Alumni / Summer 2017

Daniels alums make a high-altitude investment

Left to right, DU alumni Kyle Granowski, Peter Burwell and Fred Klaas at Echo Mountain ski area. Photo: Jeff Haessler

Their love for skiing and snowboarding and their entrepreneurial spirit are driving three DU alumni to take their education and skills to new heights. Peter Burwell (BSBA ’11), Kyle Granowski (BSBA, MS ’10) and Fred Klaas (BSBA ’11) became good friends while studying at the Daniels College of Business. That friendship has now evolved into a business partnership centered around Colorado’s Echo Mountain ski area.

“We got to looking at the different value propositions,” says Burwell, president and CEO of Burwell Enterprises Inc. “Echo Mountain being the closest mountain to Denver and the population base growing in Denver, we saw a really solid opportunity to take something that struggled for so long and revitalize it by getting a good team and investing some money into it.”

Echo Mountain, which used to be called Squaw Pass Ski Area, historically has struggled financially. The property has changed ownership several times.

“The handful of us that were involved early on basically sat down and really tried to figure out why has this failed, and we looked at the specific reasons,” says Klaas, general manager at Echo Mountain. “Basically, we said, ‘What’s the best option to try to make this work?’”

The trio appears to be doing something right. The ski area just west of Evergreen opened last winter and attracted families, first-time skiers and those who want to avoid the crowds and traffic associated with visiting ski resorts further west.

Burwell says the group’s success is directly tied to its members’ experiences at DU.

“You meet people that you’re friends with in college, for college, and then you meet your lifelong connections,” Burwell says. “Fred and Kyle and I have stayed together, and when this opportunity came along, because of the DU connection, this whole thing came to be.”


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