The Sundeck just ain’t the Sundeck anymore
September 29, 2003
Is the Sundeck Restaurant really the Sundeck Restaurant without a deck?
No. It isn’t.
The Aspen Skiing Co.’s decision to enclose the west-facing deck at the eatery atop Aspen Mountain is another regrettable development in this resort’s quest to become like everywhere else.
For much of its history, the old Sundeck felt a lot more like a big deck than a restaurant. That’s what made it so cool.
As the restaurant went through numerous expansions over the decades, the deck remained one of its primary features. On a sunny day, there was nothing better than grabbing a burger and clomping outside to one of the tables overlooking Castle Creek and Aspen Highlands.
The enclosure will add seating inside at the expense of the portion of deck that faces Aspen Highlands. All that will be left is a small deck on the south side of the building with a view of the mountains above Ashcroft and the gondola off-loading area.
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Not bad, but not great.
The Skico’s desire for more indoor seating – hence, the enclosure – is partly a result of its decision to convert part of the existing seating area into a sit-down restaurant.
Sit-down restaurants can be a nice escape from the grilled food and pizza that dominates ski-area cafeterias. But at the Sundeck, Benedict’s, as the sit-down area will be called, just adds another layer of exclusivity in a building specifically designed to house the very exclusive, and very private, Aspen Mountain Club.
Very few people can afford to shell out the $50,000 or $75,000 or whatever it now costs to join the Aspen Mountain Club. And most people are hesitant to shell out $40 or so for lunch at Skico’s other sit-down restaurants.
That leaves most of us stumbling over each other in the Sundeck’s badly designed general seating area with no escape to the deck that was there for patrons over the past 50 or so years.
Like we said, it’s regrettable.
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