Dean St. dynamic changing? |

Dean St. dynamic changing?

Janet Urquhart

Dean Street, poised to become a thoroughfare for skiers and snowboarders, may offer a history lesson as well.

The east-west street could go from a little-used route, as least as far as the typical tourist is concerned, to a key link between three new hotels, one of which is already under construction.

“The idea is to create a pedestrian way along Dean Street,” said Joyce Allgaier, city planner. “We’re seeing these lodging projects being proposed, and they all have Dean Street in common.”

One block south of busy Durant Avenue, Dean Street could become the walk of choice for those with skis thrown over their shoulders and boards tucked under their arms as they head to the gondola plaza or Lift 1A. Eventually, the street could also link up with what’s been called the Town Lift – a short connector between Willoughby Park and 1A.

City planners figure the street is the perfect place to showcase a bit of Aspen’s skiing history.

From Aspen Street and Willoughby Park on the west to the gondola plaza on the east, Dean Street connects the birthplace of skiing in Aspen – the remains of the original Lift One are preserved at the park – to the focal point of the resort’s modern era, the plaza.

Today, staffers will present ideas to the City Council to create what has been dubbed a “Ski Walk of Fame” along Dean Street.

Lamp posts could feature the names of Aspen’s famous skiers. There could be benches made of old wooden skis near Willoughby Park and of modern skis or snowboards closer to the gondola. Kiosks that incorporate skis into their construction could feature photos and information about the resort’s skiing notables, perhaps along the lines of the historical images that adorn the restrooms at Wagner Park, Allgaier mused.

The Aspen Historical Society’s dream of a ski museum in the vicinity of Willoughby Park would tie in well with the idea, she noted. Staffers want to know how the council feels about the concept.

Some private developments are already proposing improvements to Dean Street. The Hyatt Grand Aspen, now under construction, will give it a boost alongside its property. The proposed Residences at Little Nell has also proposed turning Dean Street into a vibrant pedestrian way as it feeds into the gondola plaza between the proposed timeshare hotel and the existing North of Nell building.

On the Shadow Mountain end, Dean Street would connect to the proposed Lodge at Aspen Mountain, another hotel project in the works.

In between, Dean already passes by the Mountain Chalet and St. Regis Aspen.

The city is hoping to coordinate what individual property owners are proposing for the street and fill in the gaps between the projects to create a cohesive walkway.

“This is really for the skiers,” Allgaier said. “We hope to see people at the St. Regis walking to the gondola instead of taking the shuttle.”

Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is