Aspen Skiing Co.’s hotel group eyes Limelight at Mammoth ski area

The Limelight Hotel in Snowmass Base Village was completed shortly before its grand opening in December. Now a Limelight is being eyed in Mammoth, California.
Aspen Times file

Aspen Skiing Co.’s The Little Nell Hotel Group announced Friday it has purchased 7 acres of vacant land at the base of Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort for development of a Limelight-branded hotel and residences.

It’s the first big splash for the hotel group, which was created as its own division in January under the direction of managing director and chief operating officer Alinio Azevedo. He said at that time the hotel group was looking at opportunities in ski resorts and non-ski markets.

“After an extensive process to narrow down and define our target market list for a Limelight hotel, Mammoth was chosen, among select others,” Azevedo said by email Friday.

It hasn’t been determined yet how many hotel rooms or residences will be sought in the land-use approval process.

“It is a spacious parcel and presents a great opportunity for hotel and residential development,” Azevedo said.

There also will be associated commercial development. A Limelight Lounge will be a “signature amenity,” just as it is with the other Limelight hotels, he said.

The Mammoth hotel will be the fourth in the Limelight brand, following the original in Aspen and the later additions in Ketchum and Snowmass Village. The Limelight in Snowmass opened last season and was credited with helping bring zip and vitality to Base Village.

Mammoth makes sense for Skico for several reasons. The California ski area is huge at 3,500 acres but there are still development opportunities at the base. Mammoth along with its three related resorts attracts more than 2 million customers annually.

In addition, Mammoth is owned by Alterra Mountain Co., a sister organization of Aspen Skiing Co. The Crown family, which owns Skico, and KSL Capital Partners teamed to create what came to be known as Alterra in April 2017. Their first purchase was Intrawest Resort Holdings and its six ski areas. Two days later they completed the purchase of the privately held Mammoth Resorts for an undisclosed amount. The deal included four ski areas: Mammoth Mountain, June Mountain, Snow Summit and Bear Mountain.

When asked what made the purchase of land at the base appealing for The Little Nell Hotel Group, Azevedo identified the proximity of the property to the base of Mammoth Mountain, the ability to develop the hotel from a “ground-up perspective” and a town that offers “a great sense of community and place, which is important to us in each of our Limelight hotels.”

“We really like Mammoth as a market and it has the right elements to make for a successful development, including a strong feeder market in Southern California and recent and forthcoming investments by Mammoth Mountain,” Azevedo said.

Alterra has a stronghold in California with Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows in addition to Mammoth Resorts. Top competitor Vail Resorts owns Northstar, Kirkwood and Heavenly.

Azevedo said the Limelight Mammoth will be similar to the other hotels in the brand.

“There is a common thread in being an upscale contemporary property set in the heart of its community,” he said. “With each property we build, we take what we’ve learned from the past ones so we can continue to deliver an outstanding product.”