| AspenTimes.com

Locals, hospital officials get preview of new Snowmass clinic

Several small groups of locals and Aspen Valley Hospital officials got a sneak peek Thursday of the new Snowmass Medical Care clinic in Base Village.

Complete with mini-pizzas and hot chocolate, the guided tours started at the Limelight Snowmass hotel where attendees grabbed hardhats and neon vests before walking over to the 6,300-square-foot clinic space in the west One Snowmass building.

“This is a long time in the making,” said Jennifer Slaughter, chief marking officer for Aspen Valley Hospital, as she walked into the new space.

The current Snowmass clinic, a branch of Aspen Valley Hospital, offers year-round physical therapy, acute illness and injury care below the Venga Venga restaurant, according to clinic staff.

About 20 staff members, including four clinicians trained in emergency and family medicine, work at the clinic and usually see over 2,000 patients in a typical winter season, clinic data show.

In June, it moved to operating full time to accommodate the increase in summer village activities, such as mountain biking, and in Snowmass visitors, clinic staff said. More than 600 patients were treated at the clinic during its first summer open.

After moving into its new roughly $3 million Base Village home, the Snowmass clinic’s care will be more centralized and improved, officials said, through features like a triage room, physical therapy gym and treatment spaces, a procedure room for acute injuries, a special entrance for ski patrol to bring in injured patients and improved access for ambulances, and seven private patient rooms.

During the Thursday tours, visitors were able to see the shell of these improvements, as numerous large windows cast light onto the white, beige and gray walls and floors, and posted signs showed how each area would be utilized when completed.

But while many of the Aspen Valley Hospital officials and locals expressed their excitement about the new Snowmass clinic while on tour, Dr. Jon Gibans, medical director of the Snowmass clinic, and Kelly Hansen, the clinic’s office manager, were especially thrilled.

Both have been working with the Snowmass clinic, which was founded in the 1970s and has moved locations a few times, for over 25 years.

Gibans and Hansen helped design the new Base Village space, which they feel will allow their team to do even more for patients.

“After all of these years to have this come to fruition is really exciting,” Gibans said of the new Snowmass clinic.

“We’re really excited as the people who work here, but are also excited to hopefully provide a more accessible, private and just better experience for our patients,” Hansen added.

The clinic will continue to operate at its Village Mall location, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, until its move to Base Village in January.

mvincent@aspentimes.com

S’mass council OKs town staff to move forward with Brush Creek and Owl Creek roundabout design

After the Snowmass Center walking tour and proposed redevelopment discussion, Town Council OK’d town staff to continue forward with a full-sized roundabout design at the Brush Creek and Owl Creek roads intersection Dec. 2.

In a 3 to 2 decision, council ultimately agreed town staff should use the remaining $180,000 budgeted for the roundabout design to bring it up to a 60% completion level after grappling with the idea of such a large traffic calming measure for about an hour.

The Public Works Department has been working with an engineering firm on the proposed roundabout, estimated to cost roughly $6 million, at the three-way intersection for months in hopes of improving traffic flow and pedestrian safety. The project would be completed in conjunction with various utility updates and culvert improvements, as previously reported.

Leading up to the Dec. 2 decision, council asked for a broader review and improvements of pedestrian crossings at the Brush Creek intersections between Faraway Road and Sinclair Road, which were completed. Locals were also asked to weigh in on the intersections and potential traffic-calming measures through the 2019 community survey, which was presented to Town Council in September.

During the Dec. 2 meeting, staff and council further discussed Brush Creek crossing improvements made via the addition of rapid-flash beacons and the community survey results.

Survey respondents said the Brush Creek Road and Owl Creek Road intersection was their second to least favorite of six Brush Creek road intersections listed when driving a vehicle, and that crosswalks and roundabouts were the top two most acceptable traffic-calming measures.

Anne Martens, the town’s public works director, also went over an operational summary of various traffic calming measures with council, like stop signs and stop lights, showing that the proposed larger roundabout with a slip lane would be best to handle the expected level of traffic in the Village and keep the intersection operating at an “A” level at all times.

Right now, Martens said, the intersection mostly operates below a “C” level, sometimes dipping to an “F” during peak traffic times.

“The smaller roundabout doesn’t provide the elements that we’re looking for,” Martens said to council. “Our concern is it’s going to make things sort of slower but not really what we want.”

But council members weren’t convinced. They expressed concerns with the size of the proposed roundabout, and asked if the town could move forward with both full-sized and smaller roundabout designs.

“It changes the entire feeling of the intersection, it just feels like too much,” Councilman Bob Sirkus said.

However, according to Martens and Town Manager Clint Kinney, the town only had enough funds budgeted to move forward with one design. Martens and Kinney said the full-sized roundabout allowed for the safest, most efficient level of service, and also noted that the town’s operational departments preferred the larger option.

“I’m a fan of the larger roundabout,” said Police Chief Brian Olson to council, noting how well the Wood Road and Brush Creek Road roundabout works. “When we under-build things we pay for it for years to come.”

Town Council ultimately decided to move forward with the full-sized roundabout design plan, assuring that they will be able to make tweaks and better assess the need for the traffic-calming measure once they have a more concrete scale and price for the project.

“I’m a fan of the big roundabout, but if you asked me to put $6 to $8 million dollars toward a roundabout or employee housing, I’d pick employee housing,” Councilman Bill Madsen said.

Madsen, Mayor Markey Butler and Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk voted for the continued design. Sirkus and Councilman Tom Goode voted against it.

mvincent@aspentimes.com

S’mass Town Council looks at height, massing of proposed Snowmass Center redevelopment

Snowmass Town Council continued discussing the proposed redevelopment design for the Snowmass Center on Dec. 2, focusing on height variances and density.

After an hour-long walking tour of the Snowmass Center — where the Eastwood Snowmass Investors and Design Workshop developer team showed council members the proposed placement and heights of the 11-building center redevelopment and expansion project — the group returned to council chambers to further analyze the design specifics.

“We think the massing of the buildings makes a generally good statement to the project and its redevelopment,” Richard Shaw with Design Workshop said to council. “We really have easily a three-story environment to work within and to be compatible with.”

Some of the specifics related to height and massing Shaw discussed with council were the desire to both work with the existing topography to design the new buildings, meaning more stories on sides with steeper slopes; redeveloping the main center area so it sits on one even level, which means raising up the current street level adjacent to the center roughly three feet to the center entrance level; and preserving and enhancing views of Mount Daly and the Snowmass Ski Area from the center “main street” and gathering spaces.

As previously reported, the Planning Commission approved the redevelopment proposal with dozens of specified development conditions in early September.

The plan for the center includes an additional 16,646 square feet of “community serving” commercial and 78 multi-family residential units (68 free market, 10 deed-restricted); the addition of 138 underground parking spaces, bringing the total above and below surface spots to 324; an atrium and increase in public meeting spaces; a new public transit facility; and significant renovations of the existing center businesses, including the U.S. Post Office and Clark’s Market.

The tallest building will be about 52 feet tall, and a few others will exceed the 38-foot maximum building height and encroach on areas with a 30% grade slope, plan documents state, which council was tasked with reviewing Dec. 2. The applicant also requested variances in parking and residential unit count.

“We have tried with individual buildings to relate them to each other, to relate them to the context and to carry forward the conversations we’ve previously had about where height is an issue,” Shaw said. “We want to be sure the height and the density is practical so that it does not disrupt the character of Snowmass.”

After the site visit and Shaw’s brief presentation, council expressed concerns with making any decision about height variances or massing based solely on story poles, as they don’t depict the true size and scope of the proposed buildings.

“I like story poles but they don’t tell the whole story,” said Mayor Markey Butler. “The challenge is we really don’t know what the views are going to be.”

Butler and other council members told Shaw they were concerned with losing views of the ridgeline behind the current center and of downvalley. Council also was concerned with the potentially negative effects of the shadows created by the new buildings.

“With the size of the buildings, I question the amount of snow buildup. We’re trying to avoid snowmelt situations,” Councilman Tom Goode said. “And the elevations concern me, they totally concern me. I don’t know how people are going to see the ridge.”

Town Council voted to continue its discussions on the proposed center’s height variances and massing to its Dec. 9 meeting at 4 p.m. Council also plans to start conversations around the proposed center’s connectivity and circulation, and what the community purpose requirement should look like.

Shaw and the developer team agreed to bring imagery that better shows the heights, massing and subsequent view lines to the Dec. 9 meeting, along with building shadow and project phasing information.

A website for the Snowmass Center and its redevelopment proposal can be found at www.snowmasscenter.com.

mvincent@aspentimes.com

Village Voices: Why have a section like this anyway?

Dear readers,

Welcome back from the long, holiday weekend. December is here, which means some locals may be getting anxious about holiday preparations, some already have Christmas trees decorated and songs like “Let It Snow” blaring constantly, and others may be reflecting on the past 12 months as the start of another year approaches.

For the Snowmass Sun, the start of December means it’s time for another Town Talk section, where you, readers, submit questions about anything you want to know about Snowmass Village, and the Sun works to find an answer, explaining our reporting choices along the way as part of the new Village Voices community page.

But the Sun didn’t receive any question submissions this week.

It’d be great to assume that means our readers feel fully informed about all that goes on in Snowmass Village and have no questions about areas of local community, business or government life they’d like to know more on.

It’s more realistic to guess that readers forgot to submit a question, which the Sun didn’t do much to help keep from happening, or chose not to for whatever reason.

Maybe that reason is readers don’t want to put their names out there with a question they fear could be considered dumb. Maybe that reason is readers think this section is dumb and they don’t want to take the time to be associated with it.

This is all speculation, of course, and there are hundreds of rabbit holes to go down in search of why there were no submissions, but the fact remains that there were no submissions. So, we at the Sun feels it’s important to do a better job explaining why we think this section is worth the community’s time to read and to be a part of — and are completely open to you telling us otherwise.

As iterated in the weeks leading up to the new Page 2 debut, Village Voices is meant to offer readers fresh, rotating content that allows them to engage with the Sun and their neighbors through a format different from a typical news article or conversation at the post office.

The page is driven by local participation and transparency, two important factors that contribute to trust in each other and the Snowmass Village community, and to trust in journalism.

It’s no secret. For decades, Americans’ trust in the country’s institutions, including government and journalism, has been on the decline. Some believe that decline is at an all-time low with the country’s current political climate and believed proliferation of fake and biased news media, while others gave up on their civic duties a long time ago.

According to 2018 Pew Research Center data, 75% of American adults surveyed felt that trust in the federal government has been shrinking, and 64% felt trust in each other is shrinking. Over half of respondents said both of these declines make it harder to solve the nation’s problems.

Why is there a lack of trust in U.S. institutions and in Americans? Researchers, scholars and surveyed citizens give a multitude of reasons, but a few like lack of transparency, namely of U.S. institutions, and politics, namely the nation’s stark political divide, are repeated again and again. Pew data also shows that about half of U.S. adults say made-up news and information is a very big problem in the country today and has a big impact on Americans’ confidence in government and in each other.

Of course, Snowmass Village doesn’t necessarily follow national trends. The town is known for its small, tight-knit culture, and the 2019 community survey shows 67% of Snowmass residents get their information on town government and services via newspaper articles, meaning there must be some level of trust in local journalism.

But it’s dangerous to assume Snowmass Village is an exception in any way to national trends and there is always room to improve. That’s why the Sun started Village Voices and the Town Talk section specifically. We feel it is important for locals to be able to ask their own questions and to understand how a reporter would go about finding answers, helping both build more trust in local journalism by showing readers the reporting process and in the local community by showing readers their neighbors are invested in the town’s happenings.

It’s not just about trust, though. It’s about connection too. The community page is for everyone in the village, young and old, full-time and part-time, workers and employers. By learning more about our neighbors — whether it’s through short profiles on locals, results of community polls, or Q&As — the Sun feels people will feel more connected to Snowmass Village and to each other.

Bottom line is the Sun is dedicated to building community through honest, accurate and fair journalism. We want locals to feel like they have a voice and are a part of Snowmass Village as more than just a worker or a resident.

That being said, if you think the Sun is way off base with the Town Talk series or Village Voices community page, we want to hear about it. Tell us what Page 2 can and should do to best serve the town.

And please, submit any questions about Snowmass Village you feel need to be answered, no matter how big or small. We’ll do a better job of reminding you.

Best,

Maddie Vincent

Snowmass Sun, Reporter/Editor

mvincent@aspentimes.com

Sky Mountain Park serves as refuge for wildlife during winter closure

Since it was established in 2012, the 2,500-acre Sky Mountain Park has been off-limits to Roaring Fork recreationists for the roughly five-month stretch from Dec. 1 to mid-May to protect the area’s wintering wildlife.

And for some of that wildlife, the months-long break from people in the park between the Owl Creek and Brush Creek valleys can make all of the difference.

“Sky Mountain Park is definitely a wintering place and production area for elk, so when they’re getting ready to calve it’s important they don’t have that disturbance pushing them,” said Kurtis Tesch, district wildlife manager with Colorado Parks and Wildlife for the Aspen-Snowmass area.

VALLEY ELK POPULATIONS IN DECLINE

Tesch has worked in the Aspen-Snowmass district for the past four years. Over that time period, he said elk herd populations in the valley, which are part of what’s known as the Avalanche Creek herd, have been on the decline.

According to the most recent Sky Mountain Park wildlife monitoring report, 245 elk and 582 mule deer were detected in the park in 2017.

To help Tesch and CPW researchers better understand the factors contributing to the area’s elk population decline, the state wildlife management agency launched a six-year study of the Avalanche Creek cow elk birth rates and calf survival rates last January, as previously reported.

Tesch said it’s too early to disclose what the study’s data show so far, but said it’s safe to say that the valley’s elk don’t get much of a break from disturbances to their habitat, which can cause detrimental effects to the herd, especially in the winter.

“Just because you see a lot of elk on the valley floor during the winter doesn’t mean that across the landscape they’re doing that great,” Tesch said. “The Sky Mountain Park closure gives animals a chance to avoid disturbances, build up caloric reserves in the winter time and save them for when they give birth so they can provide nutrition to their young throughout the spring.”

If a cow elk is disturbed while calving, Tesch explained, it has to make the decision to sacrifice calories by fleeing the area or by staying put, which can cause it to burn nearly as many calories due to nervousness and anxiety.

Tesch said if the cow experiences too many disturbances and burns too many calories, it could abort its calf to save itself.

“Either way it’s a lose-lose for that animal and it can ultimately lead to the demise of their young,” Tesch said, which he noted is why it’s important disturbance-free wintering areas like Sky Mountain Park exist.

PARK A REFUGE FOR WILDLIFE, RECREATION AREA FOR PEOPLE

Since 1990, Snowmass Village, Pitkin County Open Space, city of Aspen, Great Outdoors Colorado and the Aspen Valley Land Trust have worked to acquire and dedicate the then separate parcels of land that now make up today’s Sky Mountain Park to preserve the landscape and protect wildlife, like elk.

Pitkin County Open Space oversees the management of the open space park — which includes the winter season closure — wildlife and vegetation monitoring and surveys, and the small lottery cow elk hunt.

According to Gary Tennenbaum, director of Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, the Sky Mountain Park habitat has greatly improved over the past seven years and the goal is to keep the similar management strategies in place to ensure wildlife is protected and great recreational opportunities are accessible.

“Over the next year, year and a half, we will update our management plan, but overall keeping the park a great recreational resource and healthy wildlife habitat is critically important,” Tennenbaum said.

Part of that overarching goal is met through the annual fourth rifle season lottery hunt, which Tennenbaum and Tesch see as both a unique opportunity for hunters and a way to protect the area’s habitat, as the five-person cow elk hunt is the only opportunity to harvest big game in Sky Mountain Park.

This year, John Sobieralski, part of the city of Aspen information technology staff, was the only hunter to fill his cow tag.

Sobieralski said he’s been putting his name in the lottery for the Sky Mountain Park hunt for a few years, but this season was his lucky one in more ways than one.

“I decided to quit and call it a day when I saw the elk, slowly walked in its direction and was able to get a shot off,” Sobieralski said. “It was luck and a real privilege to get picked, but you do have to go out there and put in the work to be successful.”

While Tesch said the annual Sky Mountain Park hunt is a big benefit to valley hunters, he also said it is not being used as a population management strategy, because of the valley’s elk herd declines. In fact, he said some area hunting district elk tag numbers were decreased this hunting season because of lower elk numbers.

Once CPW gathers more data and a better understanding of the Avalanche Creek elk population dynamics, Tesch said new management strategies can be implemented if needed, but that the Sky Mountain Park winter closure is definitely a positive contributor.

“When Sky Mountain Park closes in the winter the elk get a much-needed break from disturbances,” Tesch said. “People just need to be aware that their actions may not have an immediate affect (on elk) but they do in the long run for sure. … Obey those winter closures, they’re in place for a reason.”

The winter Sky Mountain Park closures include the Rim Trail North, Seven Star Trail and Upper North Mesa Equestrian Trail. There is a zero-tolerance policy for closure violations and fines can reach as much as $5,000.

mvincent@aspentimes.com

S’mass History: Doc Smith’s Popcorn Wagon, 1970

The Doc Smith’s Popcorn Wagon joined other businesses on the Snowmass Mall in early December of 1970, shortly after the birth of the Snowmass Ski area. It was positioned just in front of the Timbermill and served classic fare such as popcorn, hotdogs, hot soft pretzels and cocoa. In later years, the fare changed as well as the name and location, and not too long ago became Johnny’s Little Dill. When Johnny’s closed for business, it sold the Lil’ Dill as a Venga Venga express satellite stand serving tacos, and then Francesca’s Empandadas.

While the names and offerings have changed, the concept of quick, affordable food for the savvy skier remains.

S’mass Town briefs: Accepting applications for 2020 community grants, nominations for Environmental Leadership award

Town accepting applicants for 2020 community grants

The town’s Citizens Grant Review Board is encouraging nonprofit organizations that serve Snowmass Village to apply for the 2020 community grants.

In November, Town Council approved the 2020 budget, which allotted $125,000 for the community grant program, and the Citizens Grant Review Board oversees the application process where Roaring Fork Valley nonprofits serving the Snowmass Village area or residents can apply to receive this town funding.

To be eligible for a 2020 community grant, the nonprofit applicant must be a health and human service agency, or an organization that addresses significant problems such as those related to the natural environment, sustainability, health or welfare of the village community, or seeks to enrich the quality of life for village residents in some way, according to the Citizens Grant Review Board website.

This year, community grant applications are due by Dec. 31 and awardee recommendations will be made to Town Council in early January.

Nominations open for Environmental Leadership Award

Snowmass Village is accepting nominations for the 2020 Environmental Leadership Award from now until Jan. 28, according to town officials.

The town’s Environmental Advisory Board gives out the award, which celebrates local leadership and commitment to environmental stewardship. The recipient is evaluated following a set of criteria, including cost effectiveness, visibility, impact on Snowmass Village and type of positive benefit.

The 2020 winner will be selected in February and will be announced at a Town Council meeting in the spring.

Nominations may be submitted online via this website link: tosv.com/447/Environmental-Leadership-Award. For more information, contact Travis Elliott at telliott@tosv.com.

Roger Marolt: The best day of skiing is better after a lousy day of work

They say the worst day of skiing is better than the best day of work. This might be true. The easier part to prove would seem to be on the work side of the equation. It speaks for itself. We know what we are getting there. In math they call it a “constant.” What we have to show is that a bad day of skiing is worse than that.

On the plus side for a day on the slopes, I try to think of a really lousy day of skiing and nothing immediately pops into my mind. I think it is important not to read too much into this though because I can’t remember the last time my feet stunk either. The human brain has an amazing capacity to forget unpleasant things.

There is the semi-repressed hazy memory of a time I went skiing with my dad in the springtime in 1972 a week after I had turned 10-years-old. There was about 14.5 inches of red “powder.” Apparently a dust storm erupted over Utah and mixed in with the moisture-laden clouds above and became like an atmospheric cement mixer that churned its load the whole way to Aspen Mountain where it deposited its heavy, sloppy slurry of crud that was more mud than snow.

Somehow I managed to follow my pops to the middle of Silver Queen trail. It was there that I melted down in the goop. It was almost impossible for me to move. When I did, I crashed. Putting my skis back on in that mess was as laborious as trying to ski it. The good news is that I felt free to cry as my dad, who was as strong and elegant a skier as ever lived, stood as a tiny dot at the bottom of the run, patiently waiting. His were the only other tracks on the mountain. I was utterly alone in my misery.

As I was in the fifth grade then, I did not have a job to compare that day of skiing to. But with experience gained in the ensuing summers following that treacherous spring day, I can safely say I would have traded it for walking behind a lawn mower in the graveyard, trimming around headstones on a hot August afternoon.

Then there was the day about eight years later when I, a cocky high school junior, went schussing down the unusually icy ramp to the old 40-meter ski jump against even the advice of my contemporaries, who were generally about as risk-averse as a unicyclist on the high wire in a circus.

That was a bad decision. I ended up with a severe concussion and apparently told my buddies I would be OK if we could just stop at the Highland’s Merry-Go-Round restaurant for a minute or two so I could gather my wits, even though we were on Aspen Mountain at the time. To be honest, I don’t remember a thing about that day after I hit the ground, so I cannot definitively declare that it was worse than a day at work. In fact, the morning seemed lovely.

After I got out of college, I believed I had figured how to not have to compare skiing with my job. I declared to my father that I wanted to make my living in the ski industry as he had done. “That’s fine,” he told me. “But, if you want to ruin something you love to do, turn in into your job.”

Being the reliable All-American son I was, I set out to prove him wrong. He did not stand in my way. In fact, he gave me a job working in the ski industry. The thing I would like to say is, “I was right and those days were the best days of my life.” Honesty forbids that though. After one spring working in the ski industry, I was cured. It was the first time in my life I got sick of skiing, and worse, I was “living the dream” so I couldn’t confide to anybody about this.

The experience forced me back to school where I studied until I came out a crusty on the outside, doughy-in-the-middle accountant. Since then, I have averaged about 50 days of skiing a year. It’s not a ton but plenty for me. I have learned a lot about my love of skiing. Up to a point, more is better, and then I hit a point of diminishing returns.

My conclusion is that, as with anything precious, the less I have the more valuable it becomes. For me, it turns out a day of skiing is better after a day of work.

Roger Marolt thinks the 100-day pin is a sharp implement that can end up pricking the balloon of skiing enthusiasm. Email him at roger@maroltllp.com.

A mix-up in Snowmass dining options both on and off the mountain

The mix6 restaurant in The Collective and other One Snowmass dining options aren’t the only new places to eat this winter in Snowmass. Locals can look forward to a few other new and improved options with Aspen Skiing Co.’s restaurant rebrand on top of Sam’s Knob and the Westin Snowmass’ revitalized Double Black Noodle Bar menu.

FROM SAM’S SMOKEHOUSE TO SAM’S

When it comes to new ideas for on-mountain dining in Aspen-Snowmass, Jim Butchart, executive chef and culinary director for Aspen Skiing Co., is always ready with a running list of “concepts” to explore.

This winter, Butchart is checking one of those concepts for Snowmass Ski Area off the list with the opening of Sam’s, the Italian rebrand of Sam’s Smokehouse on top of Sam’s Knob.

“Italian is so popular all around the world and Snowmass doesn’t have a lot of Italian options,” Butchart said. “People will be able to choose their own experience and either sit down for a two-hour lunch or just stop in for a quick bite.”

From homemade bread, pasta and grandma-style pizza, to an expanded bar, live-action kitchen and slipper room area where people can choose to kick their boots off and “tuck in,” Butchart feels the new Sam’s will have something for everyone to enjoy.

“From the time you enter the door you’ll see how things are different. Everything we did was really thoughtful,” Butchart said. “It’s going to be the kind of place where you either order way too much food or feel like you have to come back again and again.”

As Butchart talked about the new Sam’s lunch spot and what restaurant goers can expect on Sam’s Knob this winter, it was clear the $2.5 million rebrand didn’t happen over night.

Butchart said the new Italian eatery has been in the works for about two years and that he’s planned every aspect of the new restaurant down to the ceramic dishes sitting on each table.

He’s also visited a handful of top Italian restaurants in places like New York City and Chicago for menu ideas, taken notes from cutting edge airport dining options and had one last trip to Italy in the fall before Sam’s debut Nov. 28.

“I’m super excited, this was a really fun concept to work on,” Butchart said.

The casual, high-quality culinary experience Butchart and his staff have planned for Sam’s aligns with the executive chef’s broader ambitions to change the way people eat on the mountain.

“Many people have this expectation that on mountain dining means overcooked burgers and food that sits beneath a hot warmer all day,” Butchart said. “Yes, we still serve chicken fingers and burgers, but how can we make sure they’re the best?”

Opting for grass-fed beef, locally sourced foods and choosing to compost in every Aspen-Snowmass restaurant is part of how Butchart aims to achieve his goals. But he and his staff also look to offer new, unique dining experiences for locals and visitors like Sam’s.

“I definitely like to push the boundaries on what’s expected and what’s possible with dining on the mountain,” Butchart said, smiling.

NEW FOOD, APRES OFFERINGS FROM THE WESTIN

While Sam’s is set to serve up homemade Italian-style pastas, the Double Black Noodle Bar at the Westin Snowmass Resort is rolling out its new and improved homemade ramen and pho.

According to David Miles, executive chef, the noodle bar open for just three months last season is back with a new, from-scratch menu that will debut in early December.

“The noodle bar is totally different with homemade ramen and broths,” Miles said. “We also plan to keep really low prices to drive more locals in the door. We want it to be the spot for locals.”

The revamp of the ramen and pho spot is one of the Westin/Wildwood resort complex’s efforts to improve its culinary offerings, host more community-driven events for locals and guests, and boost both the nightlife and apres ski scenes in Snowmass Village.

“With our six outlets, we want to own apres-ski in Snowmass,” said Jeffery Burrell, general manager for the Westin Snowmass Resort and Wildwood Snowmass Hotel.

The Westin Snowmass Resort, which boasts five restaurants and a conference center, and the Wildwood Snowmass, a retro hotel with a popular village bar of the same name, are both owned by the Starwood Capital Group. Burrell explained.

Burrell said locals and guests can look forward to all of the Westin/Wildwood complex restaurants and bars being open early in the season, along with special events throughout the season like chef’s table dinners, family movie nights, live music and more.

“The goal of our apres-ski programming is for people of all ages to have fun and relax and to make our part of the mountain more active like it used to be,” Burrell said.

mvincent@aspentimes.com

The Heart of Base Village: The Collective designed to be a space for everyone

For much of the fall season, dozens of people were hard at work in The Collective building in Snowmass Base Village.

At the rink level, people drilled away in a stereotypical construction environment, surrounded by plastic tarps, unfinished wood and power tools.

On the floor just below them, people were equipped with spray paint, thick brushes and bright colors, working individually to collaboratively turn a once white-walled space into a diverse hodge-podge of interactive art pieces.

One of these muralists was Thomas “Detour” Evans of Denver. Along with the other 11 artists working in the soon-to-be game lounge and experiential art center, Evans crafted a series of unique shapes and designs onto his wall canvas.

But Evans wasn’t just creating for show — game lounge visitors will be able to create a cacophony of sounds through his mural, too. Each time they place their hands on one of his mural’s shapes, a mystery electronic sound will ring out.

“A lot of artwork is static but having something dynamic helps people sort of think differently about art and have a sense that art can be visual and playful at the same time,” Evans said, noting that he’s been experimenting with visual and audible art since 2010 but that The Collective installation is his biggest yet.

On the other side of the downstairs lounge space, another artist and close friend of Evans also was working to create a playful, unique experience for The Collective visitors through art.

Using spray paint cans like brushes, Chad Bolsinger, another Denver-based artist, was hard at work creating his own rendition of the Zeigler Reservoir and its history, which will serve as the backdrop to The Collective’s 130,000-ball pool.

“For whatever reason they liked my style with the kind of wonky, surrealism with the landscapes and the mountains,” Bolsinger said. “When people see my work I hope it inspires them.”

Bolsinger said art has served as a healthy way to express himself, whether that’s through painting or tattooing, and he hopes his art in The Collective helps awaken people to the mystery of life and portrays the energy he felt while creating it.

“When we paint it attracts life,” Bolsinger said. “You have professional artists here that really are just professional kids. … I think for kids (at The Collective) they can see that the conventional route in life may not be best for them and see artists who have created something they felt something from and become inspired.”

THE HEART OF BASE VILLAGE

Creating unique, fun experiences like Evans’ and Bolsinger’s murals in a comfortable venue for people of all ages is what The Collective is about.

Part of the larger East West Partners Base Village development project, The Collective will offer year-round activities and spaces for families to spend their down time off of the mountain starting Dec. 7.

This winter with the completion of the building’s inside, locals and visitors will be able to experience the color and texture of the downstairs game lounge, filled with things like eight-person fusbol, a Ping Pong tube, X-Box gaming area and a roughly 130,000-ball pool shaped like Zeigler Reservoir.

Locals and visitors also will be able choose exactly what they want to eat upstairs at the new mix6 restaurant and moxiBar, a casual, healthy eatery with choose-your-own meals.

When East West Partners unveiled its idea for a restaurant inside of The Collective building in Base Village, longtime Aspen local and chef Martin Oswald felt like he had the perfect idea.

“A typical restaurant wouldn’t work in that space, it’s more suited for a grab and go or healthy, fast casual concept,” said Oswald, who also heads the Pyramid Bistro in Aspen. “When I presented it, it seemed to make the most sense.”

That concept aims to cater to people’s choices in the moment, Oswald said, and is a fun way for locals and visitors to eat as each meat, vegetable and base option will be seasoned differently but crafted to mix well together.

“I see more and more that people want to create their own dinners and found that when people look at a variety of foods, at that moment they can decide what they really feel like eating,” Oswald said. “I love creating my own flavors and spices. … So really, people will be mixing six different flavors.”

Adjacent to mix6 and moxiBar, locals and visitors can enjoy the freedom of the upstairs lounge, or flex space, which aims to serve as a place to unwind, get some work done in between ski runs and for area groups to host their programming.

For example, the Aspen Center for Environmental Studies is set to hold weekly presentations, Jazz Aspen Snowmass recently announced it will host three of its winter season JAS Café performances there, and the Pitkin County Library’s “Books and Brews” book club will meet in the new space starting in January.

“We want this to be the heart and soul of Base Village,” said Sara Halferty, curator for The Collective. “People will feel comfortable meeting here no matter what their age.”

Halferty, who is on the East West Partners sales team and has lived in the Roaring Fork Valley for over 20 years, said she begged for The Collective curator position because of her passion to develop the new building into a community space.

Last winter, Halferty and her team worked within the building shell to try out various free and affordable programming like bingo, yoga, live music, film showings and more to see what people wanted in the finished space this season.

With the addition of the restaurant, bar and game lounge, Halferty feels the “best of the best” programming set to carry over into the $11 million finished building will reach new heights and work to create a true third space for the entire Snowmass community.

But while The Collective aims to be affordable and open to everyone, it’s also geared particularly toward Snowmass locals, Halferty explained. “Aspen-Snowmass looks like a magical place, but I think there are some really lonely people here, … I think people really crave connection,” Halferty said, noting that she is one of those people. “We are a small community yet there is no real gathering spot for all ages, especially in Snowmass.”

Through The Collective, Halferty and her team hope to create that all-ages, affordable space for locals and visitors to build community and feel a sense of connection, year-round.

“You can come here, not spend any money and have a great day,” Halferty said. “The goal is to create an approachable environment that’s easy and fun for everyone.”

mvincent@aspentimes.com