Size a concern for Snowmass cabin idea
The Aspen Times
Size was the biggest concern for members of the Snowmass Village Town Council and Planning Commission on hearing a proposal Monday for revamping Burlingame Cabin.
Located on a private parcel surrounded by ski-area land, the cabin was leased for many years by Aspen Skiing Co. for nighttime snowcat dinners. In the past couple of years, the cabin has received little use, so its owners are considering building a new cabin on the site that could be rented for day or overnight use.
Because overnight accommodations are not clearly spelled out in the zoning for the site, the owners would have to apply with the town to amend the planned unit development and possibly undergo a special review process. The owners had requested the session that took place Monday to understand how the Town Council and Planning Commission felt about the concept before undertaking the application process.
The officials had a largely positive reaction, but some of them were concerned about the size of what the owners were proposing. Andrew Light, representing the ownership group, which includes his mother, Dianne Light, and longtime resident Betsy Chaffin, said in a letter to the town that they envisioned a hut of about 2,500 to 3,000 square feet.
Councilwoman Alyssa Shenk noted that is the size of some houses and said she was worried about the impact the structure would have on the character of that part of the mountain, which is wooded and secluded.
“That part of the mountain is really special,” she said. “I just hate to lose that.”
Planning Commission member Donna Aiken said her worry was that because the cabin is within walking distance of the village, lodging guests would try to book it like a condo or hotel room if there wasn’t a limit on the length of reservations.
“It might appeal to somebody depending on price and things like that,” she said. “I don’t want it to turn into commercial; I want it to be an amenity.”
Overall, though, the officials had good things to say, and encouraged Light to submit an application. While Light said the cabin won’t be staffed, he compared the concept to a more upscale version of a 10th Mountain Division hut and added that its proximity to town would make it more approachable for tourists than similar huts that Skico is considering on the opposite extreme of the ski area.
“I’m generally a fan of diversity of offerings in a resort property,” said Planning Commission member Jim Gustafson. “I see this as the white-linen version of a 10th Mountain hut. … I like the notion of it staying a rustic flavor that’s not out of scale, and I think those things can be accomplished.”
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“I think it’s a super safe sport,” Colter Hinchliffe said as he began climbing. “You really push your limits physically and mentally, get stronger and find the edge of your own possibilities.”