Ski chalets in the Rockies |

Ski chalets in the Rockies

Dear Editor:

I enjoyed Paul Andersen’s recent column about our loss of the small, intimate ski lodges that define Aspen’s history (“Lift One dreamscape,” March 23). It was a wonderful piece of writing and it brought back nostalgic memories of my first trips to Aspen almost 40 years ago. I loved the dozens of family-run chalets that existed here in the 1960s and 1970s.

Paul is correct that the price of development is driven up by high construction costs and the incredible price of land in our town. The one thing that he should also add to this equation is the cost of mitigation for the things we demand from the developers. This is the one factor that we could control, if we chose to do so. It’s almost a universal truth that people respond to incentive. If we lament the loss of small ski lodges, our elected officials should create incentives to build “small ski lodges.”

Clearly, economics dictate that we will keep getting “big-box” projects under the current set of rules. However, suppose we decided to reduce mitigation fees, eliminate employee housing fees, get rid of “medium-priced restaurant requirements,” and delete historic ski museums in exchange for a smaller, more intimate lodging product? Developers just might be able to make a profit building charming, European-style hotel rooms that would make us all proud and help to retain Aspen’s wonderful mining and skiing traditions.

Jerry Bovino


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