Art museum asks to use Buttermilk for fundraiser
Pitkin County commissioners voiced a few concerns but were mainly receptive Tuesday to allowing the Aspen Art Museum to hold its annual fundraiser at the base of Buttermilk Ski Area next month.
The event — known as ArtCrush — would be held on Aspen Skiing Co., property, though art museum officials want to use a county-owned parking lot for valet parking, said John-Paul Schaefer, art museum deputy director. In addition, they want to erect a 50-foot-high ferris wheel at Buttermilk as part of the event, he said.
The request comes in the wake of a decision this spring by a city of Aspen special events committee and City Manager Steve Barwick denying the museum permission to hold the event at Rio Grande Park. The museum wanted to use the park from July 24 to Aug. 2, but Barwick said in an April letter that it wasn’t a community event open to the general public.
At Buttermilk, museum officials want to begin building tents July 27, hold the event Aug. 5 and dismantle the tents by Aug. 9, said Mike Kraemer, county senior planner. Because alcohol will be served at the fundraiser, county planning staff will require transportation to and from the event, he said.
The museum is expecting 650 people to attend the event, Kraemer said, adding that the infrastructure will be visible from Highway 82.
Schaefer said the museum is planning shuttle service for 350 people at a time and would only need about 100 spaces in the county lot for valet parking. He said they are trying to encourage fundraiser attendees to use shuttles.
Commissioner Patti Clapper suggested checking with the Federal Aviation Administration about erecting a ferris wheel near the end of the runway at Aspen’s airport. Kraemer said he’d check, but noted that ESPN builds high camera towers in the same area when it stages the Winter X Games in January.
Commissioner Rachel Richards said she liked the idea of having such an event near existing shuttle and bus lines.
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Vail broke the $200 lift ticket barrier during the holidays last winter. Aspen hasn’t topped the $200 mark yet, but both resorts are raising their peak prices this season.