CEO & Co-Founder
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.
Director of Finance and HR
Jenni Petersen moved from Chicago to the Roaring Fork Valley after graduating from DePauw University in 1991. She joined the Challenge Aspen team in 2004, became the Director of Finance & Human Resources in 2005. Her work experience with software support, training and financial setup, as well has her management and sales skills from working in the lodging industry, create a dynamic background for Jenni’s role. Jenni is responsible for keeping the financial heart of Challenge Aspen ticking. She maintains all financial records, directs financial management issues, and stays on top of legal and tax documentation. In her spare time she also enjoys coordinating the annual Challenge Aspen marathon team!
970-923-0578 ext. 204
Catherine Rohrstaff joined Challenge Aspen after participating as a Challenge Aspen marathon team member for the 2008 Budapest and 2009 Dublin marathons. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, she moved to Snowmass after graduating from the University of Alabama. A long time resident of Aspen and Snowmass, she brings experience in fundraising, event planning and finance management. Catherine also enjoys volunteering as a buddy.
970-923-0578 ext. 209
Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities (C.A.M.O.)
C.A.M.O. Program Coordinator
Dylan Braun, born and raised in Woody Creek, Colorado. Dylan graduated from the University of Denver with a degree in Business Administration. After graduating, she returned home in the winter of 2010 to begin an internship with Challenge Aspen. She is extremely passionate about the program and people of Challenge Aspen. In November of 2011 she rejoined the team as the C.A.M.O. (Challenge Aspen Military Opportunities) Program Coordinator.
970-923-0578 ext. 218
REC Programs Team
Director of REC and Challenge Autism Programs
Brett comes to Challenge Aspen from Austin, Texas. He is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a double degree in Kinesiology and Special Education. He spent five years as a Special Education teacher, the last four of those serving as the lead teacher for the supported-employment and adult transition program that he developed for his school district. He served as a head coach for his district’s Special Olympics delegation for four years, and spent five years as a volunteer prior to coaching.
Brett is an experienced marathoner, an avid lover of the outdoors, and the proud papa of Gus and Jaxon (his two dachshunds). He is excited to get his ski legs back during his inaugural season in the Valley.
As Director of REC Programs, Brett is responsible for assessing, developing, and managing Challenge Aspen’s recreational, educational, and cultural (REC)programs and all REC staff. He is in charge of strategic and long-term plans for REC and oversees the program marketing plan.
Adaptive Snowsports Manager
Ryan joined the Challenge Aspen Team for the 2008-2009 as a Level III certified Adaptive Ski instructor. He currently leads Challenge Aspen snowsports department in addition to developing and implementing the volunteer training program. In addition to these duties he also maintains the extensive equipment that Challenge Aspen has for its ski program. Ryan has worked for many recreation programs for people with disabilities including The Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center and Challenged Athletes of West Virginia. When not on the snow, which is well over 160 days a year, you can find him on the rivers of Colorado and beyond guiding rafts and kayaking.
Sally Anne Harrell
REC Programs Coordinator
Sally Anne came to Challenge Aspen as a Summer Intern in May 2011. After completing her internship she graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a concentration in Child Life.
Sally Anne was raised in Nashville, Tennessee but learned to ski in Colorado at a very young age. Her love for the mountains brought her back to the Valley, but Challenge Aspen was her reason for staying. She came on to the Challenge Aspen Team in October of 2011 as the REC Programs Coordinator. She is responsible for putting together our camps and groups in the summer and winter seasons. When she is not at work you can find Sally Anne training for her next Tough Mudder or cooking up a delicious meal in the kitchen!
Adaptive Ski & Snowboard Instructors
Our instructors are the public face of Challenge Aspen on the slopes. During the winter, 15 full-time and 30 part-time PSIA adaptive certified ski and snowboard instructors provide some 2000+ adaptive ski and snowboard lessons. We pride ourselves on having the best and largest team of adaptive instructors in the country. Their specialized techniques, coupled with the use of our cutting edge equipment, guarantees the experience of a lifetime, in a fun and safe environment, for all participants.
Marketing and PR Team
Melissa became impassioned about Challenge Aspen in 2006 after a memorable chairlift ride with Houston Cowan and an avid supporter of Challenge Aspen. Her background is based in sports (US Olympic Committee Intern, Denver Nuggets Employee) and subsequently in the entertainment industry. Her primary professional focus, since 1987, has been rooted in music industry publicity and touring. As Publicist, Melissa works hand in hand with Marketing & Development and REC & Competition Programming to tell the life-changing events and powerful stories of participants of Challenge Aspen to local, regional and national media outlets in an effort to garner understanding, participation and financial support.
Max Grange has been giving motivational speeches for the last two years. He lives in Snowmass Village, Colorado, and is a graduate of Aspen High School. His role as marketing assistant includes giving speeches at Challenge Aspen camps, fundraisers and special events. Max is eminently qualified to speak to Challenge Aspen groups and supporters because at the age of 17 months old, he acquired cerebral palsy which left him unable to walk or speak. With a combination of technology and an undying spirit, he has overcome these obstacles to lead an active and fulfilling life. Max enjoys fishing, swimming, bowling, skiing, yoga, music and theater. Today, Max enjoys sharing his story with a hope of educating and inspiring others! To keep up with the latest news from Max, visit his blog at http://web.mac.com/maxgrange1/iWeb/Site/About%20Me.html.
Summer interns coming soon!