Where’s Snowmass Village? Look in Snowmass Village
August 28, 2002
Base Village is now being called “Snowmass Village” by Intrawest and the Aspen Skiing Co.
The companies, which are partners in a proposed ski-in, ski-out village at the base of the Snowmass Ski Area, have dubbed the project “Snowmass Village” for marketing purposes.
And the new name is OK with officials in the “Town of Snowmass Village.”
Paul Shepherd, an Intrawest vice president, said the company ran a number of potential names for its village through the office of the town manager.
“They came back and said you ought to call it ‘Snowmass Village,'” Shepherd said. “They didn’t feel it was a conflict, and we felt it would be an honor.”
Now, “Snowmass Village” is not to be confused with the “Town of Snowmass Village,” which is the official name for the resort community at the end of Brush Creek Road.
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Nor is it to be confused with “Snowmass,” which technically is the name of at least a post office on Highway 82 and also the name of an area usually referred to as “Old Snowmass,” much to some residents’ chagrin.
And, no, it probably shouldn’t be confused with “Snowmass-at-Aspen,” which was the original name of the ski resort built in the late 1960s.
But consider this. Because the town officially calls itself “Town of Snowmass Village,” it means the name “Snowmass Village” is, technically at least, available. Not wildly creative maybe, but available.
Michael Coyle, the head of marketing for Intrawest and the person who develops brand identities for each of the company’s resort villages, said there were many other more creative names for the proposed village.
“We had a list of close to 60 that we were working with,” Coyle said from his office in Vancouver, British Columbia.
On the list were “Brush Creek Village,” which seemed to make sense as the new village is to be on the banks of a restored Brush Creek.
But that name is already taken by the subdivision on the hill above the intersection of Highway 82 and Brush Creek Road, and several people called to complain when that name was floated a few months back.
Also on the list was “Faraway Village,” which is a take-off on the name of one of the original ranches in the Brush Creek Valley. But that one didn’t fly because for anyone stranded at Denver International, Snowmass could seem like “Really Faraway Village.”
“Fanny Hill” was a candidate, as Coyle thought it offered some fun potential from a marketing standpoint. And the company was considering a number of names along the lines of Carefree, which is a town in Arizona.
“The point of a name is not what it means literally, but what it stands for in your mind,” Coyle said.
He pointed to the name Nike, which may have been familiar to a few scholars as the name of the Greek goddess of victory, but surely once was not synonymous with running shoes.
But in the end, “Snowmass Village” made its way to top of the Base Village list.
“The process on choosing the name was as always, in our envisioning process, a very inclusive process, which is sometimes good and is sometimes bad,” Coyle said. “It’s good because you get everybody’s viewpoints on lots of things but sometimes stifles a little creativity.
“In this case, everybody was most comfortable with the obvious solution, which was to call it ‘Snowmass Village.’
“In the end, I think it was the people in the town of Snowmass who carried the day and really wanted that to be the name even though it is the name of the entire community. It certainly is what everybody is going to call the place once it is done.”
Perhaps. There may still be those who call it “Base Village,” which was the optimistic name given to the parcel of land at the base of the Fanny Hill trail by the resort’s original developers. But Base Village has never been a village and today is mainly a series of parking lots.
“West Village” was the name given to the first part of resort where the “Snowmass Mall” is today and “East Village” is the area now called Two Creeks.
Maybe “Snowmass Village” will catch on. And maybe the area around the mall will now be called “Old Snowmass Village.” And maybe someday, we’ll even see the phrase “Snowmass Village-in-Snowmass-at-Aspen.”
And while village names can help with marketing, Coyle says a lot times they don’t stick anyway.
Intrawest’s new village next to the Mammoth Mountain ski area in California was called “Gondola Village,” but it didn’t stick. It’s now just referred to as Mammoth village.
And given the current debate over the size of the current Base Village proposal, maybe that name will catch on in Snowmass, too.
[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]