Snowmass Base Village open at last |

Snowmass Base Village open at last

Katie Redding
The Aspen Times
Aspen CO, Colorado
Jordan Curet The Aspen Times

SNOWMASS VLLAGE ” On Monday, crowds packed Snowmass’ Base Village, circulated through stores, jammed the bar at Sneaky’s Tavern and created a standing line for hours outside of the much-anticipated Junk and Liquid Sky.

Monday marked the official grand opening of Base Village, where seven retail outlets, a children’s center, and four restaurants/bars have been opening, one by one, since last year. Junk/Liquid Sky was the last to open, just as the festivities were getting under way Monday. At least one more restaurant, the Japanese tavern Buchi, is slated to open in January.

It was exactly a week after Dwayne Romero, chief operating officer of Related WestPac, went before the Snowmass Town Council insisting that the company developing Base Village was “in survival mode,” after failing to secure financing for the Little Nell Residences Snowmass.

But Monday was all about celebrating what had already been built ” and quickly, since the ceremony took place under heavy snowfall.

“My God, look at what we’ve created and what’s about to be finished,” said Related WestPac President Pat Smith.

Aspen Skiing Co. President and CEO Mike Kaplan tied the opening of Base Village to the 41-year-old history of Snowmass, noting that the Janss brothers ” the original developers of Snowmass ” had always envisioned a Base Village in their plan for the mountain.

“Things don’t happen fast in the mountains,” said Kaplan.

And despite ” or perhaps because of ” the hours they had spent tussling over the details of Base Village in council meetings, both former Mayor Douglas Mercatoris and current Mayor Bill Boineau had only good things to say on Monday about the retail and restaurant core that had emerged.

Mercatoris called it a “focal gathering point for visitors and locals alike,” and Boineau called the new village, nine years in the making, “the newest resort in North America.”

If there was any undertone of worry beneath the pomp and circumstance, it was in the slightly tentative language officials used regarding the future timeline.

Jeff Blau, president of Related Companies, the New York arm of Related WestPac, said he was “super-excited” to open the Viceroy next December, and added that “hopefully” the company would be opening the Little Nell Residences the year after that.

Romero said he hoped by next year the company would be unveiling the Viceroy, and from there, “other key elements.”

Visitors, however, weren’t worried about the future; they were happy enough with what currently exists.

Jacqueline Raleigh, visiting from Lake Tahoe, Calif., called Base Village “fantastic,” citing the immaculate bathrooms with plenty of room to lay down ski gear and the snowmelt system that ensures the sidewalks never became slippery.

Susan Cozzio of Huron, Ohio, lining up with those hoping for a first peek at Junk and Liquid Sky, said she loves being able to put her kids in ski school and day care at Base Village, or come down from the Stonebridge Condominiums to eat or shop.

“I can’t say enough about [Base Village],” she said.

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