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The Little Red Ski Haus jumps on the timeshare bandwagon

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The Little Red Ski Haus will become the first of Aspen’s small bed and breakfasts to jump on the timeshare bandwagon.

The City Council voted 4-1 Monday to approve the historic ski lodge’s conversion to a timeshare project. Rooms will be sold in 1/16th shares for prices ranging from $40,000 to $120,000, according to the lodge’s owners.

The arrangement will give owners three weeks a year to stay in their unit. Four weeks in each guest room will remain unsold so the Ski Haus can accommodate short-term rentals during certain peak periods.



The lodge currently contains 13 rooms, including a pair of four-bed bunk rooms. Two rooms will be combined to create a suite, so 12 rooms will be offered for sale.

The council offered little objection to the timeshare arrangement for the Cooper Avenue lodge, though Councilman Torre voted against the proposal.




The broader issue ” losing existing lodges to the timeshare market ” was Torre’s concern.

“I think this is part of the fabric of the community that we’re supposed to protect,” he said.

The new owners of the Ski Haus reopened the lodge a year ago after modernizing it in an extensive renovation.

Continuing its operation as a standard lodge is not feasible, according to managing partner David Fiore. The venture has not been profitable, he said.

The owner’s other options include converting it into a single-family home, but “our heart’s not there,” he said.

Selling fractional ownerships in the lodge is its best bet to continue as a bed and breakfast, Fiore said.

The only sticking point was in the calculation of the fee the lodge must pay to the city to offset future sales tax revenue that will be lost with its conversion into a timeshare.

The city determined the fee should be $82,471, based on a complex formula; the lodge owners asked that the fee be waived or, in the alternative, calculated the fee at $38,732.

“I think it would help us achieve our financial goals of sustainability for the lodge,” said Fiore, lobbying for waving the fee.

In the end, the city held the lodge to the higher fee, but agreed to a payment schedule the lodge owners can accept.

Seventy-five percent of the fee must be paid when 40 percent of the shares are sold, with the remainder due when 60 percent of the shares are sold.

The sale of shares in a bed and breakfast is uncharted territory, noted representatives of the lodge.

If they sell 40 percent of the shares, that will be a strong indication that the endeavor will be successful, said Councilman Tim Semrau.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]


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