Mel BlumenthalColumnistSnowmass Village, CO, Colorado

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July 17, 2012
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Mel Blumenthal: Buck up Roger, and others who doubt Snowmass

First there were weekly tirades of negativity from the pen of Johnny Boyd, and now in true Boyd fashion, my stablemate Roger Marolt is following Johnny's lead but going a few steps better with his constant stream of negative commentary directed at our fair Village. Last week he outdid himself by disparaging the Part-Time Residents Advisory Board, as well as just about everything else in our community that he continually rants about.Most full- and part-time residents in the Village that I know, as well as the volunteer members of the Part-Time Residents Advisory Board who are appointed by the Town Council, are devoted members of our community and make significant contributions toward achieving our aspiration to become a premiere family destination resort as well as a cohesive community where all of us can live and enjoy all that this little piece of paradise has to offer.Too bad Roger only looks at our Village as a cheap place to sleep and does little if anything to help improve the resort and the community's quality of life.Having gotten that off my chest, I'd like to concentrate on some of the upbeat news that came out of the recent part-time residents summer meeting, which filled the Town Council chambers with both full- and part-time residents eager to hear all the good things happening or soon to happen in the Village.The most positive news emanates from the Snowmass Mall. As part of the $50 million rehab and upgrade of the aging Silvertree, Wildwood and the Conference Center, a totally remodeled four-star Westin Snowmass Resort, Wildwood Snowmass and refurbished Conference Center will emerge in time for next ski season - along with lots of new shops and other amenities we've all been clamoring for.John Curnow, the complex's new general manager, advised the attendees that we can expect new North Face and Patagonia stores, as well as the strong likelihood of a Starbucks in the retail spaces adjoining the Westin. In addition, there will be two New Belgium Brewing Co. bars; one a new brew pub in the Wildwood and the other in a new reconfigured slopeside location adjacent to the Westin along with a new community fire pit, slopeside stage, seating and tables for outdoor entertainment and refreshment. All this will be accompanied by an ice rink and miniature golf for additional winter and summer action. Plus, a newly designed and enlarged upscale restaurant in the Westin will replace the Brothers Grill.The tremendous worldwide marketing muscle behind the Westin organization bodes well for a significant increase in individual guest and group business in the winter, summer and fall, and if they're really as good they claim, perhaps even some additional spring business.Looking to the future, my crystal ball shows all this new investment in the eastern end of the Mall will serve as impetus to Related and the Hool Family to upgrade their respective Mall properties. With that probability in front of us, it looks like the upgraded Mall will soon regain its stature as the signature focal point of our resort, at least until new plans are agreed and resources amassed for the completion of Base Village at which point hopefully both these resort nodes will be programmed to complement rather than duplicate or compete with each other. And the day that dream comes true hopefully even Roger will have something good to say about us.Due to a confidentiality agreement in effect until Related's reacquisition of Base Village is complete, Dwayne Romero, president of Related Colorado, could say little regarding Related's specific plans for the completion of Base Village but again my crystal ball shows good things ahead.Best of all, Dwayne is at the helm of this massive project, as well as a good portion of the Mall and all of the Snowmass Center. He has the credibility, talent, leadership skills and resources to lead the redevelopment and upgrading of all our commercial nodes in order to fulfill our dream of becoming the best resort and community to live, work, visit and play in - as long as Related's New York executive team supports him and doesn't pull the rug out from under him as they did a few years ago ... keep your fingers crossed.And not to be ignored is the dynamic leadership of Hugh Templeman, general manager of the Viceroy Hotel, who in just a few short years has turned that property into a world-acclaimed resort facility that has gone a long way to keeping Snowmass afloat during these difficult recessionary years. Hugh and Dwayne both have fully integrated into the fabric of our community and resort and we can continue to look for great things to come from both of them and their talented teams in the future.More upbeat news from the summer meeting in the next edition of Second View, but in the meantime I'd like to call your attention to a new feature film produced by my son Jason and his Escape Artist partners Todd Black and Steve Tisch.Aspen Film will present the Colorado premiere of "Hope Springs" from Director David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada, Marley & Me) and starring Meryl Streep (in her first on-screen appearance since her Oscar winning performance in "The Iron Lady"), Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. This advance benefit screening will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m., at the Aspen Institute's Paepcke Auditorium. Tickets are now available at the Wheeler Box Office and on-line at www.aspenshowtix.com. For more detailed information regarding the film and the premiere event go to www.aspenfilm.org. Even though Starbucks may be coming to the Snowmass Mall my coffee loyalty remains tied to Fuel at the other end of the Mall, and when I'm not there you can contact me at secondview@earthlink.net.


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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 17, 2012 04:36PM Published Jul 17, 2012 04:34PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.