Tippler redux right for base of Little Nell
The Aspen City Council did skiers and Aspenites a favor this week by keeping some pressure on the developers of the Residences at Little Nell.This project at the base of Aspen Mountain will occupy a key piece of base-area real estate and should not be allowed to slip completely into private exclusivity. As a matter of fact, since it’s replacing several buildings including the Tippler nightclub (aka the Crippler), this project arguably has standards to uphold.What standards? Well, though the project is chiefly a fractional ownership lodge, the developers have long intended to place a public restaurant and bar at the base of the Silver Queen gondola, opposite the Ajax Tavern.The current plan requires only that “après-ski services” be offered during ski season, and for a minimum of two hours after the gondola shuts down. Council members rightly told the developers that two hours of après ski isn’t enough.Councilwoman Rachel Richards doesn’t want the owners to be “shooing people out,” and Mayor Helen Klanderud said, “I think the underlying concern here is that this not become a private club.”Right on.Too much of Aspen has been cordoned off, gated or priced out of the reach of everyday Aspenites. Think of the battle over Hunter Creek. Think of the bars, restaurants and shops that most locals don’t even enter anymore. Think of the VIP section at the Jazz Aspen Snowmass festival.What the base of Aspen Mountain needs is something at least reminiscent of the Tippler – a come-one, come-all kind of place where the drinks are affordable and you don’t need a salon tan and a Descente one-piece to feel at home.This may or may not be what the developers envision, but it’s what Aspen needs. The Aspen City Council should continue doing everything it can to make it possible.
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It might require a little extra preparation, but there’s no need to be afraid of colder months when going out fishing.