Skico charging $50,000 to join club |

Skico charging $50,000 to join club

If you’ve got $50,000 to spare, then you can join the privateclub that will be part of the new Sundeck on Aspen Mountain. Even if you don’t, the new, $12 million mountaintop facility willoffer significantly bigger and better amenities for the publicnext ski season. The Aspen Skiing Co. has started taking “commitments” for membershipsto the Aspen Mountain Club and sales could begin later this month,said to Eric Calderon, general manager of the Skico’s Little Nellhotel and project manager for the Sundeck. The company will relymostly on word-of-mouth to sell the 375 club memberships thatare available. Here’s what Calderon said 50 grand will buy members:Two annual, four-mountain, nontransferrable season ski passesfor life. One ski locker at The Little Nell hotel.Single-day lift tickets that can be given to family and friendseach season.Use of the club facilities during days of ski seasons and theability to sign for meals at the other Aspen Mountain restaurants,as well as the Ajax Tavern and Little Nell hotel.Reserved parking at Snowmass’ Two Creeks and at Aspen Highlands.An arrangement that lets members ski Vail and have lunch at itsequally posh Game Creek Club. “We are also in the process of arranging reciprocation with twoclubs in Switzerland, one in St. Moritz and one in Gstaad,” saidCalderon. If negotiations are successful, members of the Aspen MountainClub could use dining facilities at The Eagle Club in Gstaad andthe Corviglia Club in St. Moritz. “Both are quite famous,” saidCalderon. Club fees will riseThe Skico will sell a certain number of charter memberships beforethe price increases by $5,000, Calderon said. He didn’t specifythe number. “We haven’t begun selling yet and we’ve got about a third of themembership committed,” he said. “I’m estimating it’s going totake about two years” to sell out. In addition to the $50,000 charter memberships, 15 “founder” membershipshave been offered for $100,000. They are pricer because they comewith parking at the base of the mountain. The $50,000 fee was set after interviewing second-home ownersin Aspen, the primary target market, and studying private resortclubs in Vail and Switzerland. “There are no similar clubs, really,” said Calderon. “This clubis unique. There are clubs in Vail, but they have different thingsattached to them. They aren’t quite apples-to-apples.” The new Sundeck will be about 22,000 square feet, with 14,000on the main level. Of that 14,000 square feet, about 35 percentwill be affiliated with the private club and 65 percent will bedevoted to a public cafeteria and public sit-down dining room.The Aspen Mountain Club’s private facilities will include a restaurantthat seats 75 and a deck that seats 40. The club’s living room will seat 22 and the bar, 20. The clubwill have a comfortable, alpine European feel without being formal,Calderon said. The Skico is working with interior designer DavidEaston of New York. The local architectural firm of Cottle, Graybealand Yaw designed the building. ‘Something people are asking for’ Calderon acknowledged that the cost of the memberships may causethe club to be viewed unfavorably by some locals and visitors.But he claimed the private club is an amenity that is alreadyin demand in Aspen, not something being created by the Skico.”Yes, we are creating an expensive, exclusive facility – there’sno question about that, we’re not denying that,” he said. “Butwe’re simply providing something that people are asking for andat the same time doing some peripheral benefit as well. So we’renot hiding from this cost.” The Skico’s priorities are to finish the new public facilitiesfirst. The private club will be finished last – probably not untillate February or March 2000. Demolition of the existing Sundeckwill start Monday, April 5 (see related story on page 1-A). “We are very excited and proud of this project. We think it’sgoing to be an incredible facility,” Calderon said. “It also,at the end of the day, is another important piece of improvementsand something adding value to the whole valley. “It depends on what side of the fence you’re on, I understandthat. But from a tourism standpoint, it keeps Aspen in people’sminds all over the world, and that translates, I believe, intohigher real estate values, to more people coming …” Public amenities improved The new Sundeck will be oriented like the existing structure,with the main entrance at about the same place. The new buildingwill start at the existing patio corner closest to the gondolaand extend to the northwest, to where the wedding deck is nowlocated. The new cafeteria will seat 230 with a deck for 125 and snow-meltedpatio for 100. Instead of tromping through a line, customers willpick up food in a large servery featuring rotisserie grill itemslike beef, poultry and seafood, and a soup and salad island. “The food here is going to be better than it is now and much easierto get,” said Calderon. “We’ll have four cashier stations insteadof the two we have now. So, in theory, there should be no morelines.” In addition to the cafeteria, there will be sit-down table servicein a public restaurant that seats 70 with a deck for 40. Fabi Benedict gave permission to use her family name for the restaurantbefore she passed away, according to Calderon. He is working withthe children of Fritz and Fabi to select photos “from the Benedictera” of the 1940s and ’50s to use for decor. Benedict’s will be separate from the cafeteria, but not closedoff from the other public spaces. The middle of the new Sundeck, accessed from the main entrance,will feature a large lobby and gallery, with a ski school areaand small retail shop. Public bathrooms will be on the same levelas the other public amenities, so there will be no negotiatingsteps in ski boots. Combined, the two public restaurants will seat 300 inside, comparedto about 205 at the current restaurant.

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