Health club reopens with new focus

Charles AgarAspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN – The Aspen Institute’s Aspen Meadows resort won’t accept any new public memberships when it opens in June, while current members will be grandfathered in, officials said. “We’re going to shift the philosophy of the club to a health center for the hotel instead of for the community,” said Amy Margerum, executive vice-president of the Aspen Institute. “There are a lot of other options for the community.”The Aspen Institute, which hosts prominent thinkers and analysts for ongoing lectures and conferences, owns the Aspen Meadows Resort and hires Dolce Intl., a management company based in Montvale, N.J., to manage the property.About half the resort guests come from Aspen Institute events.The Aspen Skiing Co. managed the property until 2002 when Dolce took over, Margerum said. And many Skico employees used the health club and pool then.”It was like a perk,” Margerum said of Skico’s employees. “That’s how a lot of community members got involved.”But the facility is small – more like an exercise space for guests, Margerum said – and with the new facilities at the Aspen Recreation Center, which attracted many Aspen Meadow’s health club members, Aspen Institute planners decided to limit membership.”We want to be good community citizens,” Margerum said, but the health club has always had limited membership, she said, stressing the current members can stay on.The health club will close from April 2 for an estimated 60-day renovation to replace the roof, indoor tiles, add new equipment – including a new hot tub – and landscaping.”We will open some time the beginning of June,” said Robb Walker, the GM for Dolce Intl. in Aspen.”We grandfather in our existing membership,” Walker said. “It’s one of those hidden jewels in town and will continue to be that way.”The resort business is getting “exponentially busier,” Walker said. And the small health club, with its simple clutch of exercise machines and a four-lane lap pool, is taxed.Walker hopes the move will “maintain a threshold” at the facility.Charles Agar’s e-mail address is