Aspen Skiing Co.’s grab captured by columnist
Bravo to Sean Beckwith for his column on Pandora’s and the Lift One Corridor (“Skico needs to pick a side — and develop it,” Sept. 4, The Aspen Times).
Skico’s disingenuous attempt at trying to grab control of Pandora’s at virtually the same time that Gorsuch announced that they were seeking outside funding for the project they had sold to the city, the electorate and their partners was not Skico’s finest hour.
Let’s face it, the electorate was scammed when we were told we could only vote up or down for the whole enchilada. And we were scammed when Gorsuch positioned his proposed hotel as a homegrown venture conceived and executed by locals.
The narrowly passed Lift One Corridor (winning by just 26 votes) only succeeded because of the great lure of a brand new lift. Much of the push-back occurred because some folks objected to the proposed zoning change; many others resented a large hotel in the center of the slope. Still other objected to lack of affordable housing as well as the traffic and environmental degradation that construction of two new hotels would cause. Still, the new lift was the big lure.
Then, after the vote, Gorsuch revealed — surprise, surprise! — that his group had yet to secure funding. The deal started to look shaky. It fell apart when the Browns, reasonably enough, decided to revert to the certainty of pre-approved plans they’d originally bought.
Is that really a bad thing? I don’t think so. Two hotels on slope was always one too many for a lot of us. However, a single new hotel, at the top of South Aspen Steet — but not in the middle of the slope — with a restaurant and a deck and apres ski amenities, would be a great, needed addition to the west side of the mountain.
Beckwith is right: Skico should stop trying to gentrify skiing near Pandora’s and in the process deforest the surroundings. But having Skico build a new lift on the west side, with a reopened, revitalized Ruthie’s? That would be something to write home about! Who knows, it just might even lead to a return of big time racing!