May 23

Good morning Garmisch-Partenkirchen!

We’ve all met because of Aspen Sister Cities and in particular because of this little sleepy town called Garmisch-Partenkirchen or our affection with Germany.

Last October, Rachel, Zora and I were finally able to visit beautiful Garmisch-Partenkirchen.  In addition to the magic of the town itself, the good weather, and the wonderful food, we received a warm welcome from Trudi Vogt, Peter Ries, and Alexander Wanisch.  Trudi has chaired the Aspen Committee for Garmisch-Partenkirchen since its inception in 1966.  As the grand matriarch of our city’s relationship, she has welcomed, hosted, and spoiled dozens and dozens of visitors from Aspen.  Peter is President of the Sister City organization in Garmisch, and Alexander is the current City Coordinator for Aspen.

On the Aspen side, Nancy Gensch has acted as city coordinator for many years.  Being ready to retire, while still committed to Sister Cities, Nancy is looking for new energy to nurture the relationship between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Aspen.

As for myself, I’ve been president of the Aspen sister cities organization since last June, approaching the one year mark. I have a soft spot for Garmisch-Partenkirchen because from the ages of six until fifteen I spent my childhood in Germany growing up in Germany.

Left: Peter Ries (SisterCities President) Middle Trudi Vogt (Ex Officio City Coordinator/ Grand Matriarch)

I’ve been President of Aspen Sister Cities since June of 2017 – approaching the one year mark!  I have a soft spot for Garmisch-Partenkirchen because I spent my childhood years, from the age of six until fifteen, growing up in Germany.

After having visited there last fall and having met the wonderful people involved in Garmisch-Partenkirchen Sister Cities, I returned with a great determination to create and support initiatives between our two cities.  With my personal and professional life being tremendously busy, I humbly realized the huge amount of energy that goes into pursuing such initiatives.  Keeping in mind that our organization includes seven Sister City relationships, I have had to re-think a strategy that could successfully carry out our mission statement of creating relationships in order to foster world peace.

Because of the importance and the sheer magnitude of the task, we reach out to you for help – help to nurture our friendship and relationship with our beautiful Sister City in the Bavarian Alps.

Initiatives and relationships

And these are abstract terms and I won’t beat around the bush as to what I envision initiatives and relationships.

Initiative: Medical Exchange

Relationship: Professional/ Citizen Exchange

At EndoGAP Klinikum w Alexander Wanisch (City Coordinator)

During our visit in GAPA, Alexander and Peter facilitated a meeting between Dr. Med Christian Fulghum who’s the chief doctor to GAPA clinic specializing in joint replacements. As a professional ski patroller and my wife Rachel being a nurse at the Aspen Valley Hospital we have affinity with orthopedics. The idea of a medical exchange was received well in GAPA and having an existing medical Exchange with Bariloche, this should be feasible.

Needs: We need people with the willingness to do the exchange (a 10 day exchange is proposed).

Initiative: City/ County/ Parks/ Forestry exchange

Relationship: Professional/ Citizen Exchange

As a testimony to the commitment to the sisterhood of our communities GAPA, this city has dedicated her entire park to friendship between Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Aspen:

Furthermore the GAPA Sister cities organization has done projects with the German forestry service in the past and the possibilities of city-employees on a professional/ citizen level should be explored with areas of commonalities emphasized.


Time is of the essence for making plans to organize a Sister City trip to see the Passion Play in Oberammergau in the summer on 2020
Claus Langbehn is an artist who is working on a grant with/ through the Goethe institute/ Embassy.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen, heartfelt. These are some images from our last visit as a reminder why to Tove GAPA so much!

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