Lift One should be for locals
There have been some stories and sensationalism about the Lift One Master Planning COWOP that I felt needed some illumination. Is the task force planning escalators, cable cars or a lift? As a member of the COWOP, I was recently asked what I believed the community wanted for the Lift One area. Although the COWOP goals have been outlined in great detail, they do not express the essence of what I think is needed for the Lift One site. I’d like to see two essential elements.
My first goal is lift access. The community should only be satisfied with lift-served skiing from Dean Street. The people mover options are not getting enough support at the Task Force, so I can only support Dwayne Romero’s and Mick Ireland’s latest idea of a Poma surface lift using the old ski corridor and some of the historic hardware. We should be able to get off the bus at Rubey Park and have a choice of which portal to use to ski. The Lift One side should be an easy and convenient portal to Ajax.
My second goal is for locals to have a place for skiers and riders to have a place to hang out and have a beer with friends at the end of the day. Ever since the demise of the Little Nell Bar and the Tippler, there has been no inexpensive place at the base of the mountain to go for apres ski. The gondola side of Ajax has been gentrified for upscale guests while the funky apres ski scene that appeals to me has disappeared.
I think the community wants access to a part of Ajax that not only reminds them of our history, but allows everyone to be together and enjoy a piece of the past. I’ve been suggesting a brew pub in the old Skier’s Chalet Restaurant to recreate in chalet-styled ambiance ” a place to go for apres ski where we as locals will feel welcome. Where locals are welcome, there will be vitality. Where there is access, we will feel welcome. Lift One is our last chance to accomplish something for locals.
So now all we need is for Skico to run the new Lift One quad up to the top of FIS, making the Dumps, Reds, Percy’s and FIS accessible with two lifts instead of three.
It’s too bad Skico believes (from an informal and maybe biased survey) that locals don’t want the lift there. It was also suggested that reasonably priced seasonal lockers could be made available at Lift One, similar to Highlands. This idea would also make the portal more popular.
I want to stress that I am not against building lodging in Aspen; in fact I’m very much in favor of it. But Task Force members have all been told that there will be some “give and take” in this process. I’m wondering when does the giving to the community begin?
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Mountain Rescue Aspen is expanding its education efforts to try to keep people safe in the backcountry during winters and summers. It will host a workshop on Dec. 8 titled, “How to Plan a Backcountry Tour.”