Will Pitkin County cork VIP booze at Aspen Winter X?
December 13, 2009
ASPEN – If ESPN intends to let VIPs imbibe at the Winter X Games in Aspen next month, the event’s organizers need to come talk to Pitkin County commissioners about it first.
Commissioners appeared surprised last week to learn that VIPs have been served alcohol as a matter of course, given that the Winter X Games at Buttermilk became a no-alcohol event, as far as the general public was concerned, several years ago.
“I don’t want them to serve alcohol, whether it’s a VIP or anyone else,” said Commissioner Michael Owsley.
ESPN has indicated no alcohol will be served, county planner Mike Kraemer told commissioners during a brief review of the special-events permit application that has been filed for Winter X.
Not so, countered Undersheriff Joe DiSalvo. ESPN has long served alcohol in its VIP tent at the Buttermilk venue and, last winter, offered private, for-sale VIP suites in the tower at the base of the superpipe, where alcohol was also available to patrons. Alcohol service is planned at both those locations again this winter, he clarified.
The Winter X Games is scheduled Jan. 28-31.
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“I do, at a fundamental level, agree with Michael [Owsley],” said Commissioner Rachel Richards. However, she added, she’s willing to hear ESPN’s justification for alcohol service to VIPs.
“It’s been represented that there will be no alcohol. That’s what my expectations are,” said Commissioner Jack Hatfield.
It’s ESPN’s intention to keep the games a no-alcohol event for the general public, but allow alcohol to be served in the VIP tent and in the suites, according to Katie Moses Swope, director of public relations for ESPN. She was contacted after the commissioners’ discussion.
“There will be no alcohol on site for the general public,” she said.
Commissioners pondered the need for a temporary liquor license if alcohol is to be served to VIPs, and hinted they might want to impose other requirements if there’s booze at the venue.
If there’s to be any alcohol, ESPN needs to come talk with commissioners before the special-events permit will be issued, concluded Commissioner Patti Clapper, who chairs the board.
Commissioners will meet this week, and then not again until Jan. 5.