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December 12, 2012
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Champagne to flow again on Aspen Mountain

ASPEN - The bubbly is back on Aspen Mountain.

A traveling champagne bar, which debuted last spring on the ski slopes, provided a unique experience and caused no problems, Aspen Skiing Co. officials reported to Pitkin County commissioners Tuesday.

This time around, the "optional premises" that are part of Skico's liquor-license renewal are being handled administratively, but commissioners asked the company to report back on last season's experience before trying it again.

"I'm happy to report we had no problems whatsoever," said David Bellack, Skico senior vice president and general counsel. "It was popular with the guests. The people who visited it seemed to enjoy it a great deal."

In February, when the pop-up champagne "oasis" first came before commissioners, there were concerns about promoting on-slope drinking, and Commissioner George Newman wound up voting against the proposal.

On Tuesday, no vote was necessary, and commissioners raised no concerns with the plan.

"It wasn't a big party," John Speers, general manager of The Little Nell, said of last season's experience. "It was never a big drinking crowd that was going to make a day of it."

The Nell, the luxury hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain, also operates the Sundeck restaurant at the summit and oversees the champagne bar, a portable affair set up at sunny spots on the mountain where patrons could enjoy great vistas. Skico plans to set up the bar again for spring skiing, starting on Presidents Day weekend, but it did uncork the bar for opening day this winter, given the unseasonably high temperatures.

"It doesn't work too well when we have temperatures of minus 2," Bellack said.

The bar operated on weekends last season, selling small, snow-chilled flutes of Veuve Clicquot for $15 each. The amenity was unique among ski areas and gave Aspen some additional media attention as a result, Speers said.

"We're always trying to figure out how to position ourselves to get more PR," he said. "It's about having a cool new thing for our guests that they don't see somewhere else."

"We appreciate your innovation," Commissioner Rachel Richards said.

janet@aspentimes.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Dec 12, 2012 06:11AM Published Dec 12, 2012 12:37AM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.