Snowmass Village, Krabloonik merge cases in eviction dispute

Krabloonik dogs pictured in March 2021.
File photo

The town of Snowmass Village and the Krabloonik dog-sledding operation have found something they can agree on in their ongoing eviction dispute.

On Dec. 20, they filed a joint motion in Pitkin County District Court, asking a judge to consolidate their cases because “the two actions are so intertwined.” A judge approved the motion the next day, according to court documents.

One case is an eviction action the town took against Krabloonik in December; the other is Krabloonik’s lawsuit, also filed in December, seeking a declaratory judgment that it did not default on its lease with the town.

Merging the cases, which “share common questions of law and fact regarding the terms of the lease and whether a default has occurred,” will “result in greater judicial efficiency,” the motion said.

As landlord for the Krabloonik property, the town notified Krabloonik in the first week of October to vacate the premises at 4250 Divide Road by Nov. 1. The town’s underlying reason for kicking out Krabloonik was based on allegations that it violated its lease agreement by not properly caring for the sled dogs. It was the town’s final notice of default given to Krabloonik, after similar notices were given Aug. 1 and Sept. 1, according to court filings.

The September notice, referenced by Krabloonik’s complaint, said many of the problems were related to record-keeping.

“The records need to be able to be timely and regularly kept, be able to be transparent, easily understood, accurately track each dog’s care, off-tether and exercise time, health indicators, spay or neuter status, breeding records, and provide an accurate number of dogs at any time,” the notice said.

Krabloonik’s complaint said it complied with demands from the town, which “cannot unilaterally add to the Lease an obligation for record-keeping.” Even so, and despite multiple efforts to show a record-managing system had been installed, the town was not satisfied, the complaint said. Additionally, the town was capitulating to demands from a Best Practices Committee and critics of the kennel, the complaint alleged.

“TOSV (town of Snowmass Village) has an emotional incentive to breach the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, having been inundated with cut-and-paste emails from out-of-town activists calling for TOSV to ‘break the town’s lease with Krabloonik,’ knowing the emails will only stop once Krabloonik has been run out of town,” the complaint said.

The town placed a notice to quit, which is an eviction notice, on Krabloonik property on Nov. 22. With Krabloonik not budging, the town filed an eviction action in Pitkin County District Court in December. Eviction notices in Colorado are sealed from the public — until or unless a landlord retains possession of the property.

Now that the cases are consolidated, deadlines also have been changed. The town’s response to Kraboonik’s complaint is now due Jan. 17; it was previously due Dec. 27. The old deadline for Krabloonik to answer the eviction complaint was Dec. 23; Jan. 24 is the new deadline.

Krabloonik and the town also agreed to hold a possession hearing — which is when a judge decides if an eviction can move forward — no earlier than April 15 and no later than May 15. Both parties also agreed they “will try to reach an agreement to the Krabloonik dogs disposition/re-homing in a humane manner in the event of possession being awarded to the Town.”

Danny and Gina Phillips bought the operation in December 2014. Krabloonik has been part of Snowmass since 1976, when the late Dan MacEachen opened the operation after receiving county approval in 1974. The establishment was known for its restaurant’s game menu and sled-dog rides pulled by Alaskan huskies under a musher’s guidance.

Krabloonik’s lease with the town expires Sept. 26, 2026, and includes an option for the tenants to buy the property from within June 21, 2025, to Sept. 25, 2026, with the understanding they continue to run it as a dogsledding operation.

Glenwood Springs law firm Karp Neu Hanlon PC is representing the town in the dispute. Krabloonik has retained the firm Balcomb & Green, also of Glenwood Springs.

For more information, read our previous coverage:

Krabloonik dog sled owners on thin ice with Snowmass Village

Krabloonik ownership digs in their heels, plan to stay open amid dispute

Krabloonik sues town of Snowmass over eviction


Aspen City Council puts breaks on Old Powerhouse Preservation Project

With many lingering questions still surrounding the fate of Aspen’s historic Old Powerhouse, City Council decided during Monday’s work session to hold off on providing staff direction on moving the preservation project forward until more information can be presented.

See more