| AspenTimes.com

Snowmass Village sales tax rebates available

Snowmass Village residents who lived within town limits for all of 2018 are eligible for a $50 sales tax refund. This rebate is intended to reimburse residents for sales taxes collected by the Town throughout the year.

Residents must prove full-time residency in Snowmass Village for the entire year of application.

If one is registered to vote in Snowmass Village, no further proof of residency is required. Those who are not registered to vote must provide a driver's license with a Snowmass Village address or a lease agreement with a Snowmass Village address.

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Friday, March 17.

The town asks that residents allow five to 10 business days for an application to be reviewed and approved. Applicants will be notified via email upon approval. The rebate check will be sent to the mailing address provided in the application within 30 days of approval.

To complete an online application or for more information, visit http://www.tosv.com.

History: Smoke show at S’mass

"Running these gates is a laid-back Challenge" read a headline in The Aspen Times on Jan. 12, 1984. "The Marlboro challenge offers something new in the way of ski racing. It's 50 cents a run, pay as you go, electronically timed, head-to-head racing on a relatively easy course. With no prizes, no teams, no leagues and no posted results, it can be the easiest, most relaxed way to run gates. In short, no pressure. But, on the other hand, there are other kinds of pressures. 'Come on,' says a guy to his female companion, 'you have to try it. I need someone to race against.' 'No way,' she says, 'I'll ski down and watch from the bottom.' 'Let's race,' says another man. 'No thanks,' says his companion. 'Our relationship is doing just fine without that.' And once the race is run, and the two times are flashed on the electronic scoreboard at the bottom of the course, it's time for a different sort of exchange. 'You had the faster course,' protests one loser. 'I beat you by five whole seconds,' replies the faster skier. 'Let's go do it again.' Retorts the loser, 'this time I know I can beat you.' All in all, definitely a good time. Now all they need is a rope tow to get you right back to the top of the hill for another try. You'll find the Challenge courses on Rip's Run on Aspen Mountain and on Log Deck at Snowmass."

Marolt: Life’s been good to us so far

We have it good here in The Village. Our wars are waged over which is better, skiing or snowboarding. The biggest thing we have to defend is Snowmass' reputation as the best ski area in the world. The greatest disaster in our history is Base Village or Village Market getting replaced by Clark's; take your pick.

We have no traffic. There is little crime. The shuttle bus comes practically to your home when you call for a ride.

If the bartender doesn't know you at your favorite restaurant, it's probably because you don't drink, and the lack of recognition at the bar is more than made up for by the waitstaff. The people at the post office get letters with the wrong address written on them to the right people, eventually. The guys at the gas station like to talk about cars. The local police wave with two fingers as they drive by on our clean streets.

A big fear of parents is that their kids won't be able to afford to live here when they head out on their own. But, the angst over this is only because they have forgotten to be grateful we live in a place so desirable that the kids want to move back in the first place. What a luxury it is to find it hard to return because you think you can't afford it than, like in many other places, kids don't return because they can't stand it. Where there is a will there is a way, but where there is no desire there is no chance.

We have four comfortable seasons to look forward to; none too long, none too short. We only complain, "it's too hot" or "it's too cold" when we need to make small talk or when we have trouble sleeping because we forgot and ordered the coffee flavored ice cream for dessert. We get rain, snow and sunshine in soul-soothing doses. The earth beneath our feet is stable. The wind does blow in earnest from time to time, but usually only up high where it produces magnificent plumes of snow streaming impressively from the tops of the peaks or whips the clouds into formations interesting enough to inspire local poets. I remember a few limbs breaking loose and dropping on cars and once, when I was a boy, our neighbor's fence blew down, but, again, these are mostly bits of excitement to talk about and can usually be fixed by the inconvenience of meeting your insurance deductible.

The howling of wild coyotes is a romantic tune. Our snakes aren't poisonous. We don't have to carry guns and look over our shoulders walking through the wilderness. When you don't presently have one, even the local mosquito bites don't seem to itch too badly.

We go to the gym, not because it is the only means available to get into shape, but because we usually know a lot of people there and it's a good place to catch up and find out what's going on around town. For serious training we have miles and miles of perfectly engineered and constructed trails through the woods and into the mountains to follow along on our bikes or in running shoes at a full effort. For active recovery days we hike those same trails to take a look at what we missed when we went through previously with our heads down. When we feel like showing off, there's always skiing and snowboarding. The prevailing attitude is that athletic attire can be acceptably worn for almost any event or occasion, even for working out in.

Politics is easy. A cut from the municipal budget is as rare as a partisan argument in a Town Council meeting. We debate which projects to spend our surpluses on. We don't elect candidates, just friends and neighbors. A letter to the editor is as effective as speaking up at a public meeting so that shy and humble people can have their say. It is not considered a waste of time to pass an ordinance for which there is no other purpose but to let longtime locals know that their contributions to the community are appreciated.

Like I said before, because life is so tranquil that locals have acquired the habit of repeating themselves often for lack of more urgent things to discuss, life is very good in The Village. I hope this blessing makes us kinder. I hope it makes us more patient. I hope it inspires us to take the offseasons seriously and figure out ways to share our good fortune far and wide.

Roger Marolt is proud to be a Village People. roger@maroltllp.com

Krabloonik owners decide to keep restaurant open, lease in compliance with town of Snowmass

The owners of Krabloonik said Tuesday the restaurant will remain open with a simplified menu, which will keep the business in compliance with its 20-year lease with the town of Snowmass.

Krabloonik owners Danny and Gina Phillips announced last week plans to close the nearly 40-year-old restaurant in an effort to focus more on the business' dog-sledding operations.

"We just want it to be simpler," Danny Phillips said via phone Tuesday. "There's a lot of restaurants and a lot of new things that have opened since the lease was signed originally and people have great places to eat. We don't want to compete with that, and we really want our guests to enjoy the dogs like they're asking us. People just want to hang out with the dogs."

The town of Snowmass, which owns the property and leases it to Krabloonik for $10 per year, had not been informed of the business' decision prior to its Jan. 9 announcement, Town Manager Clint Kinney said.

"Since last week, when The Aspen Times brought this to our attention, we have been in contact with the owners of Krabloonik and are working well with them," Kinney wrote Tuesday in an email to the Times. "They have informed us that they are continuing to operate the restaurant.

"As such, it is my understanding that they are in compliance with the lease terms."

The lease between the town and Krabloonik states: "Consistent with past operations, the Krabloonik Restaurant shall be open for dinner business at least 100 days during each ski season."

Phillips said the restaurant would "likely (close) down early in the evenings" and that they are still figuring out exact hours moving forward.

He confirmed the restaurant would be open for 100 days this winter season, per its lease.

"We got to this business model and this idea because of public input," Phillips said. "You know, we're listening to what our guests want and what the locals and the public want and we're just kind of adapting and making it work. … Fine dining doesn't necessarily work."

That input includes offering its famous mushroom soup, snacks and "more time with the dogs," Phillips said.

Krabloonik founder Dan MacEachen started the dog-sledding business in 1974, and his sister Janet opened the restaurant a few years later, according to his Aspen Times obituary.

The Phillipses bought the business in December 2014 from MacEachen, who died in February 2016.

Krabloonik's lease, which was amended in 2015 with the change in ownership, spans Sept. 25, 2006, to Sept. 25, 2026.


MRA rescues a skier and snowboarder from Willow Creek Basin near Snowmass Ski Area

A skier and snowboarder had to be rescued from West Willow Creek basin near Snowmass Ski Area after getting lost off the backside of Snowmass Ski Area on Monday. The two men separated after getting lost to try to find their way back in-bounds but were forced to call 911 around 5 p.m. Because the two separated, Mountain Rescue Aspen had to create two search areas and find each man individually.

A 20-year-old from Asheville, North Carolina, and a 22-year-old from Utica, New York, were able to relay their latitude and longitude via text to emergency responders. MRA arrived in Snowmass soon after the call, split into three teams and went into the field with the assistance of Snowmass Ski Patrol around 6:30 p.m.

The 20-year-old was able to reach the edge of the ski area, where he was located by ski patrollers and taken to safety, though the second man was still missing. Then, at around 8:30 p.m., the 22-year-old was found by a search party nearly a mile from the ski boundary. He was then transported to Elk Camp on a snowmobile with the use of headlamps. It was about 10 degrees outside when he was found and all parties were off the mountain by 10 p.m.

The men had taken the Cirque Poma lift up, hiked over to the Hanging Valley Wall and dropped into the backcountry. The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office and MRA reiterated skiers and snowboarders should be responsible when skiing outside of the ski boundary as avalanche conditions are still "moderate" and snow evaluation is recommended before venturing out of bounds.

Peter Waanders takes the helm at Anderson Ranch Arts Center

Peter Waanders, the new president and CEO of Anderson Ranch Arts Center, has an origin story that mirrors that of many an accidental Aspenite.

He came to town two decades ago for what he thought was a short stay, taking on a consulting job with Explore booksellers.

"And like every Aspen story, that short gig is still going on 20 years later," Waanders, 49, said before Christmas in the Ranch's library on its Snowmass Village campus.

Along the way, he built a career, got married, had two kids, and settled at the North Forty. So when Anderson Ranch went looking for a new leader, they found one, in Waanders, just down the road from its campus. After nearly a yearlong search for an executive to replace retiring executive director Nancy Wilhelms, Anderson Ranch last month tapped Waanders. His first day on the job is Tuesday.

"We conducted an international search to find the right fit for this president and CEO role, and are delighted to have found someone with knowledge, enthusiasm and a tremendous reputation right in our own backyard," Sue Hostetler, chair of the Ranch's board of trustees said in announcing Waanders' hiring last month.

After his stint at Explore, Waanders did work for a local accountant, through which he met the influential Aspen gallerist David Floria. Waanders became a partner in Floria's much loved — and sorely missed since its closure — gallery space. It was there that he met art collectors and local philanthropists, which propelled in 2011 to take on the role of director of the Aspen Institute's Society of Fellows donor group, which gives paying fellows access to private Institute sessions with policy and issue experts from a wide range of fields.

There, the Indiana native and University of Pennsylvania alumnus honed his stills in both business and programming.

"Society of Fellows is a little business — you've got programming, clients, budget and staff," he said. "It felt like, 'How do you run a little business and help people be their best?'"

Like the Anderson Ranch post, his Institute duties included a lot of fundraising. There is significant overlap in the donors and potential donors between the two, he said.

"The summer people that drive the success of all of our nonprofits, the Ranch is always in the top three or four nonprofits they talk about," Waanders said.

In terms of getting people to write checks, there also is a lot of crossover in fundraising strategy between Society of Fellows and Anderson Ranch, Waanders said. Raising money at the Institute, he explained, was based around finding areas that donors cared about and providing them experiences at seminars with experts in those areas.

"The philosophy was not, 'How much money can I get this philanthropist to give, but what is this philanthropist passionate about and how can I get connected?'" Waanders explained.

He hopes to do the same at Anderson Ranch, he said, "to have that same model of saying 'Get your hands dirty, hang out in the woodworking shop, and invest in what you're really passionate about.' … I hope to introduce people to what we do here and let them get excited about what they are excited about."

He hopes to build upon the Ranch's international reputation in the art world and among its community of local artists to expand its base of participants and supporters.

"There is a huge opportunity of people who would love what the Ranch offers but haven't connected with what it is, because they haven't put their feet on the campus," he said. "Once you do, it's a magical experience."

Waanders is not an artist, though he's proud of the shipping crate he converted into a backyard fort for his children. That, he said, is fitting for an organization built on democratic artistic ideals and being open to all creative people.

"The idea is that everyone is a maker and everyone has this in their life," he said. "They can learn from experts, deepen their understanding and deepen their skills. It's part of what excited me about being at the Ranch."

An art enthusiast, he has works hanging in his home including a Robert Kelly collage, a Carol Summers print, a Caio Fonseca painting, an April Vollmer woodcut and works by Aspen art figures including Herbert Bayer, painter Richard Carter, ceramicist and Anderson Ranch stalwart Sam Harvey and Anderson Ranch trustee Lloyd Schermer.

Waanders takes the helm of the Ranch after a stretch of successes under Wilhelms, who took the reins in 2013 as the nonprofit was recovering from an employee embezzlement that robbed some $736,000 from the nonprofit between 2007 and 2009, and the abrupt departure of director Barbara Bloemink after she clashed with the board of trustees. The five years since have seen the Ranch's free Summer Series talks become one of the most talked about events of the season, making it a destination for luminaries like Frank Stella and Ai Weiwei, hosting residencies from emerging artists as well as established stars like the Haas Brothers and Tom Sachs, new scholarships to attract a more economically diverse student base, a new intensive mentorship program and the build-up of an $8.5 million endowment.

"The Ranch is in a really strong position," Waanders said. "It's not a turn-around. It's not a start-up. It's a ramp-up. They've got a great staff, great artists, a great reputation. I hope I can come in and help people to do their best."

Many of the recent initiatives at the Ranch resulted from a five-year strategic plan aimed at growth through 2020. Waanders will be in charge of the vision beyond that.

Named to the post last month, Waanders has used the interim — while he's still been working full-time at the Institute — on what he dubbed a "curiosity tour" of the Ranch, taking time to understand how it works.

The Ranch has restructured its top job for Waanders, with him serving as a CEO alongside a rotating co-head "curator in residence." One of his first duties is to find the first curator. Waanders and the Ranch board will fine tune the duties and funding for that position in the coming days, aiming to hire the first resident curator in the next 90 days. He's meeting with artists, collectors and Ranch board members to refine ideas for the position.

"Doing it right is more important to me and to Sue than to do it quickly," Waanders said.

The curator's specialty, Waanders suggested, might drive the programming at the Ranch, build programs and exhibitions around the curator's passions and expertise.

"That brings in a fresh way of looking at things on an annual or every-two-year basis," he said. "The idea that this curator could build this energy around a new idea is that no matter how long you have been involved with the Ranch, you are looking at next year as a new way to think about it and have fun with it."


Krabloonik closing restaurant after nearly 40 years, lease with town of Snowmass may be contingent on restaurant

To the surprise of their landlords, the owners of Krabloonik announced Wednesday they are closing their full-service restaurant to focus on the dogsledding operations, bringing into question whether the business is complying with its 20-year lease.

The town of Snowmass, which owns the property and leases it to Krabloonik for $10 per year, "was not made aware of this," Town Manager Clint Kinney said Wednesday afternoon.

"They're leasing the entire property; if they're not upholding their lease, then we take that operation back. I mean, it's our property."

Without knowing the owners' plans, Kinney said he does not know at this time if they are violating the terms of their lease.

The lease between the town and Krabloonik owners Gina and Danny Phillips, who could not be reached despite numerous calls over the past week, states: "Consistent with past operations, the Krabloonik Restaurant shall be open for dinner business at least 100 days during each ski season."

If the town finds that Krabloonik is in compliance with its lease, Kinney continued, it will be business as usual.

"It comes back to that same question: Is the lease intact or not?" Kinney said.

The statement from Krabloonik, which is posted on the company's website, reads: "After nearly 40 years of fine and delicious dining here at Krabloonik, we have decided that our full dedication needs to be with our exuberant and loving dogs, therefore we will no longer have a full-service restaurant."

The statement, which Krabloonik released Wednesday afternoon, adds shortly after: "Krabloonik has so much potential to grow with a variety of dog-related activities and tours. Our famous mushroom soup and other snacks will be available during your visit."

Krabloonik makes no other mention of the food or dining operations, noting only that the restaurant will close on Sunday.

The town of Snowmass "will be looking into this and making sure that the conditions of the lease that we've been entered into (are) being upheld," Kinney said.

Krabloonik founder Dan MacEachen started the dogsledding business in 1974, and his sister Janet opened the restaurant a few years later, according to his Aspen Times obituary.

The Phillips bought the business in December 2014 from MacEachen, who died in February 2016.

Krabloonik's lease, which was amended in 2015 with the change in ownership, spans Sept. 25, 2006, to Sept. 25, 2026.


Snowmass history: The debut of Gwyn’s before it was Gwyn’s

An article in the Aspen Times from January of 1980 introduces skiers to the newest restaurant offering at High Alpine Restaurant by George and Gwyn Gordon, who previously helped run the Merry-Go-Round at Highlands for six years before coming to Snowmass. "George and Gwyn Gordon are offering an alternative to the 'hamburger joint on the mountain with posters on the wall.' The Gordons, who have taken over the High Alpine Restaurant at the top of the Alpine Springs chairlift at Snowmass, have a menu that includes fresh vegetables daily, at least one vegetarian soup and casserole each day, and fresh-baked desserts. There are hamburgers too (George said 65 percent of the customers will order them no matter what else is offered), but even those are special. … Instead of posters on the wall, photographs are offered for sale, and there's even a hang-glider with a 40-foot, wing span hanging from the ceiling inside. … The only problem, it seems, is a lack of space. The capacity — inside and out — is 350 now. An outdoor grill relives pressure on the inside line somewhat and gives skiers an alternative, but more seating is needed. There were 9,700 skiers on the mountain last Saturday, George said, eating at the four restaurants on the mountain. 'We get about 2,000 to 2,500 of them,' he said. Next year, along with the Ski Corp. the Gordons plan to expand High Alpine to 550 seats inside and 250 outside."

Co-working spaces, powered by the “Proximity” app, coming to Snowmass Mall and Basalt

The shared workspace concept appears to be all the rage in the uppervalley as of late, and Dwayne Romero is ensuring that Snowmass holds its own as he gears up to open "Engage Coworking" on the mall at the end of the month.

With news in the past few weeks regarding two future communal offices in Aspen, Romero said, "All of these mountain communities are finally figuring it out — this new, innovative way to better utilize a limited resource."

While the co-working model has gained momentum across cities nationally over the past few years, the Roaring Fork Valley has begun to embrace the trend more recently.

"The valley finally woke up," Romero said. "We're waking up."

In addition to the Snowmass location, Romero also is opening two co-working spaces in Basalt using the same app software, which is called Proximity.

The platform operates about 275 offices throughout North America as well as a few in Australia and New Zealand, Romero said, noting the reciprocity "gives members that added benefit that's no different than national brands like WeWork."

Romero, of the Romero Group that owns the majority of the Snowmass Mall, plans to open the first Basalt co-working space, inside the Midland Avenue building that the company owns and operates, sometime in March.

The second set of office spaces, which Romero intends to open in May, will be at Willits.

As for Snowmass, the more than 5,000-square-foot space will sit above the new Strafe Outerwear shop — a ski clothing company founded by two young locals — on the second level of the Snowmass Mall.

Romero believes added co-working spaces are long overdue for the valley and will fill a "tremendous" void for budding entrepreneurs and local residents as well as tourists seeking a "well-equipped" place to work.

The shared-office model is especially ideal for younger or cash-strapped professionals and start-ups, Romero said, noting the high cost, level of commitment and "overall burden" of signing a lease.

With the Proximity app, users are in business within minutes, Romero said, "without having to break into their savings account."

Along with the convenience and financial benefit to renting a shared space versus leasing a traditional commercial office, Romero pointed to the advantages of being able to collaborate and network within a professional environment.

"There is additional energy and creativity that comes with putting people together in a room," Romero said, especially with younger generations and "how they wish to engage."

Engage Coworking will boast communal space that can seat about 36 people, features individuals desks, as well as eight "executive offices" and conference rooms, with audio-visual capabilities, that can be rented for an additional fee.

Other highlights include a full commercial kitchen, showers, lockers, a coffee and tea station — and of course, sitting a stone's throw away from the 3,300-acre ski area.

The coworking space will offer a daily drop-in option, priced around $20 to $25, Romero said, as well as three tiers of membership per month, starting at less than $200 per month for the basic level, about $400 per month to rent a dedicated desk and $800 to $1,000 to lease a private office or conference room.

Because everything is app-based, Engage Coworking can be accessed 24/7.

An office manager also will be onsite during normal business hours to help as needed, Romero said. He expects to open about 3,500 square feet of the space at the end of the month, and the final 1,500 square feet in the near future.

Also down the pipeline, Romero plans to add programming and "other amenities" to the space, from "coffee talks" to "beer Fridays."

Since purchasing 80,000 square feet of the Snowmass Mall in late June, Romero has worked to fill vacancies and generate more activity along the commercial area.

"We are really enthused about all of this," Romero said. "This is another move, in Snowmass, under the heading of vitality."


Snowmass Discovery: Base Village positioned to house Ice Age center by 2021

After years of advocating for a home to display the state's largest fossil dig, Snowmass Discovery officials expect its ice age center to open its doors in Base Village by summer or winter of 2021.

Snowmass Discovery executive director on-loan, Michael Miracle, at a Town Council meeting Monday offered a brief update on plans for the exhibit that will live in the bottom floor of the community-use Collective building (formerly known as Building 6).

The nonprofit recently contracted Carolynne Harris Consulting and Studio Tectonics — whose list of high-profile projects include the Dallas Holocaust Museum, the College Football Hall of Fame and the Sierra Leone Peace Museum — to help create the exhibit concept.

"One of the great things that has come out of working with them on this is they've reminded me, and I think everyone who's been working with them, what an incredible thing this Snowmass discovery was," Miracle said. "As this has been sort of stalled out and sort of stuck in conversation about how big of a space, does it get the space or not, who's going to pay for it, let's do a feasibility study, we've lost a little bit of sight of just what an extraordinary thing it was."

The fossil discovery, Snowmastodon, occurred at Ziegler Reservoir, just outside of town limits between 2010 and 2011. Snowmastodon was significant for a number of reasons, one of which is that it was the highest elevation ice age discovery to ever take place.

The excavation also uncovered the most mastodons (36) ever found in the world.

"The potential for this to be a differentiator for Snowmass is really remarkable," said Miracle, who was recently appointed to executive director in the interim, following the November of 2017 resignation of former executive director Tom Cardamone.

While the project is still in the early stages of planning, Miracle called it, "refreshing to have some real wind blown back in our sails from real museum-designing professionals."

The consultants created a 37-page "exhibit concept" draft that Miracle referenced in part during his presentation, but said is not ready to be released to the public.

From interactive video screens and a topographical display of Snowmass to a full-scale mastodon replica, the document offers many ideas, Miracle said, some of which will progress, and some that will not.

"We've realized that to bring something like this to life, it's really unrealistic to do it on a super tight timeline," Miracle said, "so we're thinking a realistic opening for this would be 2021, either the summer or start of ski season."

Beginning in November prior to the 2019-20 ski season, the majority of the Collective's bottom floor will be a game room operated by East West, Snowmass Town Manager Clint Kinney confirmed after the meeting.

Miracle said he hopes "to have a couple of walls" within the space promoting the future ice age discovery center.

The town will fund 50 percent of the design cost from dollars allocated to invest into the Collective, and Snowmass Discovery will pay for the other 50 percent. Kinney said it is premature to estimate financials.

All told, the 2010-11 excavation uncovered about 6,000 large bones from seven extinct ice age mammal species: the American mastodon, Columbian mammoth, giant ice age bison, ice age camel, horse, deer and Jefferson's ground sloth. The dig also revealed fossils of bighorn sheep and black bear.