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Aspen airport shuts down for Michelle Obama

Aspen airport shuts down for Michelle Obama


By Emily Smith

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The Obama's at the official state dinner in DC Tuesday.Photo:

First Lady Michelle Obama apparently halted private-jet traffic at Aspen airport as she landed for a weekend of skiing while President Obama headed to California.

Michelle, with her daughters, Sasha and Malia, was expected to touch down in Aspen Friday to spend Valentine’s Day and Presidents Day weekend away from her husband, who was meeting late Friday with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Mrs. Obama’s arrival amid tight security was expected to delay the arrival of other wealthy vacationers on private jets at the Colorado ski resort. One source said, “Some of those heading into Aspen were whining that they’re shutting the airport for an hour so nobody can get in on their private jets on a high travel day.” The weather in New York and in Aspen caused further delays. The White House did not get back to us about the first lady’s arrival.

Aspen airport’s director of aviation, Jim Elwood, declined to discuss Mrs. Obama’s travel plans, but said, “Typically when VIPs land, we do not close the airport, but hold other traffic for a few minutes.” He added, “This is one of our busiest weekends of the year and we expect several hundred planes today.”

Mrs. Obama was spotted with her daughters at Aspen’s Buttermilk ski area over Presidents Day weekend in 2012 and 2013.

Last year, the Obama family stayed at the home of Aspen Skiing Company owners Jim and Paula Crown, who are big Democratic donors. Their security team occupied a house next door.

The president traveled on Friday to the Fresno area of the San Joaquin Valley to draw attention to California’s worst drought in more than 100 years. He met with farmers and announced more than $160 million in federal aid. He was due to meet with Jordan’s king on Friday night at Sunnylands in Rancho Mirage to discuss the Middle East peace process and Syria.

Obama was expected to spend the weekend golfing at Sunnylands. He enjoyed a golf weekend at the estate last June.



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