Gondola cars sell like ‘hot cakes’ | AspenTimes.com

Gondola cars sell like ‘hot cakes’

Gondola cabins on Aspen Mountain stretch into the fog on a recent morning. The Aspen Skiing Co. sold all the cabins, which it will replace next season, in less than two days. (Mark Fox/The Aspen TImes)

Who needs marketing campaigns?The Aspen Skiing Co. needed just 36 hours to sell all 165 cabins of the Silver Queen Gondola. All were reserved by noon Wednesday.”They are long gone, and people are still calling in droves,” Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle said. “They just went like hot cakes.”

One buyer bought 80 cabins to use in “high-profile retail locations” around the country, according to Skico Senior Vice President David Perry. Skico officials wouldn’t divulge the name or company of the big buyer.The Skico is replacing the 18-year-old cabins with roomier models this spring. Company officials decided to try to sell the old cabins but essentially threw a dart at a board to set the price. They acknowledged they had no idea they would sell this quickly.”My concern was we weren’t going to be able to move them and they’d end up at the dump,” Aspen Mountain Manager Steve Sewell said.Fat chance. Sewell said the buyer of 80 cabins was among the first people to call. He wanted to buy all 165 cabins – placing Sewell in an awkward position. He wanted to keep some available for the public, but he wasn’t confident at that point if there was any demand. So the Skico settled on selling half.

People snatched the other half almost as fast. Buyers had to make a credit card deposit; cabins won’t be available until May 15. But the Skico started a waiting list in case some deals sink. Buyers are responsible for removing the 550-pound loads from the Buttermilk parking lot.Hanle said the other buyers were a mixture of local residents and visitors, most of whom bought just one cabin. One man in Woody Creek bought 11 for unknown purposes.Hickory House owner Paul Dioguardi had hoped to snag a couple. Instead he was told he purchased the last one. He said he figured it would make a nice addition since the restaurant has been around for so long and the gondola cabins are a nice icon.

He’s considered several ways to use the cabin at the Hickory House. He might rig it to seat diners on the patio. It might be an outdoor wait station, with a computer or supplies. Or it might be just a decoration.Perry said the Skico quizzed the big buyer before agreeing to sell 80 cabins, since they will retain the Aspen name and the Skico’s aspen-leaf logo. The company was convinced they will provide positive exposure for Aspen/Snowmass.As another Skico official said, “We didn’t want to see them end up in a brothel down in Tijuana.”Scott Condon’s e-mail address is scondon@aspentimes.com

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