Base Village: What do visitors think? |

Base Village: What do visitors think?

Steve Benson
Aspen Times Staff Writer

With Presidents weekend coming to a close Monday afternoon, visitors soaked up the last of the views, sun, snow and beer Snowmass Village has to offer before boarding planes and returning home.

“I’ve always loved sitting here like this today,” Joel Messinger, from Boca Raton, Fla., said from the deck of the Cirque following a day of skiing. “You know, you’ve skied all day, you’re tired and you sit here with a beer and people watch, it’s just beautiful.

“You don’t get this at Aspen.”

Perfect, right?

Maybe not.

When asked if Snowmass Village needed a change, Messinger said, “If I had one wish, it would be a better quality of restaurants.”

And Messinger is like many Snowmass Village visitors who come to the resort because of what it offers, but also feel some change couldn’t hurt.

“Maybe a gondola or a high speed quad,” Samantha Foodman of Charlotte, N.C., said.

What about a base village?

“Well you’ve got to grow … especially if it brings more nightlife,” she added.

Foodman has been coming to Snowmass for five years, but she routinely spends most of her nights in Aspen because of the lack of nightlife in the village.

Messinger is the same.

“I usually spend about four nights [out of a week] in Aspen for the dining,” he said.

Others, like Jim Price of Vero Beach, Fla., who’s been coming to Aspen and Snowmass for 25 years, feel a change is necessary simply to remain a player in an increasingly competitive market.

“I think the changes they’re talking about [Base Village] are a good thing,” Price said. “If you don’t change, you get obsolete.”

Kim and Dan Moody from Houston have been vacationing in Aspen for more than 20 years. Now that they have a young daughter, they spend their vacations in Snowmass.

“For families, it’s awesome,” Kim Moody said.

While the couple feels the village provides everything they need right now as a family, they wouldn’t object to a base village, if it was done properly.

Currently, as proposed, Base Village would add 585 units and 63,000 square feet of commercial space to Snowmass Village, most of it at the base of Fanny Hill. Resort developer Intrawest and the Aspen Skiing Co. are partners on the project.

“I’m all for progress, but controlled progress,” Dan Moody said.

Many advocates of Base Village, such as Mayor T. Michael Manchester, say the project is necessary to revive the resort town’s struggling economy.

“I don’t think [Base Village] needs to happen,” Dan Moody said. “It doesn’t appear to me that the village is dying.”

Furthermore, Moody wondered if adding hundreds of beds to the village is really necessary.

“How many nights a year are rooms already empty?” he asked. “If you add capacity, does that really have the effect of attracting more people?”

And Messinger, who’s owned a condo in Snowmass Village for four years, expressed some concern over the size of Base Village.

“There needs to be a balance between this beauty and the future,” he said. “I saw what [Intrawest] did to Copper, and it’s just so congested.”

But Messinger still feels a base village is necessary, and the size issue must be treated delicately.

“I don’t think you want Intrawest to walk away from this,” he said.

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