Aspen Skiing Co. introduces new Snowmass Mountain Club opening in November | AspenTimes.com

Aspen Skiing Co. introduces new Snowmass Mountain Club opening in November

A rendering of the future Base Village plaza during the summer. The ski-in, ski-out Snowmass Mountain Club will be located inside the Limelight Hotel (the large development to the left) on the far right side closest to the hill.

Out with the old and in with the new is the name of the game at Snowmass.

Aspen Skiing Co. recently announced its new Snowmass Mountain Club that will open mid-November in conjunction with the Base Village plaza, Limelight Hotel and Buildings 4 and 6.

About a year later, pending review by the town of Snowmass and planning commission, a Snowmass Mountain Club restaurant will operate inside the building that currently houses Sam's Smokehouse.

While the Snowmass Mountain Club, based inside the Limelight at the plaza level, will be a private membership, the on-mountain restaurant will be open to the public.

Club members, however, will receive priority for making reservations at the restaurant, said Greg DeRosa, Snowmass Mountain Club manager.

Aspen Skiing Co. hired DeRosa last February to fulfill this role and execute the club's opening.

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DeRosa's career in private club management includes the Roaring Fork Club, Boulder Country Club and the Olympic Club in San Francisco, among other clubs in Colorado and the United Kingdom.

"We are excited to bring the Snowmass Mountain Club to life after years of discussions and planning," Skico president and CEO Mike Kaplan said in a statement. "The club's facilities, amenities and activities will bring a new experience to Snowmass that many of our guests have been looking for."

According to DeRosa, Skico's idea of launching a private mountain club in Snowmass has been in the works since 2010.

"The company has long been thinking about developing a mountain club in Snowmass, and it's finally the right time for it to come to fruition," DeRosa said.

The "right time" for Skico equals its partnership with Base Village developers, as location and parking both are "critically important" components to a private club, DeRosa said.

While the Aspen Mountain Club — a private club at the top of Aspen Mountain that Skico opened in December 1999 — has been "wildly successful," DeRosa said, its Snowmass iteration will differ.

The similarities between the two clubs include steep deposit fees and ski lockers at the base of the hills.

The Snowmass Mountain Club will offer three levels of memberships — platinum, gold and silver — with deposits priced at $100,000, $75,000 and $55,000, respectively, DeRosa said.

The deposits are fully refundable at the end of 30 years and 90 percent refundable prior to 30 years, he said.

In addition to the deposits, members must pay annual fees. For the platinum membership, which includes two premier ski passes and parking beneath the Limelight, the yearly due is $7,800.

Membership to the Aspen Mountain Club is "more than $200,000," according to Skico spokesman Jeff Hanle.

The Aspen Mountain Club, which often boasts a waitlist to join, offers 350 memberships, while the Snowmass Mountain Club will feature 228.

Another difference between the two clubs is the location and access of the restaurants as the Aspen Mountain Club, located next door to the Sundeck, is members only.

While the Snowmass Mountain Club — occupying approximately 5,000 square feet of the Limelight Hotel — will include a lounge and bar area, fitness center and hot tubs, the main restaurant, open to the general public, will be located inside the current Sam's Smokehouse building.

In the month since memberships became available, 13 people have purchased enrollment in the Snowmass Mountain Club, DeRosa said Feb. 20.

erobbie@aspentimes.com