Locals, hospital officials get preview of new Snowmass clinic

A group tours the new Snowmass Medical Care clinic on Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, before it officially opens in Base Village this January. (Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times)
Kelsey Brunner/The Aspen Times

Several small groups of locals and Aspen Valley Hospital officials got a sneak peek Thursday of the new Snowmass Medical Care clinic in Base Village.

Complete with mini-pizzas and hot chocolate, the guided tours started at the Limelight Snowmass hotel where attendees grabbed hardhats and neon vests before walking over to the 6,300-square-foot clinic space in the west One Snowmass building.

“This is a long time in the making,” said Jennifer Slaughter, chief marking officer for Aspen Valley Hospital, as she walked into the new space.

The current Snowmass clinic, a branch of Aspen Valley Hospital, offers year-round physical therapy, acute illness and injury care below the Venga Venga restaurant, according to clinic staff.

About 20 staff members, including four clinicians trained in emergency and family medicine, work at the clinic and usually see over 2,000 patients in a typical winter season, clinic data show.

In June, it moved to operating full time to accommodate the increase in summer village activities, such as mountain biking, and in Snowmass visitors, clinic staff said. More than 600 patients were treated at the clinic during its first summer open.

After moving into its new roughly $3 million Base Village home, the Snowmass clinic’s care will be more centralized and improved, officials said, through features like a triage room, physical therapy gym and treatment spaces, a procedure room for acute injuries, a special entrance for ski patrol to bring in injured patients and improved access for ambulances, and seven private patient rooms.

During the Thursday tours, visitors were able to see the shell of these improvements, as numerous large windows cast light onto the white, beige and gray walls and floors, and posted signs showed how each area would be utilized when completed.

But while many of the Aspen Valley Hospital officials and locals expressed their excitement about the new Snowmass clinic while on tour, Dr. Jon Gibans, medical director of the Snowmass clinic, and Kelly Hansen, the clinic’s office manager, were especially thrilled.

Both have been working with the Snowmass clinic, which was founded in the 1970s and has moved locations a few times, for over 25 years.

Gibans and Hansen helped design the new Base Village space, which they feel will allow their team to do even more for patients.

“After all of these years to have this come to fruition is really exciting,” Gibans said of the new Snowmass clinic.

“We’re really excited as the people who work here, but are also excited to hopefully provide a more accessible, private and just better experience for our patients,” Hansen added.

The clinic will continue to operate at its Village Mall location, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, until its move to Base Village in January.