Snowmass questions new oxygen business in trailer |

Snowmass questions new oxygen business in trailer

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Snowmass Village Town Council is a little huffy about whether an Airstream trailer at the Spider Sabich Race Arena at the Snowmass Ski Area is in compliance with the town’s regulations.

The silver trailer is parked between the Coney Glade lift and the main race arena building. It is home to Mountain Oxygen, a new business selling oxygen sessions to skiers who may want to catch a deeper breath at high altitude.

But it has been brought to the Town Council’s attention that the trailer put in place by the Aspen Skiing Co. may not be in compliance with the town’s codes, which could require that the trailer have a building permit.

“It never crossed our minds that it would need a building permit,” said Skico mountain planner Victor Gerdin. “It is simply a place for one of our vendors to offer a service to our guests.”

But from the town’s point of view, the silver trailer does “constitute development,” according to Chris Conrad, director of planning in Snowmass Village.

Conrad said that if the trailer is hooked up to an electrical source, it may require a building permit, or at a minimum, an annual temporary use permit.

Also, council members pointed out that other business operators may also want to operate out of trailers and the Skico’s slopeside Airstream could set a precedent.

In response to a query from the town, the Skico sent a letter back saying that the trailer is in an area zoned for commercial activities and that it is an appropriate activity on the mountain.

Council members weren’t questioning that such a service could be offered on the mountain, only that an Airstream trailer may not be an appropriate location for the service.

“Trailers popping up on private property is not right,” said Councilman Doug Mercatoris.

“They haven’t even asked for permission,” said Snowmass Village Mayor T. Michael Manchester.

“It’s a great idea, just don’t put it in an Airstream trailer,” said Councilman Arnie Mordkin.

The Spider Sabich Race Arena at the ski area is on private land within the town boundaries. The public lands of the U.S. Forest Service begin above the race arena.

Conrad suggested that it might be possible to make things right concerning the trailer by asking the Skico to apply for an annual temporary use permit.

But Mordkin said it would not be fair to other citizens for the council to simply accept the trailer as being a proper use.

He pointed out they have made other citizens take down playground equipment because it was not in compliance with town codes.

“If we’re going to do that to some poor citizen, what are we doing here?” Mordkin said. “If we do nothing, what are we saying to our citizens?”

The council directed Conrad to talk with the Skico and to get more information about the situation before bringing it back to them.

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is]

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