Still a no on the Lodge
August 31, 2007
It is refreshing to see that what could not be done is now being presented for a second round of approvals to our city government and citizens. However, after reviewing the downsized new plan for the proposed Lodge at Aspen Mountain, I again do not support the project.
It is true that a hotel at the base of Aspen Mountain will provide more bed base, that it will create “vibrancy” to a part of town that does not have it, that it will create more opportunity, more jobs, more commerce, and on and on. And we are being led to believe that this is good for Aspen. I am not so sure.
The way I look at this is, build it and they will come. That means more employees traveling on our roads, more cars in Aspen, more private jet traffic, more skiers on our mountain. Is this really good for Aspen?
Aspen is a totally unique resort with small-town charm and big-city culture that sets us apart from all other resorts. Our ski slopes are second to none due to the uniqueness of our environment, but also because over the past 75 years, the town has not only survived but has prospered due to a balance between what the environment and the economy have been able to support. We don’t have overcrowded slopes, and our snow conditions even during light snow years support the best product in the business. Given the immediate and long-term outlook of global warming, by thinking we need more and more commerce, I believe we are supporting a contradiction of terms. We say we will have less and less snow, yet we are supporting more of what is causing the problem. So as it relates to the Lodge at Aspen Mountain, by supporting this, we are supporting a minority of developers for potential short-term gain that I believe will net us problems.
Looking at it from a purely selfish point of view, as a skier, the idea that a new high-speed lift is a public benefit is in my opinion ridiculous. The 1A side of Aspen Mountain can’t handle much more traffic than it already does. Go down the line of the incredible ski runs on that side of the mountain. They always have grass and rocks in certain areas. A new high-speed lift will only get more people up to those slopes that are at capacity. It’s the same reasoning that the new lift at Highland Bowl is not a high-speed machine; the conditions can’t handle the excess. As for moving the lift any farther up the hill ” we are sacrificing ski run for a development? If nothing else, it’s a matter of principle.
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I don’t support the second proposed Lodge at Aspen Mountain in the name of long-term success. Our success thus far has revolved around small-town charm, great skiing conditions with no overcrowding, the balance of what makes us the best. For the first time in my life growing up and now working in Aspen, I believe we are on the verge of destroying that balance. More and more is not necessary or good! I do not support the Lodge at Aspen Mountain in any way shape or form, period.