SAILING team and is now an instructor trainer, certifying instructors for Levels 1-3, and this past year she became a master instructor trainer for adaptive sailing. She also teaches skiing for Snowmass kids and is Level 1 PSIA certified. Deb loves living in the valley with her husband, Bill and their two dogs, Isabelle and Sofia and is very excited to be a part of the Challenge Aspen Team!
Director of REC
Director of CAMOjohn@challengeaspen.org
John volunteered with CA in 2006 as an on-hill ski assistant. After a winter of witnessing the incredible effect skiing and snowboarding had on Challenge Aspen’s program participants, especially injured service men and women, John decided to pursue his adaptive ski and snowboard certifications. Changing careers in mid-life – from private chef, chef instructor and contract culinary producer for Food and Wine magazine – to a ski instructor may seem a bit odd, but the rewards have been unmeasurable! John’s passion for sharing the beauty and serenity of the mountains through recreational therapy to injured military personnel translated into directing the Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities program. In the first year under John’s direction, the CAMO program served over 150 injured service men and women from all branches of the United States military. With an eye on the future, John’s goal is to build community partnerships through CAMO participant; a greater awareness of the issues our injured service men and women face upon their return to civilian life; and, future partnerships with local and national business partners.
Director of CAMO
Office Manager & Endowment Coordinatorkelly@challengeaspen.org
Kelly has supported a number of non-profit organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley, and is excited to bring her years of experience to Challenge Aspen. Originally from Westchester County, New York, Kelly has lived in Snowmass Village since 1991. She has been the Registrar Anderson Ranch Arts Center, the Program Coordinator for the Snowmass Chapel &amp;amp;amp; Community Center, Parish Administrator at Christ Episcopal Church of Aspen, Bookkeeper for The Aspen Choral Society and the Assistant Controller/HR Director for HomeCare &amp;amp;amp; Hospice of the Valley. She holds an A.A.S. in Business Administration and has completed further course work in Accounting and Bookkeeping. Back in her “other life” as she calls it, before moving to Colorado, she worked for 7 years in the pensions department of Mutual of New York. Outside of work Kelly enjoys music, photography, movies, gardening, hiking, and hanging out with her husband Jerry. They have a son who is studying geology and astronomy at CU Boulder.
Office Manager & Endowment Coordinator
Director of Finance and HRjenni@challengeaspen.org
Jenni grew up in the “burbs” of the windy city of Chicago, IL. She attended DePauw University in Indiana, earning her B.A. degree in Psychology. Jenni jumped on the opportunity to study abroad in Vienna and Budapest, for she has had the “travel bug” since a young age. After college, the real world exposed her to hotel management, sales, bookkeeping and working for a software company that supports property management & their accounting systems. Little did she know that these work experiences would guide her career path, leading her to HR and Finance. Jenni not only works hard, but also plays hard. Jenni is an enthusiastic runner/plodder, completing 11 marathons and a handful of half-marathons, most of these alongside the annual Challenge Aspen marathon teams. When she’s not on the go, she loves to read, bake, ski and enjoys graphic design. Jenni continues to enjoy traveling and hopes to make it to Sweden in the near future. Jenni also volunteers within the Aspen community, serves on a local board of directors, and loves cheering for her two children in all of their various endeavors, from swimming and ballet to robotics and music. She currently lives in Snowmass Village with her husband Chris, son Cole, daughter Grace and dog Bean.
Director of Finance and HR
Adaptive Snowsports Managerjeff@challengeaspen.org
Jeffrey Pitts brings 11 years of experience to Challenge Aspen as a PSIA level III adaptive instructor and trainer as well as an experienced program manager. Originally from Alabama, Jeff migrated west to Breckenridge, CO where he discovered his passion for adaptive skiing at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center. Since then Jeff has managed the adaptive ski program for Sun Valley, ID and traveled throughout Colorado, Utah, Idaho, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming teaching and training adaptive skiers. When he isn’t teaching skiing you can find Jeff tinkering away in the Challenge Aspen equipment room repairing and building equipment, paddling his kayak through the Grand Canyon, wresting with his colleague and furry companion Lincoln, or cooking up some shrimp and grits the Alabama way like his momma taught him.