Sundeck bows out with one last bash
Carrying out stools as souvenirs and playfully kicking holes in soon-to-be demolished walls, aprs-ski revelers reluctantly trickled out of the old Sundeck atop Aspen Mountain for the final time Sunday evening.
Demolition of the 53-year-old restaurant to make way for a new-and-improved Sundeck is slated to begin as soon as this week, conditions permitting.
Yesterday, ski-booted patrons danced the final hours away as the Damian Smith Trio played and bartenders double-timed it to keep pace with thirsty celebrants. Hearty skiers swapped stories of newly-plentiful powder stashes, while nostalgic old-timers wistfully took it all in.
“It’s sad to see a great era ending,” said David Amory, an Aspen ski instructor of 21 years. “We probably had some of the best times up here at the Sundeck, with some of our truest of friends and best of guests. I hope it gets even better in the new millennium.”
“In a way, I hate to see it go,” said Eric Kinsman, an Aspen Mountain ski patroller for 20 years. “It’s almost nostalgic for a lot of people. But it’s an old building and structurally it’s not that good … but a lot of people have had a lot of great times at the Sundeck here.”
“It kind of irks me that the traditions of this mountain are being destroyed and replaced with this modern bullshit,” lamented Kevin Tufts, an Aspen ski bum of four seasons. “If I’m still living here, I may come check out the new place, but it’ll never be the same.”
Longtime valley resident Jack Crawford, dressed as the Easter Bunny in a tradition that goes back some 25 years, said he’s going to miss hopping around the ol’ Sundeck.
“You’re sad because an old tradition is dying,” Crawford said, “but on the other hand, the Sundeck is on to bigger and better things.” Unlike the old Sundeck, Crawford reports that he’ll be back – bunny suit, candy and all – come Easter next year.
“The party is outstanding,” said Arno Andersen, a 16-year area resident. “About the Sundeck, my feeling is the same as everybody’s – let’s wait and see. Hopefully they’ll have a bar like this one and great views.”
“I’m just sorry I can’t booze up here anymore,” said ski bum Dan Dockray, soaking up some final memories at his favorite mountain-top haunt.
Built in the summer of 1946, the Sundeck will be razed to make way for a new 22,000-square-foot facility, including a public cafeteria and sit-down dining area, and a private club.
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Pitkin County Health Department has put together a “Frequently Asked Questions” guideline for its new Traveler Affidavit Requirement, which starts Dec. 14.