Posh private club on Ajax opens without much glitz | AspenTimes.com

Posh private club on Ajax opens without much glitz

The posh private club in the Sundeck Restaurant on Aspen Mountain opened without much glitz or fanfare this week.

In fact, the debut of the Aspen Mountain Club by the staff of The Little Nell hotel was so low key that some other Aspen Skiing Co. officials weren’t certain of its status without checking Wednesday.

“We’re just low key. That’s been our approach on everything,” said Little Nell General Manager Eric Calderon, who oversees the Sundeck operations.

The club – which has offered memberships for between $50,000 and $100,000 so far – opened with a “sneak peek” on Saturday for the Skico owners and their guests. It opened for keeps on Monday, although the “official” opening is Saturday, March 4.

“A lot of members don’t even know it’s open,” said Calderon.

Skico spokeswoman Rose Abello said construction and membership sales have exceeded expectations. “We’re ahead of schedule on all fronts,” she said.

Calderon said 230 of the 325 available memberships to the club have been sold. Prices started at $50,000 and climbed to $70,000 before the end of last year. They will go up to $75,000 by the end of March.

A handful of special memberships, which included parking in the Little Nell’s garage, sold – and quickly – for $100,000.

Skico officials said the pricey, private club was necessary to fund construction of the $11 million Sundeck. By raising revenues this way, the project didn’t have to compete with other proposed mountain improvements for funding.

Regular club membership benefits include two nontransferrable, four-mountain ski passes, single-day lift tickets for guests, a ski locker, privileges at Vail’s Game Creek Club and reserved parking at Snowmass and Aspen Highlands.

The club itself is open for lunch and drinks to members and their guests.

The private facilities comprise the western 4,500 square feet of the new 22,000-square-foot Sundeck Restaurant atop Aspen Mountain.

A separate public dining room and cafeteria were the Skico’s top priority. They opened for Christmas.

Skico President and CEO Pat O’Donnell said Wednesday he assumed the club had opened as planned Monday because he hadn’t heard differently. But O’Donnell hasn’t exactly been bellying up to the bar with his wealthy clientele.

“I was a guinea pig last week,” he said.

Calderon explained that part of the reason for easing into operations was to allow time to train the staff.

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