Skico planning Sundeck with half a deck & other changes |

Skico planning Sundeck with half a deck & other changes

Allyn HarveyAspen Times Staff Writer

Is the Sundeck still the Sundeck with only half a deck?Skiers will have to make up their minds this winter when they see the changes made to the Sundeck Restaurant atop Aspen Mountain.The Aspen Skiing Co. is enclosing the west section of the deck that hangs out over the Castle Creek Valley as part of a plan to expand indoor seating, according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.”It gets a lot of wind, and it’s cooler than the front deck,” Hanle said. He added that plans call for the front deck to eventually be expanded to the slope side of the building.Hanle said the need for more seating has become apparent in recent years.”We were seeing big crowds up there and sometimes it was hard to find a place to sit,” he said. The change will also make up for the seating lost to the new sit-down restaurant, Benedict’s, planned for the open seating area between the fireplace and the restrooms. The size of Benedict’s will be adjusted throughout the season to meet demand – the more people who want to dine at Benedict’s, the larger the area. Another noticeable change at the top of the mountain will be the unloading station at the gondola. Hanle said the covered area at the top is being expanded mostly to accommodate summer users who can get caught in afternoon rainstorms while waiting to download.The third major change at Aspen Mountain is Lift 3, the high-speed quad that runs from midmountain to the summit. Last season, Lift 3, which is the oldest high-speed quad in the resort, experienced more breakdowns than any other lift. It is being replaced with the latest generation high-speed quad technology.At Snowmass, in addition to a new, shorter lift at Campground, the company is building the Snowmass Railyard at the bottom of the Velvet Falls run. Hanle said there will be 20 or so rails for snow sliders in the railyard, catering to everyone from beginners to experts.The biggest change at Aspen Highlands, aside from the new expert terrain that’s scheduled to open, can be found at the top of the Loge lift, where the finishing touches are being put on a new ski patrol headquarters.The new headquarters is to the skier’s right, below the unloading station at the top of Loge. It includes a deck hanging out over the Maroon Creek Valley that the Skico hopes will become a hangout for skiers and patrollers alike.”They’re pretty excited, because they’ve been in the same little shack for a long time,” Hanle said.[Allyn Harvey’s e-mail address is]