X Games liquor sales widen | AspenTimes.com

X Games liquor sales widen

Michael McLaughlin
The Aspen Times

Aspen Skiing Co. gained approval for an optional license to be added to the existing liquor license for Bumps restaurant, at the base of the Buttermilk ski area, which will allow Bumps to support the concert and VIP areas, along with the sponsor suites, with alcoholic beverages during the Winter X Games in January.

"Pretty much what we're trying to do is to true up our ability to use our premises with the renovations that are currently going on at the base area," said David Clark, associate general council for Skico.

The special license includes the parking lot and portions of the mountain. During the X Games, those areas will house the concert venue, sponsor suites near the big-air jump and the VIP area by the athlete's lounge and snowmobile pit area.

The license will last for one year, and Skico will be allowed to use the license for other events in the designated areas.

Because of the size of the X Games crowds, a special permit is still required to serve alcohol at the event. Skico's master plan does not require a special permit for groups of fewer than 500 people, so by obtaining a yearlong optional permit, Skico won't have to keep applying for that type of permit at events under the 500-occupant cap.

In a letter delivered to the county last month, Clark identified summer activities, weddings and concerts as examples of other activities that could occur at Buttermilk and take advantage of the optional permit.

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"What we're really talking about here is a liquor license," Commissioner Michael Owsley said. "I'm kind of uncomfortable with doing this, quite frankly. I'd rather do it on a 'What are you going to be doing?' basis and issue it then."

Commissioner Rachel Richards said she applauds Skico for bringing new life to the Buttermilk area.

"I'd rather have some trust in the organization in how they're going to run the events," Richards said.

Buck Erickson, senior manager for event marketing at Skico, said the yearly license would streamline the process if Skico wants to bring another event to the Buttermilk area.

"There's nothing planned right now," Erickson said. "But we're looking for different events to add vitality to the area."

The commissioners approved the license by a 4-1 vote, with Owsley the lone dissenting vote.

"I'm voting against this," Owsley said. "Not because I don't trust the ski company. I don't trust alcohol. I don't trust its effect on people. We're about to give carte blanche to a 40-acre bar. I just can't do that."

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