Snowmass golf course work to displace music in 2003 | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass golf course work to displace music in 2003

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Jazz Aspen Snowmass is happening this week at Buttermilk. But next spring, it’s not clear where the music will be.

The festival was to return to its normal venue on the town softball field, next to the Snowmass golf course across from the rodeo grounds, but delays in the construction of the new golf course mean the site won’t be ready in time.

The Snowmass course isn’t expected to open now until August 2003, and the ball-field location certainly won’t be ready in time for the 2003 June festival.

The June festival this year was held in a tent at the base of the Two Creeks section of the Snowmass Ski Area while earthmovers worked over the old golf course. Two Creeks was not ideal, but it worked as a stand-in venue.

This week, Jim Horowitz of Jazz Aspen Snowmass wasn’t sure yet about next spring’s venue, as he was focusing on this weekend’s concerts, also displaced from Snowmass because of the golf course construction.

“I’m going to hold my tongue,” he said Tuesday. “We’ve got to get through this season and then we’ll focus on the next one.”

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The delays on finishing the new Jim Engh-designed course stem from construction crews running into solid rock at the bottom of one of the new ponds, which are tied into a new irrigation system.

Until the shale in the pond could be dug out, the irrigation system couldn’t be finished, and until the irrigation system was hooked up, the seeding and sodding couldn’t continue.

“We had to have that put together in order to fill the main irrigation pond to get enough water to ensure a constant flow,” said Don Schuster, vice president of real estate development for the Aspen Skiing Co., which owns the Snowmass Club and the golf course. “Realistically, we lost about three weeks on that whole project.”

That means not only will Jazz Aspen still be on the road next spring, it means that golfers itching to get on the new Snowmass course will have to wait until August. The course was originally scheduled to re-open by July 1.

Mother Nature will play a role in how soon the course opens. The entire course should be seeded and sodded by the end of September. If the fall is mild without a lot of cold nights, that will help the grass grow.

And then, golfers, like skiers, should hope for lots of snow. A heavy snow cover will help insulate the grass and prevent the new course from freezing and thawing throughout the winter.

Then, if the spring is warm and sunny, the grass should be ready for play by August.

“We are Mother Nature dependent,” said Schuster.

And because of some rock, Jazz Aspen will still be on a roll next spring.

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is bgs@aspentimes.com]

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