Krabloonik owners seek to purchase property, get rid of restaurant requirement

Erica Robbie
The Aspen Times
The owners of Krabloonik are asking the town of Snowmass for changes to their lease, and also are looking into the possibility of purchasing the property.
Snowmass Sun file

The owners of Krabloonik hope to buy the property on which the business operates from the town of Snowmass, care for more retired sled-dogs and not be required to run a restaurant.

Krabloonik owners Danny and Gina Phillips will appear before the Snowmass Town Council on Monday to make a case for said requests, all of which would require changes to their lease with the town, which owns and leases the land to the dog-sledding business for $10 per year.

“We took on Krabloonik with a lot of things that were preset,” Danny Phillips said Friday. “The lease was preset, it was made before our time and our business models.”

The 20-year lease between Krabloonik founder Dan MacEachen and the town government started Sept. 25, 2006. The Phillips bought the business in December 2014 from MacEachen, who died in February 2016.

The lease, which is until Sept. 25, 2026, was amended in June of 2015 with the change in ownership.

Per its agreement with the town, Phillips said, Krabloonik is not allowed to house more than 180 dogs. Phillips said this goal was set with the idea that folks would adopt the older, retired sled-dogs; however, this proved to be more difficult than expected.

He said Krabloonik continues to care for any of its dogs that are not adopted, pushing the total number on the property closer to 225.

Consequently, the business is investing more time and money than anticipated, Phillips rationed.

“We really have to be careful and make good business decisions,” Phillips said. “We have a lot of mouths to feed.”

This is in part why he hopes the town will consider omitting the restaurant requirement within the lease.

The lease between the town and Krabloonik currently states: “Consistent with past operations, the Krabloonik Restaurant shall be open for dinner business at least 100 days during each ski season.”

“What we’re asking for is that anything, any mention of the restaurant be taken out of the lease,” Phillips said.

In early January, Krabloonik announced it would close their full-service restaurant to focus on the dogsledding operations. The following week, the owners said the restaurant would remain open with a simplified menu.

“There’s a lot of restaurants and a lot of new things that have opened since the lease was signed originally, and people have great places to eat,” Phillips said mid-January. “We don’t want to compete with that, and we really want our guests to enjoy the dogs like they’re asking us.”

As far as acquiring the land, the lease states that the owners are eligible to purchase the property anytime after June 1, 2025; however, the Phillips hope to do so sooner.

Phillips did not specify when, but said, “It’s always been our goal to purchase the land, and we would like to be able to exercise that right anytime from here on out.”

Krabloonik would be buying the property back from the town, as the business originally owned the land until it conducted a complicated land-swap with the Snowmass bureaucracy in the early 2000s.

The town’s most up-to-date estimate on the property’s value is from the lease circa 2006. It states: “The ‘option price’ is $2.3 million plus the increase, if any, in the Boulder, Colorado Consumer Price Index or 3 percent annually, whichever is lower, from Sept. 26, 2006 to the date that the option is exercised.”

Snowmass town staff did not offer a recommendation to the council regarding Krabloonik’s requested modifications to the lease.

The Town Council meeting begins at 4 p.m. on Monday at Snowmass Town Hall.


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