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Gwyn to dish it out on Ajax

In a town where just about everyone is nervously watching the sky, no one is more anxious for snow than Gwyn Gordon Knowlton.

After building a reputation for 20 years at Snowmass for operating one of the best mountain restaurants in Colorado, she will make her debut this season on Aspen Mountain.

Gordon Knowlton has signed a management contract with the Aspen Skiing Co. to take over the old Ruthie’s Restaurant. It has been renamed Gwyn’s on Aspen.

News of her switch from Snowmass to Aspen Mountain has come as a surprise to many locals. She was a fixture at Snowmass’ High Alpine Restaurant since the 1979-80 season and won rave reviews for running the Gwyn’s dining room there.

“Right now the reaction is, `We really want to see the restaurant but we can’t get up there,’ ” she lamented. Her new restaurant will open when the lifts start running on Ajax, now scheduled for Nov. 25.

Gordon Knowlton will continue to be a consultant for High Alpine, which is operated by her former husband, George Gordon.

After helping the Skico come up with a plan for Cloud 9 restaurant at Aspen Highlands last season, Gordon Knowlton was recruited to run what was formerly known as Ruthie’s on Aspen Mountain.

Gordon Knowlton had opportunities to operate restaurants in town, but decided to stay in the hills. It’s in her blood.

Before helping run the high-volume High Alpine, she was part-owner and operator of the Merry-Go-Round Restaurant at Aspen Highlands for six seasons starting in 1973-74.

She’s thrilled, she said, to finally get a chance to work on Aspen Mountain.

“What I like the most is I can get a little more carried away [on Aspen Mountain],” she said. “The menu is incredibly eclectic.”

She and “Chef Jeff” Kennedy have picked dishes with a strong Pacific Rim influence.

Gordon Knowlton will operate in cozier confines than she was used to at Snowmass. Gwyn’s on Aspen, located between the top of Lift 1A and the Ruthie’s chair, has a 140-seat cafeteria and 82-seat dining room, compared to High Alpine’s 750-seat cafeteria and 84-seat dining room.

Nevertheless, the recipe for success will remain the same.

“Obviously you have to have good food,” Gordon Knowlton said. “But the ambiance and welcoming feel of a place are also important. We attracted people who were coming back to Snowmass year after year.”

She expects that kind of loyal following at her new location, as well.


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