Letter: Gorsuch Haus will upgrade Lift 1 area
As a member of the team that envisions a hotbed hotel and vibrancy at the top of South Aspen Street, I would like to share how we have responded to the community and the Planning and Zoning Commission with our latest redesign of Gorsuch Haus.
Reduced mass and scale: The building itself is 7 percent smaller and the lot coverage was reduced by 8 percent.
Skiing off the mountain is easier: The building no longer inhibits the historic Lift 1 ski corridor in any way, and on the west side we pulled the building 22 to 25 feet farther back from Norway run.
Lift 1A can move down the hill: We want to be accountable to our community for putting the new lift in and we’ve positioned it on our property as far down as feasible. If Lift One Lodge or lower property owners want to receive the lift base further down the hill any time in the future, the lift is now aligned to do so.
Access to Lift 1A is improved: You can now clearly see and easily walk to the lift upon arrival at the top of South Aspen Street. This new dropoff will be about 5 feet closer to the point where you sit on the chairlift than the existing drop-off to load configuration. There also is a new direct-to-lift access off Summit Street, which serves hundreds of condos and hotels along Monarch, Summit, Mill and Galena.
Improved ski out from Norway: By moving the lift 20 feet down, the clearance area under the lift opens up so most people will be able to ski/snowboard directly to the lift from the bottom of Norway run. There will be stairs to connect people to the lift after they ski or ride the far skiers bottom left.
Expanded dropoff circle: This allows for improved transportation, including a skiers shuttle that will run continuously. Lift 1A will have public/skiers transportation directly to the loading area that hasn’t existed in over 40 years. Plus the 50 public parking spaces that are on South Aspen Street will continue to exist, now within Lift One Lodge parking structure as its approvals state.
Most of the retaining wall and patio massing on the east were removed in the redesign, saving seven of the eight trees next to the Caribou Condominiums.
As members of this community, Jeff Gorsuch, I and the rest of our team want this to be a project that Aspen can welcome and be proud of.
Aspen needs and deserves a hotel at the base of Lift 1A. The Jerome, Little Nell and Limelight are public buildings and Gorsuch Haus intends to be the same. It will help make up for the loss of hotel rooms that’s been under way for the past 15 to 20 years, and invite the community back to a neighborhood that was once the epicenter of vibrancy, skiing, lodging and apres, in our town.
If the lift had remained near Dean Street 44 years ago, no doubt there would be a fully developed in-town ski base. Gorsuch Haus can’t undo decisions of 40 years ago, but we can move forward and appropriately reactivate the only other portal to Aspen Mountain.
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Columnist Paul Andersen continues to hope that the moral arc of the universe trends toward justice.