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Another major flaw

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

At the Snowmass Village Town Council meeting on March 22, we learned, for the first time, that the large condominium building being called “The Westin Hotel” will contain a single meeting room of merely 2,600 square feet. We also learned that a winter cafeteria and a winter ski rental shop on the far side of Base Village from the Westin will be converted in the summer months to conference space. The total square footage of all “conference” space in Base Village will be about 15,000 square feet.

It is apparent that this configuration of conference space won’t allow Base Village to participate in the highly competitive and lucrative conference and meetings market. The high-end conference market segment that Snowmass Village wishes to attract generally requires at least one formal banquet with all participants seated in the same room.

To be truly competitive a resort must have sufficient space to accommodate all guests in a meeting or exhibits format and space to seat all guests for a formal banquet.

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Conference facilities at competing mountain resorts have been improved and expanded in recent years. Conferences are generally arranged by highly skilled and experienced professional meeting planners who are unlikely to even make a site visit to a resort with inadequate banquet facilities and make-do breakout rooms converted from some other winter use.

The suggestion that Base Village occupancy will benefit in some way from the Silvertree Conference Center is ludicrous. The existing Conference Center is not large enough to accommodate all existing West Village properties. The Silvertree and the Wildwood have always received the majority of the business. Guest rooms are not reserved unless meeting and banquet space is available.

What would cause the Silvertree to give up its conference space to the Westin Hotel or another Base Village property when they have guest rooms of their own to rent? The proposed cabriolet connecting Base Village to the Mall has such a low passenger-per-hour capacity that it will never be able to move a large number of conference guests up to the Conference Center in a short time.

Thus, here is yet another major flaw with the current Base Village application that must be addressed. Without competitive conference facilities, the Westin Hotel and Base Village will not achieve the room rates and occupancy percentages projected for it (particularly in summer) by the developer and the Town Council. Without a strong summer season, Base Village will hurt rather than help the Snowmass Village economy.

Jeff Tippett

Snowmass Village


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