Snowmass Base Village merchants are taking a new approach this summer to attracting visitors to the area.
The businesses have been creating a common consumption area — which allows patrons to carry alcoholic beverages from participating bars — in the Base Village Plaza for a few events a year since the town began allowing that in 2012. This summer, however, they are operating the common consumption area during 13 different events as well as creating some events of their own.
The goal, said Scott Calliham, of Slice Pizza and Base Camp Bar & Grill, is to “give people a better experience so they don’t feel like when their ride or their hike is over that they have to go straight back to Aspen.”
For the most part, the entertainment the businesses are providing is in addition to events already going on. For example, in the past the Snowmass Culinary Festival has been held exclusively on the mall. However, today the event will have cooking demonstrations, a silent auction, live music and part of the Palate of Pairings in Base Village.
The businesses also are creating a few activities of their own. A kickoff party for the Food & Wine Classic on June 18, put on in conjunction with Aspen magazine and Challenge Aspen, drew a lot of attendees, including some Aspenites. And the Snowmass Sunday Market, representing farmers and craft vendors, starts this weekend.
“That is the goal: to utilize the existing events as well as coming up with some new ones to enhance the overall experience for visitors as well as locals,” said Scott Bayens, who was hired by Related Colorado to help find sponsors and opportunities to improve Base Village.
The farmers market is one event that won’t have a common consumption area associated with it, although the four restaurants in Base Village will offer brunch and lunch specials during the market.
Even events that have a common consumption area associated with them aren’t always focused on that aspect, such as Wanderlust, the yoga festival that was in the village last weekend.
“There were some late-night functions, but it really wasn’t about drinking,” Calliham said. But it allowed people who did want to buy a beer to walk around and “not feel like you’re stuck in a bar,” he said.
There isn’t typically a lot of activity in Snowmass on the Fourth of July. However, high attendance at Wanderlust created a different atmosphere.
“Wanderlust was really exciting, with people milling about in the mall and Base Village,” Calliham said. “That many people staying in Snowmass — I thought that was tremendous.”
Calliham thinks the group’s efforts have been successful this summer.
“It takes more than one shop being open,” Calliham said. “There’s no secret formula. We just started pushing forward with it, and it’s developed nicely.”
The town has been helpful by being flexible in how it does events, Calliham said.
“Obviously there’s some challenge to Base Village, and we’ve got to, one, be creative and, two, work together to help these guys be successful,” said Fred Brodsky, interim director and group sales director of Snowmass Tourism.
Coming up next week is the Deaf Camp Picnic, which has been relocated from Fanny Hill to Base Village in order to save expenses. Related, Snowmass Tourism and the four restaurants are pitching in to help alleviate the camp’s costs in putting on the event. Base Camp, Slice and Bia Hoi also are donating a portion of their proceeds during the picnic to the Aspen Camp.
“We are supporting this event and the cause,” said David Dugan, of Base Camp.
Other upcoming events in Base Village include the USA Pro Challenge opening ceremonies on Aug. 16, Tough Mudder on Sept. 6 and 7 and the night glow on Sept. 13 during the Snowmass Balloon Festival.