Aspen Skiing Co. spells out future
August 5, 2008
ASPEN ” In its continuing effort to improve relations with local governments, Aspen Skiing Co. officials gave Pitkin County fair warning on Tuesday that it won’t be long before the company submits proposed changes to some of its mountain master plans.
According to Dave Corbin, Skico vice president of planning and development, the company plans to replace the aging Tiehack double chairlift with a high-speed quad, expand the snowmaking capacity at Buttermilk, relocate that mountain’s chairlift and vehicle maintenance facilities, and upgrade the ski rental facilities at the base area.
Corbin said Skico has begun talks with the U.S. Forest Service about proposed revisions to the Buttermilk Mountain Master Plan, including discussions about the need for environmental reviews of the plans. It is expected that applications will be submitted to Pitkin County within the next month.
In addition, the company is working on plans to redevelop the land it owns at the base of the mountain. Corbin said there were earlier talks about cooperative development planning with the Inn at Aspen, located adjacent to Highway 82 near the Buttermilk base area. But the hotel’s owners apparently could not come to a consensus about exactly what kind of redevelopment they were interested in, leaving the Skico to move ahead on its own, he said.
In addition to the changes at Buttermilk, Corbin referred to the ongoing Lift One master planning process under way in cooperation with the city of Aspen and other private landowners. That master plan addresses the area on the western side of Aspen Mountain near the base of Shadow Mountain.
Skico officials hopes that process will yield results by early September, which then can be forwarded to the Aspen City Council for review. The proposal also will be sent to the Pitkin County commissioners, since Lift 1A starts out within the city’s jurisdiction but quickly crosses into the county.
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The update for the county commissioners, which included presentations by Skico CEO Mike Kaplan and vice presidents Corbin, David Bellack and David Perry, touched upon a range of company accomplishments, including the acquisition and construction of affordable housing projects in the downvalley area and the company’s much-discussed environmental initiatives.